I’m an ex-Streamer of Twitch. I may not be streaming anymore but I have a lot of experience with Twitch based on my time as one, and while there are so many guides out there already that tell people how to make it as a good streamer, there are virtually no guides that tell viewers about all the little things that are not always obvious, but help their favourite streamers out massively.
I’m going to run down some of them here in hope that it will help your favourite streamers feel rewarded for what they do, and help them grow, because there’s so much more you can do than just donate to a stream, especially if your favourite streamer is considered small or relatively unknown. Some of these will be obvious, some not so obvious.
This is just a gentle guide, not a set of rules, but I promise you everything you read here will make a huge difference to your favourite streamers.
It’s worth noting that different streamers want different things from their viewers and their chat. You will know your favourite streamer a lot better than I, and not all of this will apply to them. This guide is centred around the kind of streamers who like open, friendly, community based stream atmospheres.
Being There is What Counts
There are many ways viewers help streamers and all of it is valuable, but the bottom line is being there to watch. Being counted among that viewer number raises a streamer’s visibility on Twitch with every single person watching. Put simply: the more people watching, the more people will come in to watch. This is the most effective way to support any streamer.
There Are Different Ways to Watch And all of Them are Valuable
There are many different ways to contribute as a viewer to a stream, each involve different levels of interaction.
Lurkers are silent viewers who quietly watch and never say anything in chat, but they are watching and therefore counted among the stream’s viewers. If you are one of these people, never underestimate your contribution. It matters, and streamers are very grateful.
Reactive viewers are the next step up. These viewers say hi and sometimes say bye, but they are not conversational. You can often see them reacting to what someone else says in chat, or a particular highlight of a stream with one or two lines, but the rest of the time they’re quiet. These kinds of viewers probably make up the majority of a streamer’s chat. if this is you, thanks, you’re awesome.
Chatty viewers are self-explanatory. They start and drive conversation in the stream and are very often a streamer’s favourite kind of viewer for this reason. There are rare occasions when a chatty viewer isn’t always a good thing (more on that later) but most of the time, being chatty is really helpful; do it if you’re that way inclined.
Thanks for the Re-Tweets and the Likes …But
Seriously, thank you, so much, for every re-tweet and like that you ever gave to your favourite streamers. It all makes a difference, but there’s one thing people rarely do that really helps.
Instead of simply re-tweeting someone, it is much more effective to write your own tweet about the stream and post that, and the same goes for Facebook and everything else. The reason this is so effective is that everyone expects a streamer to tweet about their own stream. It’s part of what they do, and they always do it. They even kind of have to do it.
But when viewers start tweeting about a streamer’s content without prompting, that makes people take notice. Do this more often, and if you really want it to stand out, post a screenshot of the stream. Posts with images are a hundred times more effective.
Always Say Hello to Streamers AND Viewers
Say hello, it gives a streamer a chance to welcome you and promote a friendly atmosphere. If someone else comes into a stream and gets a bunch of nice greetings it does two things: It makes them feel welcome and relaxed, and a warm atmosphere makes certain viewers less inclined to be trollish and act more maturely.
It’s also worth noting that streamers don’t see when someone new comes into a stream for anything up to twenty seconds after they came in. By contrast, you see them immediately. It’s a very good thing to say hello. Be the first line of the friendly welcome and you’ll be doing something amazing for the streamer.
Always Ask Questions But Know When Not to Answer Them
Always ask questions if you have them, but if another viewer has a question for the streamer and you know the answer, try to wait and see if the streamer answers first. If a question is directly addressing a streamer and not everyone, then chances are that person is looking to have interaction with the streamer and you should give them a chance to respond before answering. If you answer before them you could have inadvertently taken away your favourite streamers one chance to make a good first impression.
Conversation is Good But Staying on Topic is Better
Some streamers encourage very random discussions in their streams and that is absolutely fine, but in general it’s better for the conversation to stay on the current topic (usually the current game, sometimes not).
Imagine if a new viewer who is a big fan of, say Overwatch, comes into a new Overwatch stream they’ve never seen before. They like the stream so they stay a while, but after a few minutes they realise there are three or four viewers all talking about how much they love Battleborn more than Overwatch.
Most people prefer being in places where everyone is of like mind. Differing opinions are great, but there’s no doubting how much it helps a streamer if the conversation is relevant and positive towards the content they are currently streaming. Steering conversations into places that create volatile discussion can be very harmful to your streamer friend, who is most likely just trying hard to keep the conversation going in the right direction.
Be Subtle With Subject Changes
If a conversation in a stream does go against the topic, or in some cases ends up being toxic, subtle subject changes (such as asking a question about the current game even if you already know the answer) gives the streamer something else to talk about and can steer a bad conversation back on course, helping make a bad situation for a streamer go away.
Don’t Say Bye When You Are Leaving
This is a tough one for any streamer to admit, but there’s no point in discussing these things if we can’t be honest. If you have something important to say when you leave, then by all means say bye, but whenever people say bye in a stream it makes other viewers look at the clock and often starts a chain of leavers.
You might think it’s just you that#s left and your favourite streamer just lost one viewer, but more often that not other viewers will soon drop off immediately after. Many viewers don’t realise this because they’ve already left, but streamers see this pattern all the time.
Honest Encouragement is Always Needed
All streamers need to know that what they do is worth doing. Dropping a message that simply says, “hey, you’re really good!” can be the difference between an okay stream and an amazing one. It can give them the courage to work hard. It can give them more joy in their streams, and that means more entertainment for you.
This may seem obvious, but I’ve seen it too many times not to talk about this. If you’re a streamer too, don’t be telling people that without permission or a green light. It’s just a sleazy thing to do. And telling people you have to leave because you’re about to stream is no different, nor any less sleazy.
Imagine leaving a party and shouting, “HEY GUYS, I HAVE TO GO NOW, I’M STARTING A PARTY NEXT DOOR!” on your way out.
No. Don’t do that.
If a streamer is looking for information on a game, it can be very disruptive to have to load up a browser and google stuff up, being google for them can really help. Go ahead and be amazing.
Start Being More Supportive to Streamers Than You Are to Games
We all love our favourite games, and we all want to watch them, but there will always come a time when a streamer changes the game they play. Your first instinct would be to want them to go back to your game, and you may eventually start watching a different streamer who is playing your favourite game. But if the streamer is the kind of streamer you want to see more of on Twitch, you should watch them whatever they play.
Good streamers are much harder to find than good games. If you stay, you might find yourself enjoying the game more than you thought, and your favourite streamer will get to your favourite games eventually. Leaving a great streamer because they dont play your game anymore doesn’t help the streamer, nor yourself, nor does it help improve the quality of broadcasters on Twitch. It achieves nothing positive. You should try to change this habit.
That’s it, thanks for reading. I hope this has helped you learn how you can make a difference to your favourite streamers. If you’re a streamer and have something you think is worth adding please let me know, but try to remember this is meant to be a helpful guide, noting more or less.