So keeping up with a weekly blog didn't turn out to be so weekly after all. That's okay. You're here now and while I have you I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you. Depending on when you read this, today is my three year anniversary. I know. I'm surprised too. My history has like a 2 year commitment max, but this little Tap experience just turned 3. We're officially in 'setting the bar,' territory and let me tell you that that's equal parts cool and scary. Things have changed since the last time I wrote so I'm gonna do my best to fill you in and thank you for this year. This blog post comes in bulk.
Of all years, season 3 of TheTapStream has been the most humbling. I took the most amount of time off than any previous year. I hit a lot of walls mentally and even questioned whether or not I wanted to keep at this or hang it up. (Told you it was a 2 year max level of commitment for me.) In many ways I felt that I regressed as an entertainer. I kept wrestling with this question, 'How do I know the difference between quitting and knowing when to move on from something that's not working?" That question haunted me on so many sleepless nights this year. We've covered imposter syndrome in previous blogs so I won't go down that road again, but you get the idea of where I've been at my lows this year. So yeah, consider this guy humbled. Luckily, all stories need their protagonists to be humbled otherwise Woody never sets aside his differences to become friends with Buzz. Marlin never learns to trust Dory even when he's afraid of letting go. Peter Parker never learns that his strength is more than the gadgets in his suit.
Spoilers for those movies by the way. The main takeaway is that I know I'll look back on this year as a turning point for me. I really had to dig in and reflect on who I am as a streamer and what my ultimate goal is. I want to be a content creator. I want this to be my job. Plain and simple. When I say humbled it's more than just taking gut punches, it's also about recognizing the time scale that I'm working with. I've spent the last three years learning how to be a great streamer. I've only spent one of those years really pushing to make sure that content is being put in front of eyeballs. I've only spent a fraction of that time learning external skills such as video editing, photoshopping, and social media management to accompany what I'm making. I haven't even begun to tackle the business strategies that I've internally referred to as 'we'll cross that bridge when we get there.' Yeah. I've got a lot to learn. 3 years is a long time, but in the grand scheme of things I'm just getting started. Even more so now that I've made the move to Mixer. Oh yeah. That's one of the 'things have changed,' tidbits from the first paragraph.
Moving to Mixer was the hardest thing I've done this year. Streaming and Twitch were synonymous to me when I got started. When I envisioned what success meant, it meant becoming a Twitch partner and rising through the ranks on Twitch. It was all I knew given how limited my scope of success was. Listening to established full time streamers put me on a different path. Specifically, ProfessorBroman was the one who shouted from the rooftops that anyone seeking full time status should be seriously starting on Mixer, citing "Mixer is where Twitch was when they got started." Making the move to Mixer would have been easier if it all it meant was redefining my idea of success. What made it so hard to move was that this project isn't just me anymore. We're a community. You reading this. We're apart of this weird thing called TheTapStream. Making that decision meant seriously disrupting the ecosystem we created together. Whenever I describe what streaming means to me I'm quick to mention that it's an honor that you, the community members, have allowed me to become a daily routine in your life. That's what this means to me and asking you to change that was, is, and always will be more than I should and could ask of you. But I did anyway.
Time is the only way we'll find out if Mixer is the right move for me. What I did learn? How fucking fortunate I am to be surrounded by the people in this community. There's no sentence I can write that will adequately convey just how much it means to me every time I see a familiar face hop into the stream now that we've made this move. Even if only for a moment. Kiko can't even view the stream without going into audio only mode and they're still there just about every stream. (<3) That's not even beginning to touch on joining the Mixer community and finding new faces that I admire and respect. Streamers who have helped inspire and reevaluate my process. New community members who help shape the culture and what we're doing. We've all coalesced into this group of people who genuinely care about each other and that above else is special. When I searched for a stream channel name I called it TheTapStream because it was always supposed to be bigger than myself. 3 years later TheTapStream is all of you. Everyone of you that tunes into share your highlights. Everyone of you that tunes in even when you don't have a highlight but lean on the community to get you through days that aren't as easy. Everyone of you that lift me up on days where mental walls seem insurmountable or gut punches feel swifter than before. You all are good people. Simply good people. I'm surrounded by good people and I have nothing to fear as long as you are around.
So yeah, I'm extremely fortunate and it's not an understatement when I refer to my community as family. I'm often asked why I made the jump to Mixer and I'm always quick to list the reasons why growing with a platform is better than trying to push through the saturation on a more popular one. I'll say, "I'm not streaming on Mixer for what it is today, but for what it could be tomorrow." I'm taking my shot in hoping that Mixer will have a better tomorrow, but for now you, yes you, are making it a better today every day. So thank you.
Season three of TheTapStream is without a doubt the hardest one I've been through. I hit low lows and wrestled with the question "How do I know the difference between giving up and moving on from something that's not working?" I'm looking towards season four with a renewed sense of purpose. A new understanding that I'm going to have to take risks and gamble on things that may or may not work. A new understanding that the difference between giving up and moving on is not being afraid to try. Thank you for giving me that courage. Thank you for the year. Thank you making this home.
Streamer, writer, creator. One day I woke up painfully aware of my existence and I've been apologizing for it ever since.