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.