Why SMALL STREAMERS HURT Small STREAMERS! (The Sympathy / Subconscious-F4F Economy)
Disclaimer: This piece is not intended for people who consider themselves a hobbyist whom currently enjoys streaming to 3 or less viewers for the foreseeable future. If that's you, great, ignore but enjoy this. Otherwise, continue on...
With something like 9.2 million Twitch streams monthly, 500 hours of video uploaded every minute on YouTube & over 500 million tweets per day, it's fair to say that if you're a starting, small or struggling broadcaster, you need all the help you can get.
And this is why it's SO important to understand why SMALL STREAMERS & broadcasters alike, can, and often do, HURT the SMALL STREAMERS & broadcasters they're actually trying to help!
But what are these behaviours that YouTubers, Twitchers, Tweeters & Content Creators do, that actually hurts the person they're actually trying to help.
Well, I've compiled a list of 5 common behaviours I believe and have experienced throughout my 3 years+ as discouraging and unhelpful actions that we may all have been guilty of at some point in trying to help show support to our social media bedren; who know our pain, when you're the unknown or struggling, in this, what I like to call: "care about the things I care about caring about" space, let's go through each:
1. Liking YouTubes videos that you have no interest or intention of watching a reasonable percentage of it. This is especially true if you do so with no basic understanding of how algorithm(s) like YouTube work when trying to 'help' fellow broadcasters. You're better off leaving the video well alone if you aren't interested in watching it, or giving genuine feedback on WHY you didn't watch 60% after actually trying. Platforms like YT are focused trying to figure out legitimate engagement so that they can give quality videos to similar viewers looking for the same thing. If you avoid doing this, a broadcaster can actually have a chance at learning, improving & growing.
2. Jumping in streams you have no intention or time to watch long enough to be counted as an average viewer, which is key engagement signal (aside from monetary of course) on live platforms such as Twitch. It's best to stick with the broadcasts you 'actually' want to watch, interact or lurk in regularly, in this way the streamer knows 'exactly' where they stand as far as progress, discoverability potential and viewer interest. And thus, whether what they're doing actually has a chance of growing into a community.
3. Liking content on Twitter, insta etc that you have no idea, interest or intention of engaging with. Again, although a 'kind' gesture, it's a gesture that sends very passive false engagement signals & impressions to the things you're attempting to share or say. Imagine if there were no likes on those 'copy-paste I'm going live tweets playing a such and such game' tweets! The broadcaster might actually stop, be creative with their copy or even try something at risk receiving actual engagement! This behaviour of trying something new, rather than the typically false-'like' engagement you tend to get when using a say the #SmallStreamers hashtag, will actually have a positive affect on all other areas of your social media as you'll start to think about quality, storytelling and new methodologies.
4. Following content based on it being at the bottom of a directory (sympathy following) or in the hope of getting a follow or shoutout back. Again, this sends false signals, messes up analytics and the broadcasters ability to read the data. It slows the 'sinking in' reality of a streamer's true predicament that their current strategy isn't working. Honesty is best, the sooner people know what their doing isn't playing out, the sooner they can change course or focus on strategies, platforms and plays that might. Or even focus on something else entirely like education, new skills or improving old ones. False or force following stuff you're not interested 'in' therefore only likely hurts the streamer. It also hurts your own ability to raid, host or highlight the people and communities that you 'actually' watch and believe in.
5. False words of encouragement and motivation rather than true actions and critical feedback. Again, this is really well intentioned, but incredibly unhelpful. There's not point in saying things like "just gotta show support to small streamers" if you really don't have the time, ability & genuine intention to show that support consistently over time in a way that actually aid's that broadcasters growth. That means different things on different platforms, but at its core, it comes down to literal engagement (illegal methods aside). Consistently 60% or more watch time of a YouTube video or Twitch stream with real lurks, reactions and / or feedback! Actually answering that Tweet that was obviously a question and you potentially just thoughtlessly liked only. Liking a video and leaving a comment because you actually watched it (imagine that). Doing the things in a real way just as you'd want if it were your own content and stream.
At the end of the day, it's impossible to support everybody just for trying or because of their size. And the results & value of your support will only be effective and appreciated if it's consistent and feels genuine (imagine actually WANTING to be there).
Also the more people you try to do it the false way for, the less effective you'll be at helping anyone, as you can only watch, engage and support so many people in social media in a way that platforms care about that would result in increased exposure. If you stick to what you actually regularly like, it will be easier to support those things in an natural and effective way, and create some kind of of equilibrium in both the methods people are using and the amount of people trying to use them. Millions of good people banging in nails with a screwdriver.
But what do you think? Am I right? Does this hit home or trigger much anger in you? Or will you start to purge your false follows and begin becoming a better supporter of the things you enjoy? Share your thoughts or forever hold your engagement...