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What Twitch Means to Me: A Personal Appeal

what twitch tv means to me

These are never the easiest to write. About a month ago, I was playing Rogue Legacy 2 when I started to notice my energy for the past several streams was horridly low. 3 hours into a stream and my interest in streaming dropped, my personality went out the door, and all I wanted to do was to lie down. I realized the past several streams I had been energetic, talkative, and communicative to all of zero people. Every time I started stream it was 15 minutes to start and another 10 or so for announcements. So, literally, 25+ minutes every stream went to nothing. Twitch streaming isn't easy in the least, and for someone that has a mellow energy level, stretching on into 5-6 hours just gets draining. I needed a month off to re-think a lot of things—primarily what Twitch meant to me. Here's my internal struggle, and I never seem to settle with it.

Getting Over The Mental Hump: Deciding What I Want with Twitch

When I first saw Twitch, I didn't even realize what it was. Okay, you're watching someone play video games. So what? My goal was to further develop editorial skills by putting together an editing computer capable of capturing video. It was an absolute janky setup, but it worked for me. Shortly after capturing some FEZ content, I recognized I could stream. And I did it purely out of self-interest. I didn't know the top streamers, didn't know the trends, didn't know hardly anything about Twitch. This was in July of 2013, before hosts.
Back then, partnership was still 500 concurrent views and so getting a sub button wasn't anywhere within reach. Gamewisp was up (as I recall), and eventually Patreon, but literally every time I broadcasted it was more of a learning session, primarily about marketing. I learned business model implementation, psychology behind customer choice at "the counter," basics of how a presentation worked, editing, social media, whatever. I owe Twitch my career, because I was able to implement a lot of new things into my model and experiment, then bring them into the workplace. When you have to teach your direct managers things, it speaks volumes that the stuff you learn at home can definitely apply well at work.
But admittedly, a lot of the stuff I figured out with Twitch just wasn't enough to bring it to fruition with Twitch itself, primarily because it's such a difficult market to crack with an ever-changing meta that increases viewcount, engagement, and channel health overall. When you're streaming video games as a business, the meta is always a step ahead of content creators and it's never easy to determine how the market shifts. With more competition from YouTube, TikTok, Facebook Gaming, and other platforms, the boat on it's crest is starting to fall to the calmer waters. 

That's metaphorical to explain that the Twitch viewerbase has probably shrunk, and it's evident in creator channels shrinking, leaving the success up to the creators to find out how to wrangle them back onto the platform. Twitch lauched with video games, but it definitely evolved into something else. That's why I started to wonder what Twitch means to me.

Do I Run Twitch as a Business or as a Side Project?

Do I get back into the grind? Do I incentivize viewership numbers? What do I give if and when people pay? Do I spend money to get results? These are never easy questions to answer. For awhile, I wanted to separate my stream from me; my stream is not me, I am not my stream, which is why I operated separated social media accounts--one that was intentionally spammy, and my personal one to be very natural. The spammy one actually received a lot more engagement percentage than my personal, but it turns out even the quality of the accounts behind the social media can matter--believe me, using too many hashtags in a post gets the attention of a lot of low-quality graphic designers overseas.

Regardless, I think separating my social media accounts wasn't the best idea. Yes, they operate differently in order to get intended results, but unfortunately intended results weren't effective enough. Even with a website, SEO tools, engagement percentage targeting, content variety, networking, everything I could think of, the stream itself wasn't going anywhere. 

But...if it *did* go places, it would have been successful. And that's where I'm always wondering what Twitch means to me.

I needed the month off in order to take a break from gaming, re-evaulate Twitch, work on projects, work on myself, and generally relax. I feel more at peace than I did a month ago, and I feel ready to get back into it.

So what this post is about, honestly, is that I'm still here. I'll still broadcast. I'll keep doing it. But my stance is this, as I've always told myself:

I'm always legitimate. I don't find fairweather friends to "service" in order to get attention. I don't play politics. I don't ditch people to get what I want, and that has honestly been successful for my mental health, which matters more than money. 

However, with this, I'm going to admit that my new hours will be Noon PST onward, weekends. This gives me time to go to the gym, get my energy up, my stress out, and my mind clear in order to be the best broadcaster I can. And I'll admittedly consolidate my "business" Twitter account into my main. There's no need to have so many accounts. It just doesn't make sense.

What Does Twitch Mean to Me?

I recently went on a date with a wonderful woman in San Diego and we chatted over drinks about video games. She mentioned that she didn't play single-player games very often because she preferred having someone else there to play with.

I commented that that's the exact reason why I stream. Because when others come by the stream and have a good time, that makes the experience much more enjoyable.

And it clicked. I nearly lost it on my date, but I told her exactly the reason why I streamed. It came from the back of my mind to someone I didn't even know well, and I finally found the reason I streamed.

So, as before, I'm still around. I'll continue to be around. If you want to stop by the stream, I invite you. If you want to give me money for my efforts, thank you. But as before, I'll just be myself. Only turned up to 11. 😉

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