Saturday, April 30, 2022

How to Recover from Twitch Mistakes

Every streamer has made mistakes. It’s a natural part of the content creation process, and there’s really no way to get around it. In addition to the usual joy, excitement and companionship you’ll get from Twitch streaming, you’ll also find embarrassment, dejection and confusion to be constant companions throughout your journey. But as I mentioned in the entry On Twitch Failure is Your Friend, you should actually be welcoming the opportunity to be wrong. Making mistakes can feel bad in the moment, but the act of failure is precisely what makes us stronger. We learn lessons, and the embarrassment of failing causes those lessons to stick in our brains much more strongly than if we had simply read about them in a book. When a channel gets larger however, it can be very difficult to identify individual mistakes. Unless you make some huge blunder, the mistakes on a more seasoned stream are typically buried under years of features, graphics, and set-in habits. So if you’ve noticed a downward trend on your streams over time, but you can’t figure out what’s causing it, we’ll explore how to identify the issue and get on the path to recovery. 


Yoda would tell you the same thing.

As I’ve spoken about in many Twitch Playbook entries before, going back to basics is a great way to solve any problem. Are you having technical glitches? Maybe you can’t come up with a good style for stream graphics and layouts. It’s possible you’re becoming more forgetful in the setup process. Or you could even be seeing a dropoff in viewership. No matter what the problem, it’s usually very helpful to get to the root of the issue first. When something becomes overcomplicated, it’s difficult to trace where the issues are coming from. But if you strip your stream down to the barest essentials, all the problems suddenly become very easy to see. In the entry
Simplify Your Streaming Problems, I spoke at length about this subject, and how taking your show to ‘first principles’ can help solve issues much more easily. You don’t need to keep the stream this way forever, but it’s a good way to flush out any detritus cluttering up the show while you figure things out. 

Once you have your stream simplified, try getting yourself back on track with that more basic show, before introducing anything more complex. Use the techniques I mentioned in past entries like Fix One Thing About Your Stream Every Day to help you break your larger problems down into small, easily solvable tasks. Everyone’s problems will be different, but if you come at the issue with an open mind, you’ll always have an easier time finding the solution. Let things play out slowly, get a feel for your simpler setup, and pay attention to the differences between this and your more advanced shows. If you work at this for a while, you’ll begin to notice the issues melting away, one by one. 


Whenever you feel you’re getting back on track, you’ll be able to think about adding advanced features back into your stream. But don’t be too quick to restore everything that was in your original show. After all, depending on the problem you’ve been having, some of the more complicated aspects of your broadcast could be part of the issue. Re-introduce elements slowly, from the simplest to the most advanced. Keep track of the reaction to each part over the course of several streams. Does it impact your audience response? Does it make your show harder to prepare before going live? Do you feel it adds to the overall quality of the broadcast? If you feel it’s hurting your shows, consider removing that feature for now. But if it helps, you can keep it and move onto adding the next feature. In the entry Revising Your Streams from the Ground Up, I spoke about the merits of a strategy like this. On my own shows, it’s helped a lot to rebuild my content from scratch every once in a while, just to make sure I’m not losing my way.

Unless you're playing Spider-Man 2 for the
PS2. Then you really will drown by falling
into the Hudson River. 

The Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho once said, “You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.” The fact that you made a mistake on your Twitch channel isn’t going to ruin your streams. But letting yourself be dragged down by that mistake will. Many streamers are too proud to admit they’ve made mistakes, and will let the flaws eat away at their content rather than fix them. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your dreams. As long as you actively try to get yourself out of your streaming predicament, your channel will eventually end up right where you want it to be. 

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