Recently, I have noticed that I spend a lot of time watching live streams on Twitch. This has replaced the time I used to spend watching videos on Youtube, Instagram, and other social media.
As I spent more time lurking in Twitch Chat, I learned more and more about live streaming and why thousands of people are tuning into Twitch (and other live streaming platforms) and spending a lot of money on content that is available for free!
- Active v. Passive viewers👀The first thing you notice when you visit a Twitch channel is the rapidly moving chat (if its a popular channel). However, if you glance over to the number of viewers you would quickly realize that the number of people talking in chat (no matter how fast it is moving) is only a small fraction of the number of active viewers. This becomes clearer when you switch to a smaller stream which might have 5-10 viewers but barely anyone talking in chat.
There are three types of Twitch viewers - The conversation leaders, the active viewers, and the passive viewers (or lurkers).
The conversation leaders are the ones who initiate new topics, and basically treat the chat as a a group conversation. Active viewers are actively watching the stream and usually talk in chat when the streamer brings up a topic relevant to them. Lurkers are passive viewers. They either keep the stream open in the background and just listen to it, or they are watching actively but never contribute to the conversation.
- Interaction = 🔑 Twitch viewers are attracted to streamers who interact with them. This involves reading chat, reading subscriptions, follows, and tips. In the twitch community, a streamer who 'doesnt read subs' is destined to fail. This is an interesting social dynamic. Viewers expect the streamer to actively interact with the community. This element of real-time interaction was absent from both television and youtube videos.
I have noticed that interaction is important for the lurkers as well, even though they are not contributing to the chat. If you are an aspiring/young streamer, interact with viewers as much as you can and make them feel special!
- The feeling of being on TV📺Everyone wants their 10 seconds of 'fame'. In the heydays of cable TV, being on 'The Price is Right' or 'Jeopardy' was the dream. As live streaming increases in popularity, having your sub/donation read on stream, live in front of hundreds of viewers is the 2018 equivalent of being on TV. As a result, people eagerly wait for their name to be read on stream! Spend some time on your alerts so they look good!
As a result, live stream has two main advantages over other forms of video/media content:
- Immediacy - viewers can become a part of the proceedings immediately. In comparison, it takes months to be on Jeopardy followed by a whole day of recording and then after a few months, your show is aired.
- Social - Live stream allows you to watch video in a social group. While companies like Rabbit have tried to create social viewing for Netflix, TV and other video content lacks real-time social interactions.