During the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of people were forced to find new hobbies from inside their homes. Many of these individuals now had the opportunity to participate in the online phenomenon known as Twitch.
Twitch.tv is a website dedicated to showcasing live streams of people playing video games, showcasing artwork, playing live music and so on. The website is most popular for gaming channels and has spawned many popular creators like Ninja and Pokimane, who are well-known figures due to their platforms on Twitch.
A sudden increase in users on Twitch began to happen once people were forced to stay indoors.
Dash Minick II, 17, is a student at Vancouver iTech Preparatory school, who decided to start his Twitch channel in the summer of 2020. “I was kind of bored,” he said. “It was a few months into the pandemic, and I wasn’t really doing anything.”
His mom told him he had always been an extrovert, Minick II said. “I started looking for things that I could do at home that could lead to connecting with more people,” he said. “Twitch was that outlet and something I wanted to do since I was a kid.”
Being a new streamer, you must dedicate your time to streaming more often than one might think. “Every minute that you are not streaming, there is zero chance of people finding your channel,” said Minick II. “I streamed 26 days out of a 30-day month for the first month of streaming, which led me to gain a following going from zero to 104 [followers] within that first month or so.”
Nic Sloan, 19, is a current student at Clark College working on his transfer degree in mechanical engineering. He recently began streaming at the beginning of February. After talking with his girlfriend about it a lot and already being tech-savvy, he decided to take the leap.
“I did not think I would have people who would consistently want to watch us,” said Sloan. “There are people who have joined discords we made, and they are there for almost every stream.”
Discord is an app on your phone and computer where people can connect through different channels through voice and text. Many streamers create their own discord servers for their communities to come to hang out and know when the streamer plans on streaming next.
Alex Tippetts, 26, started streaming in Sept. 2020. A little over a month into streaming, Tippets became an affiliate on Twitch. Being an affiliate allows the streamer to make a profit from their streams through followers paying for a subscription to the channel and along with various other forms of support from viewers.
According to Tippetts, he had been contemplating streaming for a while before finally deciding to start it up. He sat with his decision for a month and was worried he did not have the proper hardware to do it, but with the lack of social interaction caused by the pandemic, he decided to go for it.
Tippetts gained up to 231 followers in six months on his channel. “The whole reason I’m doing this is to try and bring joy to the world and just have that safe space for people,” he said. “It would be really hard to give it up if I ever had to do that.”