Friday, October 22, 2021

Create Streams You Identify With

What makes you different from other Twitch streamers? Is it something you embrace, or is it something you’d rather hide? Has this difference prevented you from getting into streaming in the first place? If Twitch streaming is something you want to do, but there’s some aspect of your personality, your gameplay style, or your ideal content offering that’s holding you back, we’re going to work on breaking through that barrier. Because after all, you’ll be happier when you create streams you identify with. 


I often hear of people who want to get into Twitch streaming, but feel self-conscious about their age. The idea that someone has become ‘too old to stream’ is a common reason many hopefuls never begin their Twitch channels. I can see where the idea comes from when looking at the average age of Twitch streamers, but this shouldn’t prevent anyone from creating their content. Nobody is too old to stream on Twitch. Yes, statistically, nearly half of all Twitch viewers are between the ages of 18 and 34 years old. But that doesn’t mean that your specific shows will have the same breakdown. It’s easy to get tripped up by false measurements. When you stream on Twitch, you aren’t dealing with half of all Twitch viewers, you’re dealing with whichever viewers want to watch your shows. And those people will enjoy your content because they like watching you, not because of some arbitrary statistic.  

Snake is never too old!

Similar fears come into play for all sorts of perceived differences among hopeful Twitch streamers. Maybe you’re self-conscious about a speech impediment, or your looks, or your lack of first-person shooter skills. Maybe you don’t play video games and are worried that nobody on Twitch will want to watch you knitting a scarf, or hiking up a mountain, or fumbling your way through learning to cook. It can be very scary trying entering a crowded field like Twitch when you feel different from everybody else right from the start. But if you can push past that fear and start going live, you’ll realize that there will always be a place for you. All that matters is that you enjoy what you do. If you have something to say, that’s even better. Who knows? You may even inspire someone else with the same fear to create their own content as well, if they see that you’ve been able to do it. I’ve met streamers in all the above-mentioned categories, as well as many others, who have pushed past personal phobias, self-consciousness, and fear of rejection in order to start broadcasting. And each of them makes amazing content. 

On Twitch, just as in life, your differences are only small parts of your character- they don’t define you as a person. I won’t trivialize whatever aspect of your streams you’re scared of sharing- the fear is legitimate. But what I can promise is that pushing past the fear will be worth it in the end. 


If you want to explore tombs on stream, and have REALLY
good network reception, then go for it!

In several past entries, I’ve actually recommended focusing more on the parts of your character that make you stand out. On my own shows, I’ve often chosen to go in directions that I’ve never seen anyone do before, not knowing whether viewers would ever want to watch those shows. This wasn’t in some attempt to find areas on Twitch that I could exploit for untapped viewership. Every new stream idea was simply a way of doing something that I enjoyed. There was no ulterior motive. Even for my main content offering, I’ve been doing this as well. As I’ve mentioned in previous entries, I’ve slowly transitioned all my video game broadcasts over the years to feature the gameplay style that I authentically use while playing by myself. I read every journal entry, scrutinize over tiny details in the environment, and never talk during any cutscene or story moment. I was hugely self-conscious about this aspect of my personal gameplay preferences when I began streaming, and it took a lot of effort to allow this to come out on my shows, but I’m now grateful every day that I’m able to truly express myself on stream. 

Livestreaming doesn’t need to be something you do for other people. Sure, others are able to watch and comment on what you’re doing. But ultimately, it’s enough to simply enjoy the task for its own sake. This is a point I’ve made often, but I think it’s also one of the hardest to actually put into practice. Many times throughout my own Twitch career I thought I was doing what I loved, only to later cringe at how much I had simply been doing what was expected of me. And you’ve met me during several of those times in my life! For example, the person I was almost three years ago, when beginning to write The Twitch Playbook- I wouldn’t want to be him anymore. I identify with my current streams so much more than I did with the ones I produced back then. And I’m sure in another three years, or even in one year, I’ll say the same about what I’m making right now. But I’m glad that I’m always trying to push myself in the right direction. And if you create streams you identify with, I hope you’ll feel that same gratification. 

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