In our digital new age of visual media, new platforms are rising in popularity quickly. In conjunction with the quarantining due to COVID-19, more people than ever are creating content. Whether it’s posting aesthetic feeds on Instagram, rapping catchy tunes on Sound Cloud, or uploading videos to the infamous video site, YouTube, it seems there are plenty of platforms for creators to get their creative juices flowing. I’d argue that as more platforms grow in popularity, the genuine connection from creator to consumer grows wider apart. However, a not-so-new video streaming platform has captured the attention of millions all over the globe.
Twitch. A bright purple logo with even brighter contributors. Twitch is a platform that allows creators to live stream, streaming for short. No edits. No filters. Real-time. From gaming to DJing or even “Just Chatting,” there’s something for you to watch. Viewers tune in to chat and can even donate. The more time I spent on it, the more I understand the appeal to start watching or creating content on the site.
But it’s not only for fun and games. Twitch offers 2 programs for streamers to earn money on their platform: Affiliate and Partner. Both of these programs allow streamers to get donations, bits, and subscriptions directly from their viewers. These programs have allowed thousands to make Twitch their full-time job. It’s impressive. Here is a website to learn the difference between Affiliate and Partner!
Undoubtedly, gaming is the largest category. Gaming as an online entertainment tends to go cycle in and out of popularity. But never underestimate its power to captivate an audience. With the ability to view a live gaming feed, I don’t see this trend slowing down any time soon.
One of my close friends recently dove into this world of online video game streaming. Being a woman in this mainly male-dominated platform and category, I had some questions to ask about the dynamic of the same one. My biggest question to uncover is whether Twitch itself is misogynistic or disproportionally benefiting men more than women. I had the opportunity to interview her and gather her thoughts.
What is Twitch? What is streaming?
Twitch is an online video streaming software. Streaming is essentially a live recording. Think like a YouTube video but in real-time and with no edits.
What kind of content do you stream?
Mostly gaming content.
How long have you been streaming?
About a month or so.
What got you to start streaming?
Other content creators! I found their content really entertaining, and it inspired me to make my own.
Tell me about the dynamic of women on this platform. Is there good representation?
Hm, that’s a difficult one. I would say yes and no. Obviously, gaming is a very male-dominated industry, so there are obviously more content creators who are men, but I would say there definitely is a market for women that’s been expanding a lot these past few years. Many of the current popular streamers are women, and many still are climbing the ranks!
Have you met/befriended other women on the platform? If yes, how would you describe your relationship? Strictly business or a blossoming friendship?
I have! It does take a bit of initiative to reach out, but you do begin to build your own community with other content creators. It’s a weird mix of both, to be honest, though often we will hang out off-stream, we do have set dates planned to make content together. Twitch is a little funny like that. It feels a lot more fluid than a business. And it provides opportunities for streamers to interact and make bonds outside of creating content.
Do you believe Twitch is doing a good job in equally representing/promoting women and men on the platform?
I definitely think it is doing a better job than most platforms. Obviously, in a market defined by men where most of the audience stems from one gender, it’s going to be disproportionally biased to that one gender. But I do think Twitch gives an equal opportunity to both -men and women- to create content and exist within the platform.
Have you had any negative experiences thus far on the platform?
So far, no!
Why do you think Twitch is becoming so popular?
I think it can be attributed to a lot of things, really. It’s a simpler format, content creators are entertaining, it’s easily accessible. And it is [relaxed] in certain areas where other platforms are very strict. Take YouTube, for example. Many of the regulations within YouTube in recent years have ended up hurting content creators extremely, so many of them have migrated over to Twitch for a better way to promote content. Also, Twitch is a lot more personal than YouTube, a lot rawer. You can edit out anything you don’t want to be in a YouTube video, but Twitch is live, and you don’t get that opportunity. Thus fans of streamers often feel a lot more connected as Twitch streamers interact with fans in real-time.
So when you watch other content creators on Twitch, there’s a sort of connection because of the “real-time response,” not necessarily with what they are doing?
Well, no, that too, but the real-time viewership is an added bonus. It makes things easier for fans to interact, so they feel as if they’re more involved in the content itself.
Do you see yourself staying on the platform in the long-term because of these observations and experiences?
Yes, for sure!
Would you recommend other women to start streaming on Twitch if they wanted to, or would you recommend another platform? Why or why not?
Yes! It’s a great and flexible platform that has a great community!
With this firsthand account, Twitch doesn’t seem to have representation issues. Discrimination against women or minorities in gaming has been a decade-long issue. Men complain that there are not enough women contributing to the gaming community yet are the source of sexist comments and irrational malice towards a woman playing any game. I wish we lived in a vacuum where women could not be shamed for absolutely everything! Luckily, Twitch shows to be a platform paving the way for better representation of women in gaming. Some of the most popular creators on the platform are women! There are thousands of women on this platform to watch and support, and I certainly hope you take the time to go check some out! Here is a great list of popular women on Twitch to watch!
So what are you waiting for? Even if you don’t want to jump into the trend of live-streaming, joining Twitch is easy and can prove to be a great way to find or build a community online. And if you do decide to start streaming, don’t forget to always be true to yourself. And contact me so I can give you some support!
Thanks for reading, and never forget that you’re loved, beautiful, and worthy.