Geographical analysis of streaming video's power to unite and divide

Authored by: Irina Kopteva

Routledge Handbook of Media Geographies

Print publication date:  October  2021
Online publication date:  October  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367482855
eBook ISBN: 9781003039068
Adobe ISBN:


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The chapter explores how streaming video can powerfully unite and divide people across cultural, geographical and political borders. The review begins by describing geographical dimensions of the YouTube phenomenon, whose two billion monthly users form diverse communities that discuss all topics possible. YouTube stars build a new global online culture by engaging millions of people. Such influence can advance democracy and education across the globe, but it also creates barriers to geographic diffusion of new unfamiliar ideas and persuades people to earn attention and money by death-defying stunts in a global competition of risk-takers. The chapter goes on to examine data and research on spatial patterns of video streaming culture. The analysis reveals socio-geographical reasoning and outcomes of the integration of video sharing with search capabilities and social opportunities. American YouTube and Japanese NicoNico strive to personalize user experience, with the latter even providing “bullet chatting software.” In contrast, French Dailymotion and Chinese Youku Tudou move towards becoming an extension of online television, and Chinese media advances the “going out” policy among other governmental goals. Online video censorship follows national priorities such as ensuring quality online information or investigating defamation claims, hate speech, copyright issues, or incriminating content. Finally, the chapter analyzes public views on online video use and the educational advantages of enriching instruction with streaming video.

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