Friday, June 14, 2019

To Improve Your Twitch, Get Inspired By Everything

I've spoken before about being proactive in improving your Twitch channel, and fixing even the aspects that are 99% perfect. Making the smallest additions or refinements, if done consistently over time, will compound into huge improvements sooner than you think. For more about these techniques, see the entry 'Fix One Thing About Your Stream Every Day'. But even when you're deciding what to fix, you may be looking in the wrong places. I'm willing to bet that you aren't taking advantage of every potential piece of inspiration for your channel.

Yes, you can even learn during your morning
Do you watch other Twitch streams? How about Netflix? YouTube? Go to the movies? Do you read books, whether fiction or nonfiction? Do you go to work or school? Do you see advertisements on your morning commute, listen to the radio, or use apps on your phone that make your life easier? You are literally surrounded by content, information and potential inspiration that could help your stream to improve. Whether something is entertaining, informative, effective, communicative, or useful, it contains lessons that you could be learning. To improve your streams, you should get inspired by EVERYTHING.

The specifics here are going to be different for everyone, because your interests aren't the same as mine or anyone else's. But I'm willing to bet that there are things out there packed full of potential lessons that you've just been leaving on the table. The following are three major categories that have inspired me greatly over the years, and since joining Twitch have all made large impressions on my own channel:


You should be getting inspired by other Twitch channels. Anybody could tell you this, and you probably already figured it out yourself anyway. As I continued streaming on Twitch however, I made an interesting discovery: the channels from which I'd draw my greatest inspiration were actually the ones that made content I had no interest in making. 

Do you like city-building games, but you'd never
stream them? Watch those streams for
I've noticed that a lot of Twitch streamers, especially smaller ones, will gravitate toward other channels that are as close to their own existing style of content as possible. Competitive Apex Legends streamers regularly watching other competitive Apex players, for example. This is understandable- you naturally want to watch, endorse, and chat with other people who are making content you're interested in. But if this is the only thing you do, you will soon become creatively deprived. There won't be much in the well to draw from, after all. Since you only watch Apex streams, your shows will likely resemble thousands of other Apex streams, each largely indistinguishable from the last.

But what else in the world of Twitch interests you? Forget whether it's something you'd be interested in streaming yourself. In my time on Twitch I've gotten to know oil painters, real-time strategy players, travel blog streamers, people who roleplay in The Sims, competitive first-person shooter players, and speedrunners, to name a few. All of these are types of streams that I don't focus on myself, some of which I have no interest in EVER doing on my own channel. But that doesn't mean I don't enjoy watching them, and it certainly doesn't mean there's nothing about their shows to draw inspiration from. Quite the opposite, in fact: chat commands, graphic layouts, scene transitions, alerts, sound effects, on-camera personas, community interactions- anything can spark ideas in your head. It's the very fact that these streams are a world apart from mine that allows the creative juices to flow. If I were only watching channels that do the exact same thing as me, I'd rarely be coming up with concepts that felt unique to my field.


A customs agent can utilize their eye for
detail in many ways on Twitch.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that only Twitch-related wisdom can help you on Twitch. You're surrounded by thousands of years' worth of knowledge in countless fields and disciplines that could apply to your channel, if you only start to truly pay attention. One big example? If you've been following The Twitch Playbook up to this point, you've already been learning from the combined wisdom of all the various fields I've studied. I regularly pull quotes, terms and workflows from the worlds of video production, sound engineering, marketing, social media management, founding startup companies, narrative fiction, ancient philosophy, and more, to get my points across. This isn't because I Google insightful things to sprinkle on top of each Entry to make them seem fancier, it's because I either work in or study all of these fields. I've kept my mind open when learning all of this, in order to let it filter back into my work on Twitch.

What do you do for a living? Just because it doesn't involve streaming video games all day doesn't mean you can't apply its teachings to your Twitch channel. Does your job ever involve taking inventory in the back of a store? Adapt that process of meticulously verifying items into a concise pre-stream checklist that'll help you remember to send out your 'going live' Tweet, set up your camera, and change your stream title before each show. A teacher who has to regularly deal with angry parents can apply some of their conflict-defusing techniques in Twitch chat. If you're learning about economics in your studies, utilize that knowledge to craft interesting minigames and loyalty rewards in your channel's Chatbot software. It doesn't matter how seemingly unrelated to Twitch the field might be as a whole, your channel should be a sponge that soaks up ALL the knowledge and skills you have available to you, not just the things you learn on or around Twitch.


When I say you should implement ALL the knowledge you have into your Twitch channel, I really mean it. What do you do when you're not working or learning? It's likely that you're spending a lot of your free time on your phone, your TV, your computer, or outside. These may not be part of your professional or academic life, but you're mistaken if you think there are no lessons to learn from these activities.

Sitting around and watching TV can still
inspire you, as long as you don't
shut off your brain completely.
Maybe you boot up a new app on your phone, and its concise tutorial sparks an idea about how to introduce your channel more effectively when talking about it on camera. A reality TV show might help you find a more interesting cadence for your streams, so you always leave another interesting moment coming up "after the break." A news anchor's manner of speaking might help you to talk without as many junk words such as "um" or "like." Maybe the way you organize files and folders on your computer could help you restructure your OBS layouts. Was there something you admired about how the emcee hosted trivia night at the bar when you were out with coworkers last week? Maybe that insight could help your Twitch channel's community game nights to run more smoothly.


Henry Ford, the inventor of the automobile, once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” This is one of my all-time favorite quotes. It very concisely explains how innovation is reached, and the idea that sometimes the last place you should be looking is in your own field. The lessons you learn from other Twitch channels like your own, or even from Twitch in general, won't help you achieve true greatness by themselves- you'll need to take inspiration from areas where no one else even thought to look.

As long as you allow knowledge to find you, you'll be very surprised how much in life can turn into a learning experience. My suggestion: keep your phone's notepad app handy, and write down every idea that sparks in your mind as soon as it happens, even if it seems stupid at the time. Then you can sift through those notes later. There won't be as many bad ideas in there as you think. You'll soon realize that life is constantly handing you free lessons that are applicable to Twitch. All you have to decide is whether you're going to open your mind to allow those lessons to flow in.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment