… and it’s making me (and many, many others) neurotic, full of anxiety, depressed, and generally insane, all at the same time!
Being a Streamer on Twitch is hard. We are trying to entertain an audience on a Live broadcast, sometimes for hours on end with no real breaks, and it is like walking a high-wire with no safety net. Sometimes this will be for an audience of thousands, other times for hundreds, and more often than not, for only a handful of people… and the latter, more common audience size, can be very disheartening.
Moreover, it can be extremely depressing when – despite everything we do to be funny and/or engaging – we see no one Following us, let alone Subscribing to our channel, especially when we occasionally lose Followers. It feels like we are bashing our heads against the proverbial Wall, trying to succeed, but going nowhere, other than maybe backwards.
It makes you feel like a failure, not just as a Streamer, but as a person in general. It feels like you are being judged unworthy, that you simply aren’t funny enough, or engaging enough, or personable enough. That seems like a direct judgement on your personality, or lack thereof.
That all said, this is 100% Bullshit!
My stream is small, and yes, it has felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere from time to time. That said, this is anything but a judgement on me personally. I know I’m funny, in my own way. I know I make engaging content, that people enjoy, if they get around to watching it. But there lies the true problem here, and it is one that has to do more with Twitch and the other livestreaming services, than with us as Content Creators:
Livestreaming is a Telethon, not a Commercial.
What do I mean by that? Simply this: Commercials are short, hopefully-engaging videos, that quickly describe and advertise a company, service, product, or broadcast. It is easy to show off your talents (if only in a brief way) in a Commercial, so that viewers can quickly see and decide if this is something they would like to peruse further.
Meanwhile, a Telethon, such as the March of Dimes Labor Day Telethon, is a long-form broadcast, over many hours. These shows provide lots of entertainment, but it is broken up and scattered over a couple of days worth of 24/7 broadcasting. In between you have famous people begging for your cash, videos talking about what charity the Telethon is supporting, and so on.
In short, no one can be funny/engaging every second of a broadcast. No one.
So let’s say I’m livestreaming for six hours. If someone comes in right at the start, they may find me very energetic, telling jokes and very upbeat, because I’m well rested and ready to go, and they may choose to stick around, and perhaps Follow my channel. But if they jump in later, I might be getting tired, or have run short on jokes, maybe my voice is wearing out from talking constantly for hours on end. In that case, they might just as easily drop out and go to another channel, before I even have a chance to notice they arrived.
I’m not saying this is the problem with every channel which is not growing quickly, but it is a an issue worth noting, if only to remind ourselves that this isn’t our fault, and it isn’t in our control.
Here’s the thing: We can’t control when viewers come by our stream. We can only do our best to engage with our viewers, be as entertaining as possible, but only if we are entertaining ourselves, along the way. If we aren’t having fun, the audience will notice, and that could drive them off.
Yes, I know that probably sounds like advice you’d get from one of those slick “Become a Twitch Partner in 30 Days!” videos, but in this case, it is true, and doesn’t involve acting like a Telemarketer or becoming an SEO expert. Be yourself, have fun, and people will enjoy your streams. If they enjoy your streams, they might Follow and/or Subscribe to you. The more people who Follow/Subscribe to you, the more people will return to watch again, and this may draw more people in to watch, and the cycle continues.
But it all starts with just having fun and being yourself. You may not grow quickly, but in due time, you certainly could. The main point is to just keep plugging away, as long as you are enjoying yourself, and to not take it personally. There are millions of people streaming nowadays, and millions more watching them. Just keep being You, and the views will come in time.
TL;DR: Have fun with your streaming, or it isn’t worth it. Furthermore, your channel’s growth (or lack thereof) is not a commentary upon you personally.