The last several years it has been made abundantly clear that streaming is not a trend and that it will last for a very long time. I tried to get into streaming on Twitch.tv for quite a time and I keep on thinking about how one day I’ll get up and do it again. Time after time, I am met with the same personal frustrations though. I become incredibly rough on myself, feeling that I am not a person made for this platform.
So I went to YouTube for a while. It was cool, and I did some work on it. I made reviews, had talking segments, and even did research and tried to explain different aspects of gaming.
Besides the fact that YouTube seems to be screwing everyone over; I have found that YouTube and Twitch are similar to comedy. You have improvisational comedy, very much like Twitch. Then you have your scripted stand-up or sketch comedy performances witch is similar to YouTube.
Either way, there is a problem that everyone seems to run into when it comes to their streaming or YouTube career(s). It’s an issue about getting yourself out there. Get other people interested in what it is that you are doing. In both of these platforms, you are a single person hoping that others will latch onto your persona. To have them want to see you. You want to build an audience that will hang onto your every word, or most of them.
The honest truth is that getting big on Twitch or even YouTube is a shot in the dark. As everyone says, it takes time and dedication. You are told this with the possible reward that eventually you will get to the big time. There are people that put in a ton of work into what they do. Then you have people think that there are ways to skip lines and get to the front of the queue.
My wife has been a dedicated streaming for the last two years. She streams a variety of classic games and something called the Legend of Zelda Randomizer. She has a setup that consists of various lights and equipment. Capture cards and stream decks. Headphones and mics. It was clear that one day she would “level up” sort to speak. So it wasn’t surprising when the time came and she gained affiliate status early. The lights in her eyes ignited a beautiful light as we both knew that this is another avenue of accessibility for her. You can do a lot of things on Twitch, but as an affiliate you can do much more. When you become partnered, the streets truly open up for you in the Twitch world.
Affiliate is just a step for most people these days. There is a step even higher for those who bring in a larger audience. That level is called “Partnered” and it is rewarded with money, fame, and additional custom emotes. Recent controversies aside, it’s difficult to get to the partnered status and it’s all about the sacrifice you are willing to make. Sacrificing your time, your responsibilities, and even sometimes the privacy of your life.
It’s like that scene from Avengers: Infinity War and how far Thanos went to get the Infinity Stones. He made sacrifices and ultimately, out of sheer luck (thanks Thor), he got what he wanted.
Streaming, and getting big on Twitch is a challenge and there is nothing you can do to make it easier for yourself. If you want to hop the line then by all means, you can try to give up something for something else. Whether you are someone who plays games for eight hours a day, has a gimmick, or just dresses up in the shortest shorts ever made; nothing comes easy.
Which brings me to the true meaning, behind this post: these Twitch follow communities that happen to suck everyone in with the promise that you, yourself, will also become a partnered Twitch streamer.
Each one starts out the same too. Sign up, share your info with everyone in the group. Take part in the Discord server, and make sure you show up for each other’s streams. Support it, tweet it out, share with your friends on Facebook. The typical internet carpet bombing of social media to make sure that other people get views in hopes that they will do the same thing for you.
But hope is a very strong emotion. We all do things for each other because we are people, and when we do good things, it makes us feel good. Making other people happy is what makes us feel good. So when people jump, we go “How high?”
The problem is that there are tons of people who really don’t care to reciprocate the emotions that you might have. Quite frankly, there are tons more people who have it out for themselves than those who are willing to see someone else achieve their goals.
At one point, in hopes to grow an audience, my wife and I joined one of these groups to see what the deal was. What we found is exactly what I typed here. It was a drama filled cesspool. It was filled with some of the most narcissistic people I have ever had the displeasure of witnessing. Most of all, it was filled with the utter mental concept of “fuck you, I got mine.”
What do I mean by all of this? Twitch follow groups exist for one reason, and one reason only, to make the person at the top look good. It’s no different from a corporate latter. All the people at the bottom do all the work for the guy at the top to get the bonus.
The leader is at a very interesting position and usually requires a set of skills that if everyone had, Twitch follow groups just wouldn’t exist. The leader of the group convinces a small group of people that if they work together they can all get to the top though the innocent stance of support. Supporting each other will result in everyone coming out on top. But we have all seen The Dark Knight. We have all seen the opening scene where the Joker kills his cronies and leaves with all of the money. You really don’t want that happening. Plus having only a handful of people isn’t big enough.
They need to get more people involved. Not just ten more, but hundreds more. There is no better way to pad the numbers outside of using view bots and the like. So the five “friends” have go out and find some streamers that might have a couple of viewers, might seem pretty, or foolish enough to follow. So the Twitch follow group throws them the details. They oblige.
Now, if you are like my wife or I, you feel great that someone is willing to throw you a bone out of the kindness of their heart. You want to impress them, so you do what they ask. You are there, hosting, tweeting, and getting your pals to watch them. No one asks questions. You also feel that some of these people at the top will help you when your turn comes around, but they seem too busy to respond, so you don’t send them messages at all.
I mean, the worst case scenario to the leader is that you seem more likable than the leader(s) themselves. Which, chances are, you are more likable than the asshat who started this entire scam in the first place. But it is something that the leader doesn’t want to risk at all.
So you stream, tell others, and not many people show up, or they follow but never seem to make it online to actually watch you. The leader following at least gives you that bit of happiness. It placates you to a level.
The only people that seem to follow you, and actually give a damn, are the ones to the left and right of you. They are the people that are actually willing to help each other out, and in doing so, they also help the leader out. They all go to the leader’s page and watch together, padding numbers once again. Out of sheer obligation, and threat of getting kicked out of the group.
Then the day comes. The leader gets to the top, they get into the Twitch partnered program. They got the purple check mark and then they are gone. They disappear. They promised to help you but now they are gone, off on their own way. They left you behind. They lied to you. Drama ensues and there is a new leader that promises you that it won’t happen again. But it does, and the cycle repeats.
I have seen this whole thing before and every day my wife gets a proposition to join one of these groups we shake our heads. We know how drama filled these things can be. We know that the investment is never returned as promised. The terms and conditions are written in ways that help those who wrote them and no power was given to you to begin with.
Most recently, my wife saw a group where they required you to put ads in your stream for businesses owned by the leader. At that point they aren’t just growing their twitch page, but their businesses, just in case they are figured out. Do you get money in return for running these ads? Nope. You get nothing. You only get some semblance hope.
Now, I’m not saying that all groups are like this. They aren’t as evil and vindictive as I make it out to be. Most of the groups though, have been like this. Most people that I have had interactions with, are just like this. Maybe a group or two are nice but they are not going to appeal to your wildest dreams.
What will help you in the long run:
- Stream and keep on going
- Practice talking even when you’re not streaming, act like you are when you’re not
- Watch your streams back to see what you can improve on
- Socialize and be genuine. If you fake it, others can tell.
- Make a sacrifice if this is something you really, really want to do.
Thank you very much for reading. If you are a streamer, I wish you luck on your endeavor.