KI intern, Jaklyn Nunga, presented her undergraduate thesis research to the UCLA community at Powell Library. Her poster was titled Motivational Youtube Channels and the Public Spheres of Interaction: Creator Intentions and User Commenting Constraints.
ABSTRACT: The dissemination of media is constantly undergoing transformations with increasing technological
innovations and intensifying use of the Internet. The video-sharing website YouTube represents such
contemporary transformations with new voices and visions rising in midst of traditional media. This
research presents a case study of one new voice that I identify as motivational. I draw upon a set of
semi-structured interviews with a motivational channel’s creators, an analysis of the channel’s
commenting section, and participant observations of YouTube-related events. I examine the intentions
and origins of these creators’ content and how those translate among audience’s responses. In addition, 8
I critically examine the affordances and hindrances of YouTube’s commenting interface and compare it
to the conversations existing within it. I argue that YouTube has provided an outlet for creativity that
challenges traditional media’s expectations allowing for increased diversity in content. Motivational
videos particularly employ and encourage viewers to converse; however, my analysis shows YouTube
commenting interface possesses inherent structural constraints hindering users from meaningful
engagement. The conversations I observe are often limited and unengaged by fellow audience members
indicating an unrealized community of practice.