Running the Numbers

Twitch isn’t just a platform but a game in itself. The most successful streamers need to have an insane ability to multitask and manage community communication as they play.

Essentially, streamers are playing two games at once, and they each have their own screen. Taylor describes visiting a streamer at his home studio to observe him at work. Beyond the standard video camera and microphone, he used two monitors — one for the game and the other for monitoring the audience, with a chat window and others for keeping tabs on who was subscribing, donating, and following the channel. Skype, running in the background, facilitated back-channel communication with moderators who worked to regulate the chat experience.
Throughout his broadcast, which began at 2 a.m. to try to maximize audiences internationally, this streamer paid attention not just to his gameplay but also the hundreds of spectators participating via chat. Regular viewers needed to be acknowledged with an audible hello, and conversations needed to be monitored to maintain civility. Heartfelt thanks needed to be given for those who subscribed or donated. “Live streamers are not only content producers but brand and community managers too,” Taylor notes.


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