5 things you only know if you’re… a professional Twitch streamer
Your identity is a secret
Your real name and address should be your best-kept secret. With internet harassment and doxxing, most streamers will strive their hardest not to accidentally leak their identities. There is a range of harassment streamers can face, from being signed up to newsletters to being stalked. This can be more intense for streamers in America, who can face swatting if their address ends up online. This is when people will call the police and generate an emergency law enforcement response against the victim under false pretences.
It’s an International Community
Your community is everything as a streamer. Without dedicated viewers, you don’t get paid! But the great thing about streaming is you get to have all kinds of people watching and engaging with you in your chat every day. For some people, when I go live to play videogames in the evening, they’re across the other side of the world, having a coffee while watching me because their day has just begun. It can be a really accepting place for people to be, and people within my community have made friends with each other. There’s something really lovely about knowing there’s people rooting for you on the other side of the world.
Social media is a blessing and a curse
I rely on social media every day as my job. Sometimes something that is small and insignificant to me, that I put very little effort into, will get tons of engagement and make a huge difference to my career. And social media is excellent for meeting other people within the streaming world as well. However, on the other side, while other streamers can be friends, they can also be direct competition to you. It can be so draining scrolling social media and seeing all your peers achieving more success than you are, while wanting to be happy for them at the same time.
You work on your own time
While it’s so important to jump on trends and engage as soon as you can, one of the greatest things about being a streamer is choosing your own hours, and how often you want to work. The exception to this sponsorships, which will sometimes require certain hours and days, but they can be are fantastic as well; as a gamer, getting paid to promote and play video games I wanted to buy myself and play anyway is one of the best feelings ever. And sometimes the free stuff I get sent is so cool!
Your mental health comes first
It’s so easy to forget about what’s really important when you’re constantly online and engaging and trying to be creative and come up with content that no one else has thought of. The nature of online gaming communities will often attract lonely people, who might lean on you and your community as a comfort in their lives. Sometimes this is rewarding but can also be draining, as without boundaries you can end up taking on some of the struggles of other people. It’s really important to know when to switch off as well. While it’s important to jump on trends, it can be hard to know when to disengage and turn off your phone, stop scrolling social media, and stay present in the moment. Some streamers never really stop working after they go offline.
Louise has been streaming for five years. She went full-time after finishing university in 2020 and currently works as a streamer for UK esports organisation Endpoint, who are also based in Sheffield. You can find her streaming on Twitch, or on socials @poopernoodle.