A few months ago, I made a post about three things I’ve learned streaming on Twitch. I read a lot of streaming tips and spend a lot of time working on my Twitch channel, so I take note when I realize something I never was warned about in all my “recommended reads” (thanks Google algorithms). So here I am, once again, throwing three more things I’ve learned while streaming at you in the hopes the information will help others.
1) Spend as little time in your broadcasting software as possible.
I know me. I am the sort of person who will sit there and fidget with technology for hours if I am not stopped. A combination of perfectionism and excitement to try new things takes over and will eat up over an hour at the risk going overboard. So when it comes to setting up my streaming software, I try to spend as little time in Streamlabs OBS and my chatbot program as possible. Unless there is something specific I am trying to fix, I need to leave my settings alone.
My solution: turn on my streaming software as close to start time as I can. If I know there is an update or I need to setup display for a new game, I’ll give myself some extra time, but usually I’m only starting them up ten minutes before the start time. With five of those minutes being “start screen time” I can’t dally in mucking with settings. Once the stream is over, I turn everything back off as soon as I can. When I do need to make changes, I go in with a list and a time limit so I don’t get carried away. Things don’t need to be perfect, just good enough.
2) Don’t just network; make friends!
The importance of networking has been overstated more times than I can count, but don’t just make business connections. Make friends. I feel incredibly fortunate that some of the people I’ve met in the course of streaming I can now consider friends enough to say “hey, I need one more for an Overwatch team. Want to go a couple rounds?” Or I can reach out and say “hey, I love that new overlay trick you did. Teach me, please!” and they will help me out. A business connection will help when it is of some benefit to both of you. A friend will help just because you ask.
The best ways to meet people? See what the streamers visiting your chat are streaming and visit their streams. Chat with other people on Twitter. See who is looking to make genuine connections and not just get a quid-pro-quo turnabout of some sort. And for goodness sakes, stay away from #supportsmallstreamers type groups.
3) Working where you game isn’t the best plan.
Twitch is a job if you take it seriously, so you need to put in the effort to make it pay off. That being said, sitting at the same computer you game at isn’t always the best way to get serious work done. It’s like how the experts say you shouldn’t use your bed for anything other than sleeping. If your brain considers a space to be primarily for one activity, then doing anything else there will be twice as hard.
To get serious work done, I try to move to a different location than my main desk. The kitchen table, a coffee shop, a library… wherever I will take my work the most seriously. If there is something I must use that computer for, I will do whatever I can to make sure I am in the zone and able to focus. Sometimes I will go so far as to use an alternate user account on my computer to block myself off from computer games. Wherever you work, pay attention to your focus.