Twitch Streaming via Creative Categories and the Twitch Mobile App
Perhaps your love of streaming is better expressed in an approach to Twitch streaming that doesn’t include video games. Photography, cross-stitching, sculpting, art, live recordings — all of these options await for you to take advantage of and act upon in new and creative directories that are completely detached from gaming consoles.
Something you should notice about these non-gaming streams: These streamers are not using consoles. While streaming is possible through both PlayStation and Xbox, the streaming capabilities have limited settings. Your inset video is the most simple and basic of set-up’s. To free yourself of the console is going to require you to make an upgrade to a PC. Which solution best suits you and your budget rests in how deep you want to travel down that rabbit hole.
Twitch streaming in the real world
In September 2018, Twitch announced on their blog that the popular IRL and Creative categories were being reorganized as they were considered difficult to navigate. As of writing this title, the non-video game directories Twitch offers are the following:
- Beauty & Body Art
- Food & Drink
- Just Chatting
- Makers & Crafting
- Music & Performing Arts
- Science & Technology
- Sports & Fitness
- Special Events
- Tabletop RPG
- Talk Shows & Podcasts
- Travel & Outdoors
With the release of the Twitch app (pictured here), streaming no longer has to happen from a console or a PC, and when it comes to a broad spectrum of topics, IRL and Creative once covered a lot of ground. Now, if you have something on your mind or something to share, you have multiple directories offering you and your stream a home. From relationship advice to visits at popular tourist attractions to streams on mental health, these directories offer Twitch audiences all kinds of content. Many of these stream hosts are not — repeat, not — experts in a particular field, but they are speaking from the heart. The final decision as to the worth of their words rests with you, and it may take a few streams for you to decide if the host is connecting with you.
There is a lot of pressure to deliver if your stream becomes a stream dedicated to financial investments, legal advice, make-up tips, or relationships. Before giving a stream like this a go, ask yourself:
- What am I passionate about? Are you yourself struggling with diagnosed depression? Have you picked yourself up from a financial pit, and feel like you have a good way to approach money, spending, and budget management? Do you consider yourself good with job interviews? What about do-it-yourself projects around the house? There is probably a topic you are passionate about, whether it’s hobby-related or setting a course for yourself professionally. Focus on that.
- What resources can I offer people? So you want to do a stream on home improvement? Awesome. The project you’ve got set up as your first stream: swapping out a sink from a powder room. Okay, great. During the stream, though, someone in Chat asks a question about plumbing and how to clear out a particularly clogged U-bend. This is when you should have on hand online resources that might reach beyond your know-how. If the topic is on mental health, streamers will say, “The first thing you do is talk to a doctor. Talk to a certified mental health physician.” When questions go into a legal matter, the streamer will say, “I am not a lawyer, but you should talk to a lawyer specializing in… .” Have a go-to list of resources — not other streamers, but legitimate resources — that you trust and in turn your Community can trust.
- What are my credentials? In another idea, you decide to cover collectibles: baseball cards, autographs, movie tie-in toys; historical documents. Whatever the fandom, this is what you are going to talk about. What is it in your background that gives you a expertise in this subject? Have you been collecting autographs for a decade? Two decades? Are you knowledgeable on how to spot a fake? Do you know how to identify solid authentication for collectibles? Here, you are putting yourself forward as an expert, and it’s up to you to back up the talk with some serious walk.
- How many cameras do I need? This is dependent on exactly what kind of Creative stream you are intending to do and how much coverage you think you will need. Some Creative stream employ two (or more) cameras, with the Twitch Channel divided into multiple panes where each window is a different look at the same project. The advantage of streams like this is maximum coverage. In the case of artist Dawn McTigue, she has one camera on her while her main camera is a top-angle view of the work-in-progress. Of course, your stream machine will need to have enough ports available to support multiple cameras, a situation that a USB Hub can remedy.
Before going live with multiple cameras, test your connections and assure that everything is working properly. It is not out-of-the-ordinary for software and drivers to conflict with one another.
- How strong is my Internet connection? What if you decide to take your love of travel to the next level with a Just Chatting stream? This is pretty ambitious as you’re taking your feed on the go with the Twitch mobile app, shown in Figure 5-4. The mobile app turns your phone into a hand-held stream machine and allows you to stream free of your studio. Exciting as this may sound, streaming from the Twitch app is reliant on the strength of your Internet connection. A bar or two of signal is not going to yield the best quality video or audio, and if you are on Wi-Fi instead of cellular data, your signal will be tested by the amount of users on the stream and the quality of the router you’re working on. The option is available, but do know the quality of your stream may be affected.
Your stream becomes something of an open workshop for you and your work. Acknowledge Chat whenever you can.
Share your creative pursuits via Twitch streaming
Before taking your creative pursuits to one of Twitch’s creative directories, you need to remember that your stream in inviting others to be a part of your creative process. People visiting your stream will want to help, and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s when the people in Chat believe they know more than you do — regardless if they do or not — or try to make the work-in-progress their own, constantly questioning what you do. As I have said again and again, this is your stream. If some visitors to your Chat cannot respect your experience, then it may be time to issue a warning or two. Respect should be earned, but there is a level of etiquette that should be followed. Set that limit, welcome feedback, but remain in control of your Channel.
Works-in-progress are exactly that: works-in-progress. Some days, the ideas will come easily. Other days, it may be a struggle. Inviting and interacting with an audience can add to that stress of the creative process. Be ready to contend with that.
Twitch’s creative directories host a lot of different personalities, including cosplayers, crafters, musicians, and coders. This is the corner of Twitch where if you want to teach people Photoshop by doing, where you want to tease your next costuming wonder, or where you want to showcase your favorite computer language. Take a look at these new directories, and see if you find a better fit for you and your streaming interests.