The Twitch Community [HATES] These Things
As of March 24, 2020 Twitch has 1,440,000 Average Concurrent Viewers, and 56,000 Average Concurrent Channels https://twitchtracker.com/statistics. More channels than Netflix. More live channels than any adult website. More channels than Cable. And Twitch directly competes with Mixer, and YouTube. The latter of which boasts 100 times more users than Twitch. And make no mistake. ALL Twitch users ALSO use YouTube. There are so many alternatives to our channels that people can get WHATEVER they want, WHENEVER they want.
When we can so clearly see light in the world, there’s no reason to tolerate the dark. If people hate something, they’re gonna change the channel. So it’s really important to know what things Twitch HATES, so you can avoid those pitfalls, or at least understand them.
1. Entitlement – “I should be getting more views.”
There’s a prevailing belief that “if you put in the work, you’re gonna get what you want”. And… that’s not necessarily true. What takes someone 40 hours might take another person 5. Even if something DID take 40 hours, there’s no way for the audience to know it. And even if the audience DID know it, why should they care? Is a 40 hour color corrected landscape time lapse as valuable to them as a funny cat picture? With the majority of content, both professional and amateur, the answer is no. Take a look at YouTube’s 2018 Rewind video – https://youtu.be/YbJOTdZBX1g The most disliked video of all time, and not for lack of production value or effort put into it.
All creators struggle with this time value proposition. And over the course of years, the majority of Twitch users have also used Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, YouTube… we’ve created. Which means Twitch, as a whole, knows the disappointment of putting something out into the world that we think is AMAZING, to tepid reception. “If not mine, then why yours?”
It’s not a recent phenomenon either. Artists like van Gogh, and writers like Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft saw the majority of their acclaim AFTER THEY HAD DIED. There’s a reason “starving artist” has been a historical trope for centuries. This is why entitlement is such a disgusting emotion when portrayed on stream. Everyone knows that pain, but your viewers aren’t whining about theirs. And better than us have tried and literally died before people found value in their work. Create because you love doing it, and be thankful they spent time with you instead of the millions of possible alternatives available at their fingertips. They’re never gonna get it back. The least we can do is be grateful they’ve given it to us. We’re lucky to have them, especially before we’ve died, too!
2. Fake People – “I’m not sure if they like me or not.”
Most of the biggest scandals on Twitch have been perpetrated by fake people. Streamers pretending to be confined to wheelchairs which Twitch has found could actually walk. Falsified gossip. Fake viewership. All of these things can be characterized with “being unsure of whether someone is as they appear on camera”. And this distinction matters more, and comes with more scrutiny the closer we are to that person. The higher regard we have for someone, the more shocking it is when we find out they’re not exactly as we imagined them to be. It would be like finding out Mr. Rogers was secretly an asshole.
The streaming landscape is littered with this kind of behavior. Streamers are instructed that they have to garner the favor of everyone they meet and make as many friends as possible. To “Network their way to success”. This simply isn’t true, or possible. The secret is that you can have friends that ARE interested in your content, just like you can have friends that AREN’T. If you want to grow your stream, you interact more with the people that ARE. That simple. But this becomes exponentially HARDER when you’re UNSURE if the person you’re talking to likes your content, or just wants you to THINK they do.
There’s a couple cardinal things streamers should pay attention to if they want to know who’s interested.
“Who’s interacting with my content?” Chatting, commenting, sharing, asking questions.
“Who knows what I’ve been doing this last month?”
Don’t be fake, and surround yourself with GENUINE people. You’ll never be sorry you did. <3
3. Rules (Hypocrisy) – “They should be permabanned for that.”
If the title of this seems confusing, it’s completely intentional. On the surface, Twitch appears to love rules. They don’t want nudity, they don’t want vulgarity. So it’s only natural that when subject matter that’s concerningly close to the definition of “Against ToS” comes up… it’s distinctively different from the normal Twitch content. So different that it gains popularity. Predictably, several groups gravitate to this risque content. And let’s be honest here. Much of it is INTENTIONALLY oversexualized to where it’s INTENTIONALLY provocative. Or it’s just provocative. Example A: https://dotesports.com/streaming/news/projektmelody-banned-on-twitch-one-day-after-being-partnered
Group #1 – The Rulebearers. The rulebearers are surprised “this kind of content is allowed on Twitch”. “Isn’t that against the ToS?”, they ask. They’re there to HOLD TWITCH ACCOUNTABLE, and to enforce the rules! Porn should be off Twitch! Twitch is a gaming site! (Twitch WAS a gaming site for like… a year? Between the date it was Justin.tv to when Just Chatting and Cooking/Creative categories were added)
Group #2 – The pervs. Hey man. Porn is popular. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/internet-porn-stats_n_3187682 70% of men and 30% of women admit to watching it. I ain’t judging. I will point out that 82% of the platform’s user base is male. https://www.businessofapps.com/data/twitch-statistics/ A betting man would assume there’s some overlap here between dudes that like porn and dudes that are on Twitch.
Group #3 – The Knights. “Streamer is allowed to do what streamer is allowed to do and I will DIE for their right to do it. Their motivations are of the utmost purity and anyone who doesn’t support that idea will have to go through ME.” Again, a betting man would assume some overlap between Group #2 and Group #3. The fervor for which they’ll fight for a cause, however mislead, is almost admirable.
Group #4 – The CROWD. Pitchforks, molotovs, and human fecal matter. These cretins will hurl any and every conceivable insult at ANYONE within range. Anywhere there’s a scandal, you’ll find these subhumans weighing in.
Group #5 – The jealous. “This guy/gal be stealin’ my views.” Listen dude, unless you’re wagging your ball cleavage around on Twitch, I don’t think you guys overlap audiences. If you’re not interested, go back to trying to build some shit instead of tearing other shit down.
Group #6 – Some people just want to watch the world burn. (Dis me) We can’t look away from a good train wreck. There’s just something heartwarming about a good ol’ clusterfuck.
Group #7 – The “ism”‘s. Anyone with a morally obligatory social agenda they want to push that can use this event as a soapbox. Their virtue signaling is their gift to the world. They are here to fuck some arguments up. Any internet stranger who doesn’t agree with them, beware. You’re about to be barraged with legal jargon and precedents you’ve never heard of and won’t remember.
Group #8 – The press. We’ll extend this to Twitch and YouTube channels that cover drama, doing their best to imitate TMZ. They really add gasoline to these conflagrations, getting them the kind of notoriety that makes them VIRAL.
When you recognize the patterns, you’ll see them over and over again. And this happens with ANYTHING that’s intentionally provocative. It doesn’t have to be sexual. It could be poking a dead body with a stick, or filming live footage inside a public restroom. It could be tossing a cat. It’s a whole lot of hypocrisy, because if people would just tune out instead of vocally bitching about it – well then these messes wouldn’t be so PUBLIC. Notoriety is still fame, folks. And as the Harvard Business Review has reported, even negative press can lead to increased sales. https://hbr.org/2012/03/bad-reviews-can-boost-sales-heres-why
Oh and Twitch’s role in all this? Drama and extremely public bans have been called “Return on Investment (ROI) positive” by several streamer management groups. They make money on the publicity, and their popularity surges. If it’s profitable for the streamer, you can bet it’s monetarily positive for the platform which hosts their content, too. In terms of permanent bans, Twitch will probably never destroy something that took years of organic goodwill to build up between them and their audience. The earned value of it is too great. Ask any marketer around.
I hope that by illustrating all these predictable components, the next time you it you DON’T get mad. You can just observe the apparent calamity that, below the surface, is actually a predictable reaction to provocation. Appreciate it for the beautiful controlled mess that it is. Pity the angry here. They’re the ones that are making the problem bigger for themselves. If they’d just shut up, look away, and mind their business… they wouldn’t have to be so angry. It’s like trying to fight a fire by throwing gas on it, and then throwing yourself on it.
4. Low-Arousal Negative Emotions
Now this isn’t one that Twitch necessarily HATES. This is one that Twitch is ambivalent towards. Given our last point, you’ll understand that ambivalence is waaaaaaay worse when it comes to running a stream than hatred. At least when people hate you, they still talk about you. But when people feel nothing about you, or forget you, there’s little difference between that and being dead to them.
High Arousal Emotions (these make good content) – Anger, Disgust, Nervousness, Fear, Stress, Giddiness, Excitement, Happiness
Low Arousal Positive (still good, but less viral) – Contentedness, Serenity, Relaxation, Calmness
Low Arousal Negative (Bad Content) – Sadness, Boredom, and Tiredness
Some Tips about these: On days where the excitement of people using up their UNREPLENISHABLE FREE TIME is outweighed by low arousal negative emotions like sadness or tiredness, take that day to yourself. It’s okay to feel this way. I’ve felt this way. But subjecting others to those emotions will NOT make them or you feel better. It’s just not a way you want to be remembered.
As for negative emotions in general. I will advise through my own experience that high arousal negative emotions are okay to express – especially if you’re FUNNY! And also if you’re not complaining. Comedians are the masters of this. But nobody wants to sit there and hear someone bitch endlessly. Everyone has problems, why should we care about yours?
5. Another thing Twitch hates… EVERYTHING!
I jest. But really, when you make content in a public forum, there will be people who hate what you do. They might not even understand why. It may be totally unwarranted. But if you’d like any more evidence of this, go find any video on YouTube and check the dislikes rating. There’s always going to be someone shitting on your hard work, no matter the hours you put into it.
And that’s okay. You don’t have to please them. You’re not trying to please them. In some cases, it’s a GOOD thing you’re pissing some people off. Nobody wants to be the person that makes racists, misogynists, and incels happy. So don’t worry if you’re making some people mad. Remember, the point is that they’re talking about you. ^_^
Do your best to not fall into the trap of hating them back. It’s not a productive response, hating your haters. Instead, give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they’re having a bad day. Maybe they’re having a bad life. Maybe they’ve never known kindness. We don’t know. But don’t let them break your stride. They’re just another annoying inconvenience, like a global pandemic, or a flat tire. Annoying, but fleeting.
All of this said, Twitch is truly a beautiful place. Even after 4 years on it, 2 of them partnered, I still truly believe that. In all the hustle and bustle of growing our channels it’s sometimes easy for us to lose sight of how amazing it is. But regardless of any impaired vision we acquire after adorning our racing blinders, the fact remains that there is NO BETTER hub in either our digital or physical worlds to find people who love the same things we do. It’s the PERFECT gathering to find a tribe tailored to us. And maybe that’s why we’re so intolerant of its glaring IMPERFECTION. Thanks for sticking with me through all this. Till next time, boneheads.