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  1. A Twitch Community Worth the Hype

    Hey everyone! Been a while, but I’m back, LauraK483. I’m sorry I haven’t written anything in AGES but I just haven’t really been super excited (or angry enough) about much in the gaming world lately. Or the things I HAVE been excited about you can find info on EVERYWHERE (e.g. E3 recaps and coverage) and I didn’t think I had anything unique to add to the conversation. BUT TODAY I have something I am super hyped to share with you. Some friends and I have been building an awesome Twitch community, and we want you in it!

    I have no idea how many months ago, but a while ago I was approached by a streamer I adore by the name of RockitSage asking me if she could talk to me about a community she was building with some other broadcasters. It all began as an experimental discord server called ‘The Couch.’ Originally it was a server for viewers of ProfaneArtillery, it developed into a community server after DaftBrit and Somniloquay redirected their viewers there instead of to individual discords. From that point on, The Couch has been a place where openly promoting and encouraging other channels is a core element of the community. We’ve built a community that we’re proud and protective of, while growing viewership levels on each channel. We want to share our community with you, and we want to expose our community to your content.

    LevelSelect is a communal discord server that merges multiple like-minded communities and creators, with the intention of building a viewer base together rather than individually. There are a huge number of content creators who produce exceptional content that goes unnoticed. The LevelSelect server is all about giving amazing streamers the visibility they deserve by promoting them through our own channels. Anyone is free to drop a link and share content; if you like it, you can give it a follow. We are building a community around sharing great content and supporting those who create it. LevelSelect is not a follow-for-follow agreement, nor is it a get big quick scheme. We are not phishing viewers. We are dedicated to our community, and to the streamers who consistently entertain us with quality content. We are here to share what we and others have built, and we actively participate in those streams that we support. Some of the things that we are currently working on:

    ● A website which showcases featured content using the discord and twitch api which will update content based on discord interactions autonomously. It is currently in development but I have seen it so far and IT LOOKS SO GOOD!!! It will be ready to go in the next few days.

    ● A group twitter account to retweet and like member tweets to help raise visibility

    ● A steam group to help promote streams and engage with the steam community (desktop go live notifications)

    ● Monthly clip highlight videos. If you want to see examples of our main video editor (DaftBrit’s) PHENOMENAL work, check out this video we JUST released to announce the public opening of our Discord server: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99ICLwgW3qY&t=3s

    This is a proposed merger of communities, not a merger of Discord servers. Whilst the viewers should be directed to the new LevelSelect discord primarily, preservation of personal servers is encouraged so as not to alienate your existing viewer base. We currently have a Level Select community that anyone can stream under on Twitch as well to help get the word out and so we can find other members to host/raid/watch. Now I KNOW what you’re thinking. Every twitch team/community out there and their grandma preaches ‘teamwork’ and is about cross promotion and helping each other grow, so how is this different? Well most teams out there talk the talk, but to be honest they don’t WALK THE WALK. Most teams that claim to be about growing a communal viewer base together actually are designed to help the creators and those at the top with the most seniority grow since everyone flocks to them and as the team grows it’s obvious they are the most established. There is no one at the top of Level Select and we are all around the same current viewership/channel size. So we are fairly certain we can avoid that common stream team trap of ‘only a few truly benefit.’ We also genuinely feel joy when we see members of ur own communities watching the other streamers and hanging out with each other. For example, I know for a fact that one of the other founders stream schedule overlaps very heavily with mine, so we have viewers that split their time between us. So many streamers are possessive of their viewers and would secretly wish this wasn’t the case, or feel like others are ‘stealing their viewers’ from them. I mean how often do we see BS twitter threads about the latest “insert streamer type here stealing views” and other nonsense of the like. No one in Level Select shares that mentality, it’s very much a “we succeed by helping others succeed.” We also plan to be super involved with each other’s streams and do regular multi streams and community nights. Not going to lie, some of the most fun streams I have had in the past few months where I have laughed and smiled the most have been with these amazing people I have come to know through LS. And our website and videos alone in my opinion also make this community stand out amongst many others I have been a part of. I can’t WAIT to see the monthly clip reels showcasing various streamers from the community and seeing what shenanigans we all get up to.

    So if you want to join a community that has tons of fun together, wants to grow a communal viewer base, has super fancy videos, and actually has room for everyone, then consider joining our Discord and getting to know one another. The Discord invite is in in the description of that Youtube video I linked above! Looking forward to seeing some of you there!

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  2. Twitch enters the Public Eye & Logan Paul

    Hello readers! LauraK483 here, hope you’re all doing well! I have been INSANELY BUSY in 2018 so far, as you might have guessed from the lack of regular blog posts. But I’d have to be living under a rock not to notice some of the MAJOR publicity Twitch has been getting lately. From the Overwatch League’s premier season to the new face of Twitch getting news coverage on CNN and co-streaming with celebs like Drake, our beloved platform for gaming and streaming is catching the eyes of the world and as a streamer on the platform I couldn’t be more thrilled.

    Before we get to the main story (or should I say streamer) that has blown up around Twitch, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another big development for the platform this year. Partially because it is almost unprecedented in esports, but also because I am hopelessly addicted to it and this event now consumes a significant amount of my free time. I am talking about the Overwatch League, brought to us by Blizzard. The game is roughly a year and a half old, I have been playing since day 1 and absolutely immersed in the lore and characters alongside the fun and adrenaline pumping gameplay. Blizzard had been talking about forming an esports league for this game for months and the launch was nothing short of a huge success. Over 400,000 viewers on Twitch on it’s first day of competition, and it seems to consistently have approximately 120,000 viewers all 4 days of the week that it airs. Now obviously this is big for Blizzard, and esports in general since the production value for this event is huge and an entire new arena was made to house it.Twitch though has also done insanely well thanks to this league, because they have the exclusive rights to stream it, bringing a ton of traffic to the site Wednesday through Saturday weekly. Through some initiatives they have now announced in Stage 2, they are also making money hand over fist I’m sure. Now you can buy bits to “cheer” for your favourite OWL team and unlock exclusive Overwatch emotes to use in chats all over the site. These emotes include characters from the game as well as icons from the OWL teams themselves. Combine this with in-game currency being dropped to viewers for watching and supporting the league, there are now a TON of people spending extra hours on the platform as well as spending their hard-earned money on Twitch bitties. The OWL itself is also helping elevate the realm of esports in general, bringing this level of competitive gaming more out into the open. One of my favourite examples is my personal ‘ride or die’ team I cheer for, the LA Valiant, having their official jerseys being sold in the Staples Centre in LA alongside merch from major NBA, NHL, and MLB teams like the Lakers, Kings, and more!

    That being said, we all know the biggest news story around Twitch lately and it has nothing to do with Blizzard or their awesome games. One streamer has taken the Fortnite scene BY STORM and is breaking records on the site all over the place, from highest concurrent viewers in a stream (over 600,000 on his stream with Drake) to insane sub counts. Tyler Blevins, aka “Ninja,” has been receiving major news coverage for his streams lately, on channels/sites like CNN and CNBC. Also it’s not often you hear of Twitch streamers gaming with real life celebrities like musicians and athletes on their channels (although I use the term musician lightly when describing Drake. But that’s a WHOLE OTHER opinion I’m not here to talk about). The only downside most of the time is they are focusing on his pay check. Now don’t get me wrong it’s impressive AS FUCK! What gets me excited about seeing him talk about our site on the news is that he has now become the new “face of Twitch” so to speak. Now obviously depending on who you ask, they will have a different answer, but going off of last year’s various gaming awards and most major social media platforms, that title used to belong to a much more inflammatory streamer you might have heard of. Most likely you read that and correctly thought “Dr DisRespect.” The man who can have a major scandal, take a vacation, and come back stronger than ever making light of the whole situation and continuing his (often inappropriate in my personal opinion) abrasive persona and jokes. Unlike lots of other big streamers on our platform, who can let the fame and viewership go to their heads and become somewhat self-centred among other things, Ninja is such a positive role model for the vast groups of younger users that are on Twitch. Alongside quality gameplay, he is just a genuinely nice guy who donates much of his large income to charity, takes breaks from his gaming on stream to give his viewers time to do their homework and encourage them to stay in school, and above all REMAINS HUMBLE! This is the kind of person I want the media to think of when they think of Twitch. Not arrogant loudmouths like the doc, not basement dwelling socially stunted nerds chained to their computers, and not teenagers who haven’t matured into full adults yet and therefore are still allowed to enjoy video games in a greater social context. If anyone wants to know what it means to be a digital role model, look to Ninja, he’s doing a great job. No pressure though ;)

    If you want to see THE EXACT OPPOSITE of what it means to be a digital role model, then look no further than Logan Paul. This Youtube and online content creator has been making worldwide news since literally DAYS into 2018, and not for good reason. I won’t go into his heinous, despicable, and indefensible behaviour in this blog post. If you haven’t already heard the gist of it then you may also be living under a rock. You may be wondering why the hell I’m talking about Logan Paul in a blog focused on Twitch. Well, if you weren’t already aware, I’m so sorry to be the one to tell you, but he has made a Twitch account and is planning on streaming to it soon. After he made this announcement, and his account saw over 100,000 follows before he has even gone live (currently sitting at 297,747 while I write this) the Twitchverse seemed to have one of two reactions. The first one (and the reaction I had and still mostly feel) was GET THIS PIECE OF HUMAN TRASH OFF OF MY PLATFORM! With the introduction of the new TOS to Twitch this month, and the bigger push than ever to fight toxicity within online gaming and online interactions in general, many of us are really optimistic for the future of Twitch. Unlike Youtube, it’s still new enough that it still feels like the staff care about streamers of all sizes and just a more policed platform that hasn’t gotten too out of control yet when compared to a platform with the breadth and scope of Youtube. And as much as I was hating on streamers like Dr DisRespect in the last paragraph, they are still nowhere near as outright disgusting and immoral and repugnant as creators like Logan Paul, who feel untouchable due to their size and status on their platform and behave however they want with no thought to others or their young audience. If Logan Paul stays on Twitch and joins the ranks of streamers without any SIGNIFICANT EFFORTS to clean up his act and be even slightly less of a trash human, I will personally feel a little bit dirtier knowing I share something in common with creators like him, as extreme as that is. Especially since he’s doing it as a money grab for a few thousand easy Twitch prime subs and people needing to throw money at him just to be noticed. He hasn’t even gone live yet, and the day he made his account his chat was FILLED with the worst kind of toxic garbage including hate speech and spam of all kinds. Is that really what you want on your site Twitch?

    Now the other reaction to this news was to look on the positive side, and many people pointed out how many potential new viewers this would bring to Twitch. It is also more than likely that those people who come to Twitch due to creators like Logan will also spend their time and maybe money on other streamer’s channels as well. Kind of fits in with the ‘no press is bad press’ mentality. Looking at it from purely a numbers standpoint, I completely see the merit in this point of view and where you guys are coming from. Especially as an aspiring Affiliate on Twitch with hopes of seeing my channel grow to one worthy of partnership in the coming years, it’s always great to have more people coming to the site and discovering the joys of Twitch. However, I personally would be disgusted to find one of the Logang sycophant trolls in my chat who think actions like his are acceptable, and judging by the behaviour in his Twitch chat WHEN HE HASN’T EVEN STREAMED YET, those aren’t the people I want on Twitch.

    At the end of the day, Twitch is growing exponentially, and I’m super happy and optimistic for the future of our platform as it enters the public eye and becomes more mainstream. However, I want creators like Ninja to be the ones to usher us into that future, and for the amazing creators and communities I interact with every day to be the meat of Twitch, alongside high level esports and talented musicians/artists/chefs/etc (thank you Creative and IRL tabs). I want creeps like Logan Paul to stay the hell away from our platform. You can keep your viewers, we don’t want them here.


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  3. Hashtag Hatred

    Hashtag Hatred! Hey readers! Welcome to the first blog post of 2018! Now I’ve had the idea for this blog for AGES.... I’ve just had this terrible combo of being very busy yet very lazy simultaneously and I apologize YET AGAIN for the lack of blogs. One of these days I’ll get that consistency thing down. But…(in the voice of Aragorn)…today is not that day!

    So, today I wanted to write about something I GUARANTEE you have seen or come into contact with if you are either a streamer yourself or you follow any streamers on Twitter. Twitter is the main tool tons of streamers use to communicate with their audience when they are off-line, and how they announce when they are going live. Now anyone who has been on social media for more than a few days knows that you need to use hash-tags to make your post easier to find (and just not look like a noob).

    Some good ideas for hashtags to use are hashtags that belong to any stream teams or groups you are a part of, maybe the game you’re playing, or any personal hashtags (I for example have my channel theme as a hashtag that I use all the time because I’m vain like that). HOWEVER there are a few popular hashtags for streamers on Twitter that personally irritate me to the point that if I see them on your tweet I can assure you I would not click on the link to your channel. I also know that I am not alone in my feelings, I have been seeing lots of streamers sharing similar sentiments, from small streamers to partners alike. So here are some hashtags you may want to re-think next time you’re tempted to use them, and why.

    1. #SupportSmallStreamers

    Before you get mad and ready to defend this hashtag in the comments, I understand the sentiment behind it. In my first year of streaming I also was guilty of using this hashtag, I’m not going to lie. However, if you stop to think about it, what are you actually saying with that hashtag? Reasons to support a streamer are you enjoy their content, they make you laugh or smile or inspire you with their gameplay, you like the vibe of their community, etc. Their size has nothing to do with it. You are not ENTITLED to support just because you are not partnered yet, but that’s basically what you are asking for. It’s the equivalent of begging, implying people should take pity on you and watch your stream just because you’re the little guy regardless of your content.

    The other reason you use hashtags is for people to find your post. You are playing Overwatch, so you use the game title as a hashtag in case any people who enjoy Overwatch streams are looking for someone to watch. Then you just hope that in the chronological lottery your tweet is the most recent one when they are searching. As Twitch gains more and more broadcasters every day and becomes a more saturated market, take a second and think how many streamers are using this hashtag every day. It’s like a 1 in 1000 chance your particular tweet will be picked from the sea of small streamers.

    My other issue with this hashtag stems from a bigger question in general: what determines a small streamer? I for example would like to think I’m still a small streamer because I do not meet the Path to Partner achievements yet. To another streamer however, my 40 average concurrent viewers might seem way big and me using the hashtag would be incredibly irritating. I have seen people with over 100 subs use the hashtag just because they aren’t partnered. So where does the “small streamer” line start and end?
    Regardless, the TLDR for me is I am not going to pity support you just because you are a small streamer. Focus on your content and enjoying yourself, and then I will want to watch your stream. Using this hashtag in the current Twitch environment is quickly becoming more of a hindrance than a help.

    2) #PartnerGrind

    In the gaming world, the term ‘grinding’ is usually applied to levelling up or repetitive quests. When you just have to invest a lot of time into doing the same thing for an inevitable outcome or gain. I take HUGE issue with this term being applied to working towards partnership. Twitch partners are in theory the best streamers on their platform. It is a job title reserved for those who are dedicated and passionate about streaming, but also PART OF THE UPPER ECHELON OF BROADCASTERS. Partnership was never intended for everyone on the site, it is meant to be a semi elite title. ‘Grinding’ for it implies that anyone can achieve partnership just by sinking time into it. THIS IS NOT TRUE! It’s harsh to say, but there are some broadcasters who just are not cut out for partnership. Sometimes it’s just an equipment limitation or a scheduling dilemma, but some people just don’t have that unique selling point or charisma to carry them into that next tier of streamers. Plus, think about it, if everyone could be partnered just through streaming a certain amount of time it would cheapen it. Would you really be as excited seeing that partner e-mail if anyone could get that just by grinding for it?

    What irritates me about it so much is similar to the first hashtag, the entitlement that comes with that attitude. It’s like you’re saying to Twitch that you deserve or expect partnership just by streaming regularly on their site. Again, as the number of streamers continues to increase, partnership will just be harder to obtain. Twitch as a company can also only support a certain number of partners at a time, and now that they can get money through small streams anyway with the affiliate program, it’s not like they are clamouring to make every streamer who has been on the platform a while a partner.

    This entitlement (and borderline arrogance in my opinion) is even more evident when I see people doing things like “I’m going to stream every day until I’m a partner.” WELL I HOPE YOU LIKE STREAMING EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! Partnership is earned through more than just hours live. It’s earned by being unique, hard work, and putting out content that stands out from the thousands of others on the site. From creating a stream and community that offers something to the Twitchverse no one else does and incredible dedication.

    Anyways, I could probably rant for ages about these things, but you get the gist. So if you’re thinking about using either of these two hash tags in your next going live tweet or stream title, maybe think about what that says to a large audience. Just a thought.


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