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Twitch is More Popular Than Ever and Helping Us Stay at Home.

It’s been a year since our lives changed because of coronavirus. It’s kind of cliché to say that now, but it’s the truth. With the need for social distancing, people were immediately thrust away from interacting with other people to the extent that they were used to. It’s hard to deny the fact that people went stir-crazy for social interaction. Usage of video-calling platforms like Zoom and Discord rose so that people can connect with others. What also arose was the streaming platform of Twitch.

While gaining prominence as a platform for video gamers to stream their gameplay, Twitch is a streaming platform where people can literally stream anything. Some streamers cook, do art, play video games, and more.

What draws people to Twitch, especially now with the reduced amount of social interaction, is the interaction viewers can get with streamers.

Twitch works this way: viewers visit twitch.tv, they find an online streamer, and that’s it. They can search by game, streamer, or they can take what’s showing up on their home page. When they enter the stream, they will be greeted by a scrolling chat box where people talk in real-time. They encounter emojis, unfamiliar phrases unique to the streamer, notifications of bits being donated, and subscriptions. On this platform, streamers get paid for ads played, subscriptions, which are about $6 each, and bits being donated. (A bit is approximately one cent each.) Subscriptions, or subs, allow viewers to watch streams ad-free, chat when the subs-only mode is activated by the moderators, access exclusive emotes, and more.

Watching a streamer on Twitch can be really refreshing, as every stream is unique and interactive. Viewers can chat and build a community, all while hoping that the streamer will notice them typing out something spicy. One streamer that I watch, HasanAbi, a political streamer, frequently reads out comments as he gives political commentary. It gets people excited because they feel like they are connecting with him and others as well.

During this pandemic, people have been starving for entertainment but also for connecting with other humans. Especially with the risk of getting coronavirus, people have opted to look for entertainment at home. Twitch enables both at-home entertainment and interpersonal connection. Numbers show that viewership increased since lockdowns started happening. Twitch is an amazing tool that encourages us to stay safe at home.

When you start to enjoy a streamer, you begin to incorporate their streams as a part of your routine. Feeling a part of a community drives you to help support it, and you do that by watching the streamer. I have friends that make time in their schedule to watch their favorite streamer and incorporate them as a part of their day. It builds a routine into our daily lives, which is something we crave. Honestly, I didn’t realize I liked having Twitch streams in my life until I started watching them nearly every day.

Despite the vaccine rollout, we will probably have to social distance for a couple more months. While pandemic fatigue is real, we can’t let up on being diligent in protecting those around us. Honestly, Twitch and other forms of entertainment -including school work- have really helped me and others fight boredom. I recommend Twitch to others too.

Sophia is a self-proclaimed potato on the TAMU campus. She is a third-year Materials Science and Engineering Ph.D. student that loves being in Her Campus. She loves it so much that she continued being a member into grad school. This is her second year writing with HC TAMU, but wrote for HC UFL from Fall 2017 - Spring 2020 when she was an undergrad at the University of Florida. Sophia loves writing about social justice topics, science, and loves showcasing her dog, Banshee (ig: @BansheeTheBeauty). Follow her on insta, twitter, and snapchat @divasophia97.