Friday, February 23, 2018

Twitch: (Part 2) Being a Good Twitch Viewer

About a year ago, I made a blog on how to be a good viewer offering advice on manners, expectations, and some ways to support your favorite streamers. To date, it was my most popular blog and included a lot of feedback as well. So now, I would like to provide for you all a 'part 2' of that blog. There have been some changes to Twitch since I wrote that, and while I've touched on a couple of those features in other blogs... I'd like to give you another fully fleshed out guide to being a better viewer in your communities. Please enjoy, and share with others.

Being a Good Viewer (Part 2)
(See Part 1 here: First Blog)


I covered quite a few basic 'to know' things in the first blog for etiquette and unspoken do's and don'ts. I'll share now a few more I either neglected to mention before or that have become new things within the last year to know.

Don't sass a channel's mods. You'd think this would go without saying... however, I've seen both while modding myself and as just a viewer, far too many people make this mistake. And I don't mean just trolls trying to cause trouble. I've seen people with year long sub streaks do this. It really comes down to the mood of that channel's community and streamer. Some are more lax on joking around with the mods and streamer... others are not. So be sure you have assessed that mood before you choose to "joke around" with the mods so to speak. Rarely in any channel however, will they or the streamer, tolerate disrespect of their mods. A mod is a volunteer gig, and a lot of mods pour hours of commitment into their role. Streamers are protective of their mods, because without them, their channel wouldn't run as well as it does. If you absolutely feel the need to question how a mod is doing something... I suggest you wait until after the stream is done, and message the streamer privately about it. Don't call out a mod or insult them in the chat itself. If you do it respectfully, you can usually talk to the streamer or a 'head mod' about any staff member you think is being unfair toward you.

Don't say or imply a streamer is boring. Using the 'ResidentSleeper' emote for example can be rude, depending how you're using it. Some streamers even take offense if you say you fall asleep to their streams (though many people mean this as a compliment to the streamer's voice, not that they are boring.) Questioning the games the streamer plays, the activity they are doing, how much they speak or don't speak. Just don't do it... there is no reason to be rude. If you don't like a stream, just move on to something else. All streams and streamers are different and there is something for everyone.

Don't ask for shout outs, or advertise your own things. A name shoutout sometimes is okay. Some viewers like a simple recognition from a streamer they love, some are showing their friends and want to prove its live. Most often though, without explaining yourself, asking for a shoutout is seen by streamers as asking for a form of advertising. Some might be okay with advertising (Banlish for example encourages streamers supporting one another, as long as you do it properly), but in general... it'll be seen as rude. If you insist on asking for a shout out, at least explain the reasoning so they know that it isn't you advertising.

Don't ask for mod. If you ask for it, it almost guarantees that you wont get it. The best way for you to become a mod, is to be active in the chat regularly and show up to most streams. Being helpful to fellow chatters, saying hit to everyone, etc. can also show you as a good candidate. The stream's mods or streamer may approach in the future when they're looking for new staff if you caught their eye through example alone.

Support Your Favorite Streamers

The first blog offers quite a few ideas on ways to support streams. However, here are a few more that popped up in the last year or that I didn't add to the first blog.

CLIPS! Clips are 30-60 second highlights of a stream, that you edit and name. One of the absolute best ways you can support your streamers is to take good clips, and share those clips elsewhere online. When you make a clip, in the upper right are some social media sharing options. I almost always tweet my clips out using that option. There is also a new feature by Twitch called "Twitch Badge's" that will award you a channel-specific badge for reaching a certain amount of views on two or more clips in that channel. They are a monthly award though, so you'll need to be consistent with your clipping if you want to keep it. Some streamers also use clips in special highlight videos and will most likely give you credit if they use your clip. So if you are one of those that like recognition... there you go.

Give feedback. NOT in the chat, unless a streamer asks for it at that specific time. However, most streamers will have a Twitter, Strawpoll, or Discord where they might ask you for some Feedback. Don't dismiss this! Streamers are always looking for ways to improve their content, and feedback (as with any company) is one of the most valuable things you can give them. Be honest, just don't be rude. Constructive criticism is gold. The streamer may be doing something unknowingly that annoys their viewers, but noone speaks up. They might also be missing out on doing something simple that could dramatically improve the stream's quality. Unless you tell them... they might not know.

Take part in community activities. Streamers really want to build up report with their viewers. Some will do giveaways, some will do community games, some will ask for fanart. There are a lot of ways you can be part of the community without paying a dime. Pay close attention to these opportunities. AuroraPeachy for example has 'Peachy Parties' when she plays Guild Wars 2, where people can join her party in game and hang out together. Or they'll go do some daily activity in the game together. p4wnyhof has monthly giveaways for everyone to enter that includes GREAT prizes (1080ti anyone?) Kismet took his mods to a convention with him. Then there are streamers who play party games like Jackbox, Domina, Choice Chamber... and more, which people right from chat can take part in at no cost.

Mods unavailable? Don't try to enforce rules in their absence. However, being a supportive viewer while they're gone by answering questions can be quite helpful to the streamer. Streamer's get asked the same questions hundreds of times and they don't always have the time or patience to keep answering. So if there is not a mod around to do this task for them... feel free to be helpful and answer new viewer's questions for them. Careful of links though, as you'll likely get timed out by the bot on those. If you're a regular viewer, you probably know the answer to a lot of those common questions though.

Forgive Streamers. Every streamer is human, and they are going to have some bad days. Usually if they're smart, they'll just cancel their stream and take time off. But if for some reason they choose to push through and stream anyway... they might not be their usual self. Short tempers, less patience, snippy, depressed... it'll happen. Just be patient and understanding, and make sure the streamer knows you are still there for them and happy to have their stream. Sometimes a streamer just needs to know they aren't alone, and their community can be therapeutic for them. Try not to hold a grudge if they end up getting short with you when normally they wouldn't.

Retweet. Twitter is a main staple of most streams now. Twitch isn't always reliable about letting people know when a stream goes live. So retweeting their 'going live' tweets can make a big difference in who shows up. A lot of channels award chat currency after a certain amount of time from the start of the stream based on how many retweets there have been as well. 

Buy a Game, or Merchandise. Some partnered streamers will have the option on their stream to buy games directly through Twitch itself. Sure, it isn't always the cheapest option online for a game but... if you really want to throw that extra financial support at the streamer, you can do this. A perk to buying games through a streamer's channel is also that Twitch offers some virtual boxes that may give you special channel badges or emotes to use. Streamers also might have other affiliate type links such as Amazon, where if you use their link when you buy things... they get a cut. Then there are merchandise stores (like T-Shirts) with a streamer's art, logos, sayings, etc. you can buy and own a piece of their brand to show off.

There you have it. I hope you checked out my first blog on this subject if you hadn't already; if you had, I hope that this 'part 2' was helpful to you. Thank you for supporting my blogs and considering some of my advice. I adore Twitch, and think that so far they have done most things right to keep growing. Lets all do our part to keep Twitch strong!