Twitch.TV and building a community in a digital world.

[Note to Dave – Here’s what happened. I submitted the original assessment to moodle in the wrong section, however it was submitted. You’ll find the original post in the ‘submission comments’ section. I’ve reposted it here for your convenience.]

When you look at your average twitch stream, it’s just a guy with a webcam playing games while streaming video and commentary into the ether of the internet. The difference between the big and the tiny streams, is audience. But how does a stream grow? How does a community form in this intangible internet space? What brings a bunch of people together to make a fanbase?

That’s what we’re going to find out.

To start with, we need to find out the basic requirements for a stream, and luckily for us there are already a number of articles on how to start. This gives us a basic starting point, and allows us to start working with certain goals in mind.

Firstly. A schedule. Most sources recommend streaming at least twice or three times a week, with the average stream duration being around three hours. This is important as it gives the audience a reliable time they can tune in, and as a streamer you don’t need to stream for ten hours straight. I’ve decided to stream on sundays, thursdays, starting at 5:30. This should give me plenty of time to get home from work/pick up guests.

newfriends

An early screenshot of Ooblets. Look at it. It’s gorgeous.

The next difficult hurdle is finding a niche. Aesthetically, I’ve recently been seeing an awful lot of adorable, emotive content, which made me think. So many streams are angry guys yelling at their monitors – which, while entertaining is not relaxing at all. I was stuck here for some time, until by chance I came across the most adorable trailer ever, for a little indie game called Ooblets. This made me think. Everyone loves adorable things. It’s the reason cute cats and dogs make up a huge amount of the internet. It’s the reason we have things like Stardew Valley and Pokemon. Adorable is great. Yet, despite this, I have yet to see a stream themed around relaxing, cute, nintendoey games. It’s a fairly small niche, but it’s a starting point that meshes extremely well with the vision I had for the relaxing chill channel. This leads us to our next issue – what’s the stream going to look like?

It’s no good to have a stream that looks bad. If someone clicks into your stream, no matter how well scheduled it is, the first thing they notice is the stream art. How well set up your profile is, what your overlay looks like. Even the stream quality itself. This is why it’s very important to set up the stream in such a way that it can convey the message and type of stream it is with a glance at the homepage. It’s this branding of a stream that initially tells the viewer they’ve clicked onto quality content, and helps them to stay engaged..

This will be done over the course of the assignment, as I work on each part individually, slowly unifying the theme of the various stream elements and headers. I’ll be constructing the stream in the latest version of OBS (Open Broadcasting Software), as opposed to the outdated version I have previously been using, however this will require a complete rebuild of scenes. This total reconstruction of my previous setup will give me the opportunity to rebuild and customise bots, chat layout, and general presentation.

Finally, there’s the community surrounding the stream. I have already created a discord server to serve as a hangout spot for anyone who wants to stick around in non streaming hours, however discord is not for everyone, being a relatively new platform the number of people that can engage with it is not as many as say – twitter. I hope to activate and use a number of platforms – namely discord, twitter, and reddit to engage with the stream audience ,and hopefully keep them engaged even when i’m not streaming. This is a the real unknown area. I’ve not created a community before, so this is all completely new to me, and any advice will be considered.

All things considered, this is a bigger assignment than I thought it would be. There’s a lot to do, a lot to learn, and hopefully a decent result waiting for us at the end. That’s going to be determined by how much time and effort I put into the previous steps, and how organised I can be with getting all the other work done between streams. If I keep working at it though, this is gonna be pretty great.

You’ll be able to find my stream page at twitch.tv/bandersaur. Pop in and say hi sometime!

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