So, you want to be a Streamer?

A somewhat sarcastic look at Twitch

Part One – Check Your Tech

You’ve seen the big guys & gals on Twitch, you’ve seen those subscription, donation and cheer dollars rolling in and thought to yourself “I’m special, I can do this!”

You watch about 3 minutes of a 40 minute “How to stream on Twitch” video on YouTube and now you’re adequately trained to become the next “big thing” on Twitch.

After downloading some streaming software and neglecting to put any thought or imagination into how your overlay, Twitch panels or branding looks, you hit that “GO LIVE” button and waiting for the thousands of viewers and dollars to roll in.

But wait, after 30 minutes you have no viewers? Where are the your loyal fans? where are the hot girls (or guys) just dying to “get with you?” Something must be wrong with Twitch right?

Wrong..

I’m going to let you into a little secret that four years of streaming has taught me. Ready?

In the eyes of Twitch and 98.9% of its viewers: You’re not special and no one likes you.

OK, dry your eyes. It is this way with everyone. I’ll discuss this topic more in part two. For now let’s focus on the 2nd most important part of your stream. Your PC! There is a old saying back when things were recorded via a analog signal. “Garbage in, Garbage out.” What that means to you is this:

  1. If your PC struggles to play games, your stream will suffer.
  2. If your internet speed is low or inconsistent, your stream will suffer.
  3. If your mic/headset or webcam is outdated, your stream will suffer.

Garbage in, Garbage out.

See, what Twitch has in abundance is quantity, based on this it demands quality. No new viewer will stick around, if your stream buffers or runs at low resolution, no matter how great of a person you are. This isn’t because they are a douche, it’s because QUANTITY, Twitch has thousands of streamers now. Every dweeb, geek, hot girl from here to Timbuktu is streaming twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.

One of the best ways to try to engage your viewers is by offering a quality product, now please don’t run out and buy all the best streaming gear, you’ll have a great 1080p stream that no one is watching. Start with what you have and understand your limits. Run a internet speed test, understand your bandwidth and how it relates to your bit rate, test out new stream settings (Google is your friend) and ask for feedback or watch your VODS of test streams. Play games your PC can run well or lower settings, you can expect an addition load on your PC from 5 – 25% from running streaming software. I will discuss this later on, but understand “branding” and create something that reflects you as an individual.

Do your homework, know what you have in the way of “gear” and use it the best way you can. If upgrades are required, do them slowly as you’ll never see your investment returned. When live, monitor your PC for any issues and try to address them as they arise. As you can see I’m purposely not taking specifics here, there are simply to many variables in software and hardware I’m just providing a overview so you can prepare yourself as new streamer. Take your time, you’ll thank yourself for it.

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