As any long time readers know if you’ve followed me on social media, or seen the occasional pop up on the site, I have had an account on Twitch and had a Mixer account for years now. I would stream once in a blue moon something completely random and then not stream again for months or a year. Streaming was something I was always interested in but very hesitant to do, I didn’t understand the beast, I had only a very passing familiarity with any streaming personalities, and I knew nothing about Youtube and that entire ecosystem. Even know after the last 7 months my understanding of Youtube is largely theoretical and my toe if only very slightly dipped into TikTok. This piece however has to do with the events of the last 7 months which began very slowly in late June.
To give a sense of scale, here is the analytics from June to the present day, which the last month my streaming has fallen off quite a bit for numerous reasons I will cover later.
Some backstory first though, as with much of the world, we were placed in lockdown due to the Covid-19 virus. This included myself being put off work from my day job so from mid march I had not much of anything to do, stuck in the house with the kids trying not to go completely mad. Thus much like many of the people I have met and gotten to know in this journey, I decided to give this whole “streaming” thing a whirl. Invested some money I had (Thanks Justin) to get a mid-tier computer that could do pretty much anything I wanted to do and wasn’t stupid expensive and I started going live with the most random games that struck my fancy. No camera, no fancy microphone, and nothing but my strange sense of humor and only a minimal understanding of how to do any of the things. Needless to say it wasn’t pretty, and while I was having fun, I was getting no where fast in terms of viewers. Here’s an early highlight of that foolishness. (Explicit language warning)
Now I have been working away at it and things have improved quite a bit over the last 7 months, applying what I already knew about social media, marketing, and a touch of showman ship I picked up from misspent youth I have been achieving growth and progressively learning more and more about streaming and the platform associated with it. There has been a great many things to learn, I am no where near as competent as I would like to be, and I am only at the beginning of what is going to take a long time to really gain any moderate success if I ever do. Streaming is equal parts talent, work, and persistence, as it is just timing and dumb luck. Some folks just blow up faster than others, and some will just stream to the same 4 people for their entire time streaming. Discovery and the methods of gaining an audience are a subject for another day. I however am engaged and will keep working. Despite my current down times, I have been working on content plans and just getting a handle on where I am and where I plan to be; that’s something else for another day, for now let’s focus on the last 7 months.
Like any other journey into parts unknown to someone, it has not been idyllic or even peaceful as things have progressed. I early on fell into the same trap a lot of new streamers do. I very quickly got introduced to some of the traps that fresh new streamers often find themselves sucked into. The “Follow4Follow” culture, the “#smallstreamers” hastags, and the toxic communities where one or a couple of streamers who are further down the road build these gatherings of small streamers who will flock to promises of “Growing together” or getting “Taken with me as I get Partner”.
Let me stop right here to say something.
There is nothing wrong with forming friendships with fellow streamers, there is nothing wrong with forming partnerships to collaborate, co-stream, cross promote, and otherwise work together on common goals.
I am talking about something else, I am talking about streamers who have something of an established audience, but are “Pushing for Partner” or has some clearly defined and announced goal and are being exploitive of others time and support without any real reciprocation or acknowledgement. People who will promise all sorts of things and draw you into a cult of personality asking for only small things at first but will eventually build up their demands, or requests so as to take away from your time growing your own channel in efforts to get you to advocate, work, and invest your time is building them up alone. Sure they promise that once they achieve X goal, they will then boost you along with them. Yeah, that almost never happens, more of then not, you or others before and after you are just expendable worker ants holding up the King or Queen ant and they will replace you without a thought. Therein also lies a world of fake giveaways, fake promises, gated Discord communities, strange Twitter DM groups, participation expectations, and a wealth of drama you haven’t experienced since High School.
For those who know, the code phrase: #Gaming #Chair
Now I am a fairly accomplished person, and I try to approach things with a professional manner, but I willingly admit I was naïve and really was unprepared for the depth and length to which some folks will go to achieve things on Twitch. I can’t comment on other streaming platforms as I haven’t invested time in them. My adventure has been on Twitch, and while I lament that I got caught into these traps, I gained more than I lost in the brief time I was in the middle of the storm. I relearned lessons I should have kept in mind going forward from other past experiences. I have come out ahead however as I have made some very good friends, and I have learned many things not to do, and a lot of what I can do to improve my own plans and how to approach my own goals. The biggest gain I made form that whole odyssey into the dark side of twitch is the friendships I have made due to it, and I will cherish that aspect more than anything else.
Streaming is both enjoyable but also a lot of work if you intend to do it seriously. Most of the work , much of your growth happens off stream. You spend a lot of time researching, a lot of time engaging on social media. I have learned a lot and there is vehicles for growth all interconnected between Twitch, Youtube, TikTok, and Twitter. Finding audiences on all things gather together potential on your main platform of choice. I have reached affiliate, and I will say, getting that first Twitch payout was very surreal. People paid money to subscribe to my channel, people paid money to give me bits, gift subscriptions, donated to the channel, and most importantly I have regular viewers who come and hang out in the channel.
I want to thank everyone who has supported the channel thus far, supported Anjel Syndicate, and supported any of my current and past shenanigans. Thank You! I appreciate every single of one of you! All, ALL my love! – Anj
It motivates me and humbles me, it has taught me a lot about myself, and it has helped me overcome some of my personal insecurities and limitations that I have hidden behind for decades. Writing is and always will be my passion and something I need to really do more of, especially content on the site. I have plans for staff and growth not just on Twitch but also here on Anjel Syndicate. Everything I have learned and experienced in the last 7 months, all the friends and connections I have made, communities I have joined, met, and experienced all will make me a better content creator, a better streamer, and I hope a better person as I learn how to be social, how to make and engage with friends again, and how to stop hiding behind my “pen”. I am now a Writer, a Streamer, and a Content Creator, this adventure is only beginning and I will continue learning, growing, and finding new ways to deliver content. Mostly though, I will continue having a helluva lot of fun with my friends both on stream and off.
There’s work to be done.
PS: Beware Stream Magicians offering Magic Beans of Growth