One year ago today, March 1, 2014, I decided to finally give in to the bug and get into this live streaming thing with a broadcast of Pokemon White. It was just me and a few friends from an IRC channel I frequented called “Avian Alliance.” We just chatted away and we had a good time. No mic, no face cam, just some hastily put together scenes to hold the broadcast together.
I knew what Twitch was, certainly. I had followed one or two live streams for a few years prior, thanks to a few live streamers that had crossed over from Channel Awesome, a review site I used to be a regular of. (Think “The Creatures,” but movie/tv/music/video game reviews instead of Minecraft videos.). And it always looked like fun. But two things have always stopped me, one being my own depresssion and two, I’d already tried an internet media career once and failed: I was a sports blogger for 2 years and had to give that up because I couldn’t make ends meet living off ad revenues, and I didn’t get the breaks that some of the other people I knew were getting.
But I couldn’t shake the bug. I’ve always been a video gamer in addition to being a sports fan, and I’ve always wanted to share my love of video games with others.
And in January of that year, I had decided to branch out from the regular streams I’d watched and see what else was out there. I checked the Twitch homepage and found this pink-haired gamer who called herself “ZombiUnicorn”, and after taking a glance askew at the name, I clicked through to her channel, watched the game she was playing, made a few funny comments, got to know a few folks in her chat, and had a grand old time. Unfortunately I’d caught the tail end of her broadcast and she decided to “raid” (something I’d never heard of before, but I went along with it) named another streamer SuushiSam, again making a few funny comments, getting to know people in chat. Through a SuushiSam raid I found lolrenaynay, through Renaynay I found IAmSp00n and GassyMexican, through Sp00n I found Scarletr0se, and so on and so forth until I’ve met all the community members, mods, streamers and Twitch personnel I know now (At last count, I follow about 400 people on Twitch alone, of which about 30 are streaming at any given time). Through all that exposure to the wider community, it scratched the itch to get my own stream going.
And so I did, March 1, 2014, I officially threw my hat into the ring and became a Twitch streamer.
It’s not been an easy first year to say the least. I’ve changed my schedule more times than I can count. I’ve missed a number of streams because of illness, allergy or migraines. I even had a repetitive motion shoulder injury that cost me a week of streams. I’ve had to cut ties with a person I looked up to because he was in the Gamergate camp and he’s proceeded to commit career suicide in every way possible. I’ve had another person whom I looked up to block me because of reasons I still don’t fully understand. And I’ve had my heart broken.
Still, in spite of it all, I’ve been able to claw and scratch my way to a small community of followers and regular viewers. I started this out with no YouTube base, no E-Sports credentials, and no real expectations of getting an audience without either of those. Basically I was starting from scratch. That I have the amount followers I have and the regular viewers I have is a modest accomplishment, and I am thankful for those of you who have followed me on Twitch, and those who have viewed my streams.
But I think the thing I’ve gained the most from my first year is all the incredible people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made. To each and every one of you, thank you for making my first year of streaming the best year of my life.