Throughout recorded history, performance entertainment has been a key aspect in bringing humans together. Human talent has a way of creating togetherness and finds its way to shine in all mediums. With the advent of the internet, today’s performers find themselves entrenched in their own, unique communities, built around them and the things they do best. With streaming becoming a popular way to share performances on websites like Twitch, YouTube, and Mixer, it’s no wonder the practice has gained so much traction. With such a wide array of streamers, websites, and hobbies, there are many communities thriving because of the practices of their performers and wonderful participants. Many up-and-comers may be wondering what they can do to promote such healthy and active communities in their streams, so without further ado, here are some tips to support your favorite streaming environments:
For the Streamer
DO #1 Talk to yourself
It’s not just for that smelly guy on the subway. This was the best advice I had been given some years ago, and it rings true today. Dead air may as well not exist, because no new viewer is going to come to a stream, see a silent gamer, and decide that this is the community for them. Talking to yourself is an excellent way to keep the stream alive, even as a beginning streamer looking for followers. Don’t get self-conscious about sounding stupid, we all do at some point.
DO #2 Interact
This is what people come for in the first place. If viewers just wanted to watch someone do activities and talk to themselves, they could watch a video (or that guy on the subway). Take full advantage of the tools you’re given. Make alerts, make a discord, and make friends. Quoth Mytheros: “Interaction with chat is the most important part of streaming”, right before a standing ovation from the crowd.
DO #3 Be a viewer, too
My motto in life is this: nobody does it alone. This is true in every aspect, because humans are social creatures. Support is a give and take, so if you want viewers, you’d best be willing to be active in other chats. Take note of your supporters and send them some viewers after your stream, and stick around to chat too.
DON’T #1 Don’t expect overnight success
Consistency is key. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Twitch, but showing your shining personality on a regular schedule will cast a wide enough net that if a future fan happened to see your channel on a random day, you’ll be there to welcome them. Streaming for a quiet chat will be the ultimate test of fortitude, and you will be rewarded with some of the coolest viewers you’ll meet.
DON’T #2 Don’t let failures upset you
So it’s Halloween night and you’ve been waiting all month to put on your costume for your epic horror stream. You’ve been talking about it on Twitter and messaging all your discord friends, just to have no one come out to stream. There are a million and one reasons this could happen, but the important part is that you experimented. You may not have gotten the results you hyped yourself up for, but now you have some new info on what your community enjoys, and you can pick yourself right back up and do better the next time.
DON’T #3 Don’t stream on a bad day
You’re a performer in a very honest medium. You have no lines and no scripts. Don’t put yourself out there when you’re not up to it, because that energy will be apparent to your audience. Get some hot chocolate, watch some Rhythm and Flow, and come back tomorrow. Don’t forget to keep your mental health in check.
For the Viewer
DO #1 Lurk
Disclaimer: don’t ALWAYS lurk, but your view all by itself will mean a lot to many streamers. Your time is your most valuable resource and giving that to someone who is putting themself out there is a kindness all on its own. You don’t have to respond to everything Streamer Joe says, being there for your friends is doable simply by existing, even on days when you’re not up to being their #1 viewer.
DO #2 Talk to other viewers
To some, it may just look like letters on a screen, but to the internet-savvy modern gamer, there is an individual behind each username who shares a hobby with each other person in that chat. Personally, I have met some of my best friends just from lurking in stream chats, and I have met many who have gone out of their way to come out to my streams. Being social is an exceptional way of contributing, not just to the community, but to the streamer and viewers hoping for an active chat.
DO #3 Be adventurous
Many streamers are creating excellent content for FREE on a streaming platform and are sorely undervalued. Stop in to a random stream from time to time and say hello. Not every stream you enter is going to be one you like, but if you do like the content, leave a follow. Stepping out of your comfort zone will be successful more often than not, and you can enjoy your successes with all of those new friends you made by dropping in to lands unknown.
DON’T #1 Don’t expect a handout
Just because you support someone does not mean they owe you anything in return. If your sole purpose for going to someone’s stream is so they’ll return the favor, you’re going to be very disappointed. Go to streams because you want to partake in their activities, not because you want them to partake in yours. If they support you back, great! If they don’t, don’t lose sleep over it.
DON’T #2 Don’t spend time where you don’t want to
My words may fall on deaf ears, but every streamer I know has had someone come in to their stream just to criticize their content. It’s easy not to be this person, but on a smaller scale, if you are not “simply vibing” with the community you’re currently in, the answer is simple, leave. A negative contributor is not actually contributing anything, and takes away more than they’re able to give in the first place.
DON’T #3 Don’t be “That Guy”
We all know the viewer who comes into a stream and tells the viewer where to go, when there’s a jump scare, and which collectible he or she missed. We all know the viewer who picks fights with other viewers over small opinions, and dukes it out in the chat for everyone to see. We ALL know this viewer, and we ALL know how many timeouts he’s had over the past month. Check yourself, be polite, and let the streamer do his job if you want them to be successful. This is a team effort, and no one wants a sore sport on their team.