OPINION: Who watches the watchers?

NinjasKMK by NinjasKMK on Dec 29, 2017

We’ve all been there before; turn on your computer, put on your headset, start your game up, and then load up your streaming session. I would like to call this phase, “Load and Behold”. Because honestly, we never really know how many viewers might be on the other side of that screen when you begin. And it seems as if this time we have a big fat zero. No viewers. Although you feel content on playing your game while no one is watching you, it would be nice to have some company as you snipe some idiot in the head while driving with the windows down. Then, ten minutes turn into an hour and you realize the one viewer is your grandma. So you sit back in your chair, scratch your head and think to yourself, “What am I doing wrong, why can’t I get viewers like these other streamers?” The answer is easy. It’s simple. It’s one of those instances where if it was a snake it would have bit you, because it was right in front of you. Are you ready to hear the truth? The answer is, “You aren’t that streamer (yet)”!

There is hope, and I’m going to lay these 10 easy suggestions to make you a dreamier streamer. Again, these are only suggestions and opinions collected from social media and personal preference. Please be warned, some suggestions could hold potential harshness, but honestly if there was a boogie hanging from my nose I would want someone to tell me.

  • Brush your hair not your teeth. While some viewers are more interested in the video game in which is being played, it wouldn’t hurt to brush your hair and maybe shave once in awhile. Appearance is everything. This isn’t an interview, but it could potentially turn into one; you never know who is watching and no one wants to hire or sponsor a train wreck.

  • Don’t eat during your stream. We all get hungry, but no one wants to see someone chomping down on a cheeseburger or pasta noodles hanging out of someone’s mouth. Take 15 min. Tell your viewers you’ll be back and in the meantime, play some music in the background, share a slide show about yourself, or switch to a brb overlay with a countdown.

  • No Camera, No Mic. Don’t have a camera? Maybe you don’t want someone staring at you for three hours. That’s fine; you can still be entertaining to your audience. Some viewers just enjoy watching the game. But the key here is to continue to let your viewers know you are still with them. Even if you don’t have a microphone either, at least and always, keep the chatter flowing and keep up with your live-chats. If you do have a camera, I would suggest cutting that sucker on because it’s a great way to show the viewers who they are watching.

  • You’re not very exciting to watch. Ouch harsh, but it’s the truth. I’ve come across streamers who just sit and play while not interacting with the viewers. And yeah, you might be playing a game that needs your full attention; that is to be expected, especially with VR (Virtual Reality). But, if you do see a viewer come on and say, “Hello”, the least you can do is say,” Howdy” back when you’re able. The viewer wants to be entertained. They aren’t looking forward to hanging out at the game menu or lobby. And if this is the case because you’re waiting for the next game to start, have fun with your viewers. You don’t have to sing “Wrecking Ball”, (although it could be interesting) just ask questions or answer questions. Interaction is the key.

  • Did they just say that? While cursing may not be a huge deal to some viewers, there are other types of language that could be taken offensively. I would suggest staying away from topics that could be considered racist, sexist, or derogatory in any form. And always be polite to your viewers, you never know who may be watching and willing to give a donation or cheer. Besides, no one wants to chill with a Debbie Downer.

  • Twitter. You need to get your Twitter on, because it’s a huge social media platform where you can promote yourself with a simple hashtag, retweet, and just basically supporting each other in the public realm. This is also an easy way to notify your followers when you go live or even use the live feature directly through Twitter.

  • Facebookology and Instagram it up. Both Facebook and Instagram are also a great way to share your behind the scenes life with your viewers. It makes them feel like they are a part of your life, and it always feels great to feel included and special. In most cases, this will turn into a follower or subscriber. The more followers/subscribers that we have the more viewers we might be able to gain and make a part of your streaming community.

  • Giveaways. We all love free stuff. And a fun way to gain viewers is just that, giving a lucky viewer a free item. It’s best to keep it simple to qualify when building your viewer base. For instance, basing the giveaway off the first 50 following your twitch channel, all your subscribers get an entry, or even bonus entries for social media interactions are great starting points. The prizes can be anything from a knitted sweater to a $50-dollar gift card. Be creative.

  • Attend your local community. Make a name for yourself and get out of the house. Occasionally go find a good LAN party or FIRESIDE tournament to attend. Even if you aren’t good at the game and you’re still learning, you never know who you might run into. And you might even learn a couple of things towards the game or even find some new people to run raids with. Remember, information is knowledge and knowledge is POWER!

  • Have fun! We play video games because, heck, it’s fun to play. For some, it’s an escape from reality of the unpaid bills stacked on your desk. For others, it’s the social interaction that keeps them coming back. Either way, we play because we enjoy it. So if you’re playing a game that you are just not feeling great about, change it up. We all love the competitive drive but don’t be so serious all the time and have some fun.

I hope these suggestions help you on your journey to becoming a great streamer. Thanks for reading.

- NinjasKMK, Opinion Columnist, Graphic Designer (Twerk Team)