Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Bud Coleman

Second Advisor

Marcos Steuernagel

Third Advisor

Cecilia J. Pang


This thesis illuminates the world of YouTube culture by analyzing how both fans and content creators use liveness as a way to connect to each other and create a holistic community experience. YouTube, and YouTube fan culture, complicates liveness by creating several different live experiences (both digital and IRL), often at the same time. YouTube content creators are skilled at utilizing both new technology and older forms of live performance to engage their audiences and provide an unexpected live experience. In this thesis I will explore how liveness entwines both creator and audience in a variety of platforms, including purely digital live experiences through live streams, online video conventions like VidCon that facilitate both a digital and physical live experience, and the recent trend of YouTube live shows that draw on traditional theatrical forms to create a physical live experience.