Another week and now another late Sunday where I'm starting entirely way too late on this post. There's no excuse. I spent the majority of the day sleeping and being lazy. Guilt and laziness aside, I needed the rest. It's been a pretty busy week and they don't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. I guess the biggest take away this week was the second stream in a row on Mixer and a new commitment to streaming on Fridays. (Except this coming Friday. Family time, yo. Also as of writing this I just realized that I didn't update the schedule whoops. I'll get that tomorrow afternoon.)
Some of you may have seen that on Friday I spent the evening playing Halo on Mixer.com. For the unaware, Mixer is an alternative streaming platform that is very much like Twitch. There are some bells and whistles that Mixer has which makes it an enticing platform but it's still very much suffering from the younger brother syndrome. Despite its secondary status, there still seems to be this push to stream on Mixer given that there is more room to grow on the platform due to less saturation than on Twitch. I honestly wouldn't have batted an eye, (that's the horrible decision making in me,) if it weren't for the Ask Broman podcast lauding the opportunities on Mixer and advocating the importance of being first. I want to make the point clear because conveying this can't be said enough, I have no plans in the immediate future to make a permanent move to Mixer. I've got a pretty humble momentum with Twitch right now and I like the direction that my channel is heading. So, everything we're doing on Twitch isn't changing anytime soon. However, the more I listen to the Ask Broman podcast the more I'm worried that if I don't make some sort of effort to branch out the more it might bite me in the ass.
Every time I start to describe streaming to family or friends the first thing I say is that I honestly feel like I've been given a time machine and have gone back before Youtube exploded. We're at the forefront of this streaming space and it's honestly one of the most exciting things I've ever been a part of. There's an unspeakable amount of gold in being the first to something, no matter how much shit online forums give you for that dead horse, 'first,' comment. It's why I worked so hard on making the Mario Make My Day series whenever Twitch introduced uploads. My thought process was that I wanted to be up with consistent content first on the off chance they started really pushing uploaded content. That didn't pan out but I still stand by that logic. So when I'm faced with the opportunity of being among the first to be consistent with Mixer, or Facebook Gaming, or whatever platform that arrives next I feel like I need to bat an eye. I don't want to be so quick to write off an opportunity. Everything I'm doing right now is planting seeds in hopes that something starts to sprout. I used to fear that spreading myself too thin would segment the audience but with this website, discord, twitter, and our lovely community I think we're strong enough to bring in as many people as we can. So that's my plan, and it starts with these small Friday night Mixer streams.
I've only done two so far but it's been a really fun experience. I've met new people and even have a few regulars that followed me over to Twitch that I wouldn't have met if it weren't for branching out. I'm averaging about 5 viewers a stream and peaking around the 10 mark which isn't exactly setting the world ablaze but it's more than enough to get started somewhere new. After all the focus is just meeting as many people as possible. My entire gambit is that there are more people who use Mixer AND Twitch than there are people who use Twitch and any other secondary platform. I'm going to spend my free time going out and introducing myself to those people and then end every broadcast by letting them know that they can find more of this content on my main home, Twitch. It's worth a risk I think and at the very least I'll have a foot in the door should things take a turn for the worst on Twitch. You know, like guilting people into resubbing to their favorite broadcasters without the broadcaster's consent. I'm in this for the long haul and the more I can establish my base the more I think I can sustain my channel. Rooster Teeth always makes the point that they were never the biggest channel to be watched on the Internet but they're definitely the longest running due to their adaptability. There's no better model to learn from than them in my opinion.
Being that Mixer is a Microsoft service it felt fitting that I would stream Halo, but after two test weeks, I'm thinking of trying a new game. Again, there's a reason Mixer is second to Twitch and that's the lower viewer base. I spent some time looking at the Halo directories and for the most part, they're pretty dead. I'm interested in seeing what I can do with a more popular game right now so the next time we're on Mixer I'm gonna continue our Monster Hunter run there. There's that general rule that you should always steer clear of popular games when you're first starting out but I feel like it'll be a fun test. Which I'm fully aware of my ego here. Part of the fun of being in a new space is getting the chance to start over but with all the things you've learned. We'll see how that goes. Oh, and for all the drum beating, it's worth noting that I'm actually not going to be able to stream this Friday on Mixer due to family plans. Mixer is supplemental after all, so I'll see you all on Twitch for our regularly scheduled chaos.
I know what you're thinking, "Trey didn't you already cover this in your tantrum post about your emotes?" You're right but it was brought to my attention that my plan for streaming on Mixer wasn't entirely clear so I wanted to spend some time hammering that point home. With two years under my belt, I've learned that you can never go wrong with communicating your information multiple times. Hence the reason I usually post my weekly stream schedule in like 3 different places all while still being prepared to answer the, 'what are you streaming this week,' question.
It's been a bit since I've recapped what's been going on on Twitch so I'll give a quick recap here. Monday night CarelessRex and I switched things up and played Fortnite and it was an absolute blast. I take back all the negative and irrational opinions I had about Fortnite. The game is fun plain and simple and is honestly making so many strides in the gaming space it's honestly crazy not to jump on board now. We're poised for another Minecraft style take over here. Being on all consoles, PC, and soon mobile? There's no telling how high this ceiling will go. But you're right, this is supposed to be a recap of my stream. Rex is currently on break but I think we're pretty much settled on streaming Fortnite once we get back into the swing of things.
The rest of the stream weak was consumed with Zelda A Link to the Past. It's my first 2D Zelda game and BOY is it a toughie. I'm absolutely enjoying it though even if it takes me quite awhile to make any progress. Not to discredit Zelda for the amazing series that it is but I know I never would have gone back and experienced this classic, as well as others, were it not for having this streaming space to share it with. The stream keeps me consistent and I'm thankful that I get to share this with people. Which leads me to the final thought on this post.
Nintendo featured their Nintendo Direct this past week where they outlined their upcoming games for the year. This was the first time that I've ever gotten to watch one live and it was probably one of the most memorable moments this week. In case you didn't know, a little game called Super Smash Bros was confirmed to be coming out this year and the Internet went absolutely crazy. Personally, the experience of watching my discord EXPLODE with little notifications after that announcement brought so much joy to my face. Not because of Smash but because it all boils down to the fact that we get to share this. Maybe I go back to this over-sentimental well one too many times but I'm always baffled and humbled by the home that we've created in this space. It's moments like these that I'm going to remember as we grow older. We all reached this points with different backgrounds, different problems, different goals, but we're all united by our common passion of gaming. I've formed so many friendships, and have watched friendships form outside of me all because of this place. It's enough to put a smile on my face, especially when I think about how much I'm going to beat their butts in Smash Bros.
I could've stayed where I was and have a life you'd be proud of
After weeks of shouting, thetapLurk was approved. I'm still not sure whether or not anything I did had an affect or if it was just random chance by the grace of a coin flip at Twitch. As I sat down to write this blog post I didn't think there was a way to get through this without acknowledging it. There's still a small part of me that feels self conscious for all the borrowed mind space, but every story needs an ending so let's put this one to bed.
This past Monday I finally got the email that my thetapLurk emote was approved. I was caught off guard by the fact that it was actually approved, especially after being told multiple times about the 'no single letter,' rule. Obviously I believed I had a fighting chance, else I wouldn't have made all the ruckus that I did, but I was surprised that my immediate reaction wasn't elation. I was first caught of guard by a resounding, 'oh.' Only at first, and then that's when the excitement started kicking in. I was at work and I rushed over to my dad shoving the cellphone in his face exclaiming that the emote had finally been approved. (What? You thought the Internet was the only one that had to deal with the brunt of my rants?)
You ever find yourself finishing a book and then left with that feeling of what now? Or maybe even finishing a video game you've spent 200 hours in and then checking off that last side quest? That's where I'm at right now. If you remember, I actually scheduled Tuesday night off this past week, and it was mainly due to the fact that I was on the verge of writing out a long open letter twitter thread to twitch about the inconsistency of their rules. That's just what my generation does. I wanted to be around to answer any, if at all, responses that would be headed my way. Luckily, it didn't come to that, but there was that, 'oh,' feeling again. I had all this pent up energy stored and was ready to make a fool of myself, but I ended up with my emote after all. So why am I writing this out? Partly because it makes a good read, I hope, and partly because I felt like there needs to be some acknowledgement after all the noise I made.
I spent a lot of time thinking about it and I came to the conclusion that if the only thing I'm doing is yelling because of one emote, then I'm just throwing a tantrum. There had to be a bigger reason for all of this than just what was at stake for me. I think there are still parts of the emote approval process that needs to be addressed over at Twitch. As difficult as the situation is, Affiliates should have the option to allow their current standing emote remain while pending approval of another one. If the process is going to be left up luck of the draw depending on the eyes of the approver then we shouldn't have have our fate be tied to chance. I'm not asking for instant approval like Twitch Partners, but I do think there needs to be a much more forgiving system. I was fortunate that the artist I worked with was kind enough to fix the emote without charging. This won't always be the case for everyone, nor should they have to experience it. These emotes aren't just some silly emojis, they're a representation of the streamer's cultures. The atmosphere that they are creating in their chats with their viewers. Any revamp to the system that allows Affiliates a little more control than what they're getting now would be a much welcomed addition, however like I said earlier this week in my tweets, I digress. For now, I have a feeling of pride every time I see thetapLurk flooded in chat, and not because I feel like there was anything I did, but because of the people that were supporting me. I spent a lot of time 'Jeff Goldbluming,' as I was pointing out this and that, and I had friends coming in support with their own examples. I had reassurance from viewers that they weren't subbing because of an emote, and I even had other viewers gifting out subs even without an emote to use. So everytime I see that cute little Captain America behind his shield, I'm reminded that I'm surrounded by a lot of amazing people online, and I thank you.
Oh man, okay so that was totally meant to be a quick final thought on the whole mess but it ended up being a lot longer than I thought. I swear, you can ask people in chat, I mentioned that I was trying to think up a theme for this week's blog post and I thought I had settled on tech issues, but whoops. It's getting late now so I'm not going to dive as deep into it as I wanted to. I think the best way to sum up this week's issues actually comes from Saturday's stream. Earlier in the week I had issues with my capture card not working and it actually caused my OBS (Open Broadcast Software, program used to stream) to crash. I took the time to get it all fixed and even did a really long test stream on Mixer. Everything was perfectly fine, but come time for Saturday's stream it started borking again. However, I found that as long as I didn't click 'ok' on the 'OBS has crashed,' window I could keep streaming. If that doesn't sum up technology then I honestly don't know what does.
That's the thing about tech issues. You never really know when they're going to pop up. You can go months without a single issue and think you're absolved of any more issues, but then there they go again reminding you that they're still haunting you. That paranoia is enough to suck the energy out of you, but I think if there's any silver lining to take away from it all is that it's kind of amazing to see the resilience. You never really have to look too far on Twitter for someone dealing with one thing or another, and usually without fail they keep coming right back after being knocked down. When I first started streaming I remember I straight up texted my cousin, RG, that I didn't think streaming was for me. I couldn't figure out how to sync the audio and video of both my camera and my gameplay and it was frustrating to the point of wanting to just quit. Thankfully there was still this spark that kept me going because I don't think I can imagine my life now without streaming. I guess what this is boiling down to is that there will always be the easy route of quitting laid out before you, but when given the opportunity to keep pushing past the limits of your knowledge, the limits of your patience, or the limits of your confidence, you'll often find that you had it in you all along. Now if you'll excuse the self congratulatory ending, I'm going to go to bed. Summing up the sum up? Don't give up. I once wrote 120 page script on the subject called, "For Sale," and now I just did it in one blog post. Progress. Goodnight.
I'm going to keep this one rapid fire given that it's late and I'm doing my best to get ahead of my lack of sleep this week. I've already scheduled a night off from streaming on Tuesday so that I can get to bed early that night. I remember a time not so long ago where I would literally waste hours watching Vine video after Vine video. Now I'm scheduling more sleep. What is life?
That last line was pretentious, but this is rapid fire so we don't have time to backspace. In all serious though, I am taking the night off this coming Tuesday. It's the night before our Community Night so it seems only fitting to have a night to recharge. I think taking a break the night before will be the new standard. I've been preaching more about the importance of self-care and the constant battle against burnout but if I don't actually employ the words that I'm speaking then they're just hollow motions. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm in this for the long run, and in the grand scheme of things one night isn't going to derail me.
I spoke with a friend earlier this week and we talked about how when we all started we read that same advice, "always be on, always be consistent, no matter what." We trained ourselves to be caught in this , "go, go, go," mentality and it worked. But now we need to retrain ourselves and recongize that it's okay to take breaks. This has never been more evident than with how much these last few sentences come across as being self reassuring.
Streams have been really good to me this week. Monster Hunter World continues to be a fun romp but I'm dedicating less stream time to it so I don't know how much longer I'll be able to keep up with peers. We both started and finished Shadow of the Colossus this week and boy was that an incredible experience. Really felt like the perfect stream game in my opinion. Amazing boss battles with plenty of clippable 'wow' moments, all of which were perfectly paced with quiet down time to talk to chat in between. Happy to have finally added that game to my resume.
I did stream Yooka-Laylee this week but the game didn't hold my interest as much as I wanted it to. I may not have been in the right mindset to start this game but after I was given the chance to do a day stream this past Wednesday I needed an easy jump in and jump out game. What's really got my focus right now is playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the first time. I'll forever be late to the party on the Zelda games but having the chance to go back and correct these wrongs is great. I'm not that far into ALttP but I can already tell it's going to be a really fun stream experience.
If I had to square in on the biggest take away this week I think it would be just how bonkers everything is right now. The opening paragraph is quick to highlight the contrast in the ways I used to regulate my time, but the differences don't stop there. I'm on 'season three' of my streaming path and there's real history here. Saturday night we celebrated a 9 month long sub, thanks ArthurTheLastAncient, and they joked that we were having a sub baby. It blows my mind that I'm even in a position that we can make a joke like that. Never mind having a sub button for 9 months, but the fact that there are people who are using it? Bonkers.
The very first time I ever started doing QotW it was this idea that I was very self conscious about and even had a few people poke fun at it. Now there are people commenting how difficult it is to decide on which one to vote for. Bonkers. Which shout out to Bexsona by the way for suggesting the poll idea. Turning QotW into a Chatmocracy versus a Taptorship has breathed new life into the quote game and being able to highlight all the incredibly funny people in our group is my favorite part of the week.
We've been doing a weekly MCU Marathon where I get to geek out about my Marvel passions with others. There are even people who are messaging me their reactions to newer Marvel movies and their live thoughts as they watched the ones released to home video. Bonkers. I'm spoiled by the people in this community. We're heading into the third month of 2018 and it's been a pretty fun ride so far. Bumpy? Sure, but fun. There are things in motion that I can't talk about but it's an honor to be a part of these projects. Actually, one drops tomorrow morning and I'm super excited to share it with you.
Okay, this is a bad post, but it's a rapid fire post so there's little editing and forming these thoughts in a cohesive manner is out of the picture for now. Just know this, I can't thank this community enough. So much of what I am doing is a learning experience and I'm feeling more and more reassured that we're on the right path. I feel like I'm never the best at adequately communicating just how thankful I am whenever people show their generosity so I wanted to make sure I stepped back and said it again. Thank you. Life is bonkers right now, and I'm happy that I get to share it with you.
I think the biggest take away from this week is the ongoing drama that is my tier one emote and you better buckle up because I'm fully aware of how silly it seems to be so up and arms about this nonsense.
For those who don't know, I commissioned the wonderful Bilvy to create a Captain America lurk emote to be the new tier one emote on my channel. ThetapSeeks was the very first emote I had made and it will always have a special place in my heart but I felt like it was time for a change. As an affiliate, the only option I have to replace an emote is to delete the one that I currently have and then upload the new one. Pain in the ass? Sure, but it usually takes about a week for the emote to be approved and all the subs are back to enjoying their emote. Except for this time Twitch decided that my emote was against their rules and denied it. Apparently, "single letter emotes," are banned on Twitch. Let's just humor this idea that my Captain America emote is just that, a single letter, and examine how silly this is.
Yes, if there are a plethora of single letter emotes then people with ill intentions could use them to bypass filters and spell out offensive stuff. This is a reasonable rule, but only when followed. Gamersmack was the first to come to my defense and point out the litany of Super Mario emotes featuring the iconic M on his hat. You could make the argument that Mario gets a pass because of his iconography status in the video game space but the list of single letter emotes doesn't end there.
So yeah, "no single letter emotes," isn't exactly sitting well with me. It seems silly to be so upset about something like this given that this doesn't begin to crack the surface on some of the issues Twitch needs to focus on. I've had people advise me that this might not be worth fighting given that even larger streamers have a hard time winning this fight. I'm just angry that a lot of people are being restricted, unevenly, because of those who would abuse the system. A simple revision could fix it. I could replace the A, I could add a butt, I could do a lot of things, but all of those feel like admitting defeat in the face of something incredibly stupid. Which I won't.
The main issue is I keep coming back to how the people who sub to me are without an emote. If you asked anyone of them they'll tell you that they are there because they support me and they don't mind that the emote is gone. I love them for that but that's not good enough for me. I've said it before but I'll say it again, I will never disrespect the honor it is that people allow me into their lives. That they take time out of their day to watch the silly stuff I do online, and it blows my mind that some of them are even willing to spend money to support it. I shouldn't have to be caught in this limbo of Twitch deciding on what is and isn't appropriate, especially given I could probably replace Captain America's A with a butt and it would have been approved the first time. Even if this went off without a hitch and my emote was approved, the process is flawed. I hate that we have to take down the approved emote and then wait on pins and needles for Twitch to flip a coin and grant access to the next one. So maybe if Twitch could stop hiding behind their thinly veiled 'no single letter emote,' defense and offer up a better reasoning than what they're giving I wouldn't be so quick to lean towards favoritism. I wouldn't have spent money on this particular design. I wouldn't have asked an artist to spend their time creating it. For the people who are quick to offer up 'well if you don't like their rules then you don't have to stream on their platform,' I say you're right.
I experienced a lot of Internet issues this week and it finally culminated in a giant mess on Saturday. After a night of troubleshooting and hair pulling, I was finally led down the path of trying out Mixer. If you don't know what Mixer is, it's a different streaming platform that's on the rise. There are some pretty nifty features they've got to offer such as synced up multi-streaming and FTL stream delay which results in about a second delay. Unfortunately streaming to Mixer proved that my Internet woes weren't exclusive to Twitch but it did offer up a chance to see what the other side was like. I've been streaming for so long on Twitch that the question of streaming on another platform had never crossed my mind before. In fact, the very first month that I ever started streaming, Youtube gaming had recently launched and I was faced with a decision of going with Twitch or Youtube. Twitch is the top dog, there's no questioning that, but the chance to start on a new platform was enticing. As ProfessorBroman puts it, "being number one on the second largest streaming platform is nothing to sneeze at." Ultimately the community on Twitch is what won me over and I never thought about it again.
However, there was something exciting about being on a new platform this past Saturday. I was reminded of the early days when I was first starting and learning how to stream except I was comfortable this time. I was in a new space with a new reach and a chance to bring in even more people to this community. Yes, the backdrop of Internet hassle and missing a stream with my regulars was still weighing down on me but a spark was created this past Saturday.
The exclusivity clause does not otherwise restrict Affiliates from using other streaming platforms to do live streaming. For instance, an Affiliate is permitted to start a stream on Twitch and, after ending that stream, immediately start a new, separate stream on another platform -- assuming the Affiliate is not also using Twitch to broadcast that same content at the same time.
There's nothing preventing me from streaming on other platforms, (except maybe a broken Internet but I'll touch on that later), and so this idea of carving out time to stream in more places is exciting to me. Before you get the wrong idea I want to hammer home the point, I have no intentions of changing the schedule on Twitch whatsoever. Monday through Thursday as well as Saturdays, you know the drill. What I've got going for me is working right now but there's this new spark to start branching out and seeing how far I can take this content creating dream. The main goal for The Tap has always been to create your next favorite entertainment platform. So when I ask myself where my loyalties lie, Twitch, or you, the answer is always going to be you. The Internet is a history book of giants that never saw their end coming. Geocities, Xanga, Myspace, Aim, Vine, and so on. Who is to say where Twitch will be in the next five years, hell, who is to say where I'll be in the next five years? The goal for The Tap has always been to be your next favorite entertainment platform, no matter where we go.
Okay, that's enough chest puffing and anger for the rest of the blog. If you can't tell I'm pretty heated with this whole emote nonsense. Actually, at the height of it I got drunk Friday evening which started my Twitter rant, and although I'm pulling back, for now, I'm not done arguing about this. Instead, I wanted to provide an update on what's going on. If you were around Saturday you noticed that my Internet finally kicked the bucket. Frame drops and stream disconnects aren't new to me. They would rear their ugly head every now and then but they never seemed to last for more than a minute to two minutes. Ignoring this was my hubris slapping a band-aid called, 'that'll fix itself,' on the issue. I finally sucked it up and got an ISP tech out and he replaced a lot of old wires, I'm talking Road Runner days, and did some of his Internet magic. I ran a 'stream to twitch,' test for about 30 minutes at 6000 kbps and it was rock solid, which was more than could be said for Saturday. After that test seemed good I streamed to a secret test account and had some friends pop in to confirm that things are peachy. I gotta say that I wouldn't have been able to get this far if it wasn't for Bexsona, Gamersmack, VestofHolding, and MorninFrost helping me troubleshoot and test things Saturday night and Sunday afternoon (Thank You).
In conclusion, it's been a week. For a week of mounting frustrations, I'm glad it ended on a high note. I was really worried that my Internet woes would decommission me for a while but that's not the case. I'm happy that I'm going to be able to continue doing what I'm doing, and I'm even more excited to see how far I can branch this out. Moving forward I've still got to figure out what I'm going to do with my tier one sub-slot. The artist I use is still not taking commissions so I'm just waiting for that to open up because I can get a replacement for the Captain America one. Is this the last you've heard of the emote drama? Probably not. I know that keeping this argument might not be the wisest thing to do but I'm not done yet.
Remember when I said I was going to try and keep this blog updated every Sunday? Good times. I wanted to sit down and write a recap, no matter how brief, on how things have been since coming back to streaming. I think I was getting paralyzed by not knowing what to write every time I sat down but I'm going to approach it from the perspective of what I'd like to reread at the end of the year. Journaling 101 I suppose.
Take it from me, if you're ever going to take an extended amount of time away from streaming then there's no better way to come back to it than with a Multi-Monday with Careless Rex. The time away was nice but there was a creeping dread the closer I got to the end of the week that I was going to 'forget' how to do everything. If you're ever at the start of the stream I'll sometimes joke with the early lurkers that, "I quit. I forgot how to stream. Bye." Truth in jest, ya know? Fortunately for me, I had Rex to lean on as I eased back into the swing of things. We always hop into a discord call an hour before we go live and from the moment we connected we were picking back up right where we left off. Shook off the nerves and jumped right into the game and I knew that I was going to be okay. I think this is a perfect example on why networking's magic lies more in the art of making friends than with the 'what can you do for me,' mentality. Having someone (Rex) who understands not only the space (streaming) but what it's like to take an extended amount of time off was an invaluable resource and I can't thank him enough. (Thank you if you're reading Rex. If not, this friendship is over. Kidding or am I? Who knows, you're not reading.)
The other game I've been playing a lot lately is an indie game known as Celeste! If you haven't seen it yet I highly recommend you look it up because I guarantee that you're going to see this game pop up on 'Best Of' lists a lot by the end of the year. It's a beautiful 2D platformer that finds itself in the realm of Super Meat Boy difficulty. It balances the line between satisfying and difficult so that you're constantly caught in that tried and true trap of a carrot on a stick called you can do this. Maybe that's just me, but being bad at games is kinda my specialty. That being said though, it's worth your time, even if you aren't a fan of difficult games. I personally haven't used it yet (even though maybe I should), but there is an assist mode that helps you bridge some of the more difficult parts of the game. There's a backdrop of anxiety and insecurities with the game's narrative (What great timing by the way) and even though I'm only about halfway through, I think it's building towards a really nice story. Plus the humor is cute and the characters are, well, they're entertaining (Theo). It's not often that I split time during the stream schedule to service two games but I'm going to be juggling my time between Monster Hunter World and Celeste for sure. Also mainly because I need a reprieve from my strawberry obsession.
Remember when I said this was going to be brief? I guess I got carried away. It's easy to be paralyzed by doubt, as evident by the duration between these posts, but sometimes just sitting down and slowly chipping at it will make great headway. Doubt was the biggest culprit in me needing to take some time away and I keep hammering this point home because I'm hoping people can use this as an example whenever they're feeling down. Self-deprecation is the armor that I use from my own thoughts because my own thoughts used to hold too much power over me. By getting the, "I'm bad at this," out in the open I can hear how silly it sounds and then it becomes a joke. However, when that fails I hadn't taught myself how to handle it, and I started to believe what I was saying. Our doubt, fears, and insecurities, will always scream louder than reason, but they're hardly ever true. If you can find a way to silence them whether by speaking with friends or taking time to yourself you can silence them. You are more than your doubt.
Last year I had a friend ask me what my New Year's resolution was for 2017. Without a serious response I shrugged my shoulders and joked, "I don't know, stream more?"
It was a joke dressed with flippancy and an understanding that most of my resolutions made prior were met with the same broken result. However, as the fireworks boomed and the hugs were exchanged the idea, "I don't know, stream more," kept echoing as the night went on. I was already committed to pushing the stream as far as I could go so why not double down in 2017. I invested all my energy into growing this channel as big as I possibly could and it's blown all my expectations out of the water. 'Streaming more' was an easy teed up swing, hence the joking commitment, but what I didn't expect was the impact it would have in all aspects of my life.
I'm happier than I've ever been. Not just with streaming, but as a whole. I've always been surrounded by a supporting cast of family and friends but there was always an internal voice that would lash out and keep me down. Streaming has given me a platform to bring these thoughts out in the open and turn them into jokes, effectively taking the negative power away. What was once a negative internal influence is now brought out into the open and fuels a place where we can all laugh. The stream has given me a lens to see my value, not that it was never there, but I see it now. I have a sense of self worth that inspires me to continue bettering myself, whether through going to the gym more, being more organized, and learning more. I've learned so much not just by being on camera, but by observing my streaming peers, interacting with the people in chat, and making genuine friendships.
Traveling to Twitchcon in California is easily the biggest moment of my 2017. It was the furthest I've ever been from home, the longest I've ever taken off of work, and the first time I had ever flown. The trip itself was the perfect culmination of all the hours spent streaming. Finally meeting everyone face to face was an experience I still think back on on bad days. There are genuine friendships here, of which would not have been possible were it not for streaming more.
I can't imagine a life without the people I've met through Twitch now. Together we're building a place that I'm happy to call home. I'm learning more about me and how to be than I have anywhere else. I have each and everyone one of you to thank for this. You've completely changed my life for the better. Thank you for being a part of it and allowing me to be a part of yours too. I'm humbled by the kindness that has been shown to me and it inspires me to continue passing it on.
So as 2017 comes to a close and resolutions for 2018 start to come around I know without a doubt that mine is to continue streaming more. There is a lot to learn here and a lot more people to meet. 2017 has been an incredible year for me and I'm excited to see where we can all go in 2018.
Two years ago I hit start broadcast and I had no idea what I was doing. Batman: Arkham Knight had just released and I decided to give this Twitch thing a shot. I mean it was easy enough with Twitch being built right into the Xbox One so what was there to lose? Going live was easy but it was a weird feeling. There was nobody there, I didn't have a camera or a microphone and it was just pure gameplay. I don't think I streamed for longer than five minutes but in those five minutes I watched the viewer count briefly tick from 0 to 1 and in that moment I was instantly sold. Suddenly playing a game went from being a passive experience to an active experience and I was dead set on pushing myself to be as entertaining as I possibly could.
I think I've gone back and forth on this second paragraph about eight times now. It's currently 11:38 P.M. and I'm waiting on a video to export so that I can go to bed. I'm a few hours away from starting my first ever 24 hour stream and it's as intimidating as it is exciting. I'm getting away from the point. I think if I had to sum up the biggest thing I've learned in these two years of streaming, it would be being comfortable with the unknown. The very idea of the unknown is something I've struggled with my entire life. At the core of who I am I continually grasp at futile attempts to rationalize unknowable outcomes until I get caught thinking in circles. However with streaming I've had to force myself to be okay with this. Streaming is an exercise with the unknown. When I hit 'go live,' I don't know what I'm going to say. I don't know what I'm going to joke about. I don't know if the stream is going to be stable the entire time. Hell, I don't always know who will be there. There are too many variables to know anything when I start a stream, but I've gotten to the point where I know I'm going to be okay. It's taken two years but I can say with confidence that I've found my voice as a streamer. That's something I've been given the space to develop largely due to the wonderful cast of friends, family, and community members who have given me the support to help figure this out as I go.
I'm still in awe when I think about how far this community has come. The early days are filled with memories of sparse chats and shorter streams but one by one you all started to fill in. I'm still surprised everytime I see names start to appear and chat slowly starts to populate with questions about each other's day and well being. If you were to pull back and look at what I'm doing on a weekly basis, I'm just a man in a room speaking out loud alone, but it never feels that way. The fact that I get to be a part of your day, that you all choose to let me in little by little is an honor I do not take lightly. There is warmth in seeing the amount of growth people have shown from the time they first appeared up to now. I value the opportunity to grow along side you and to have a space we can all lean on along the way.
I've talked about it before but the reason I fell in love with the show Community (I know Insinity) was because I found it at a very low point in my life. I connected with that show in a way that honestly felt like the creators were reaching through the tv and reassuring me that everything was okay. Finding a way to give a tenth of that back with our community is the fuel that continues to drive me every week. The Tap is a place to tune in and forget about the external problems, if only for a moment. A chance to hit pause and laugh a little, or just shoot the shit with each other. For every one person that's ever taken the time to let me know that this stream has helped them, changed them, or made them feel better (humble brag) I want them to know that it has done so equally for me. There have been plenty of times where this community has put a smile on my face on the toughest of days and I couldn't thank you enough.
Two years ago I didn't know what I was doing when I hit start stream for the first time. Today, I still don't know what I'm doing but I have the confidence to know it's going to be okay. The encouragement from family and friends to keep striving to be better. The kindness from this community to support us. I've made peace with the idea that if tomorrow was the last time I ever hit 'go live,' and this was the height of all there was to accomplish, then I couldn't be prouder of what we've done together. The people I've met and had the chance to include in my life has changed me significantly. Wherever this road takes us, I'm happy we're going together.
Thank You <3
It feels weird writing a blog on a website that's technically not out yet. However, I figured if I'm going to get in the habit of blogging then there's no better time to start than now. I've already shown this blog to a few close friends so if you're seeing this after poking around a bit, hi!
It's Sunday evening and as is tradition I'm killing time online instead of getting to bed at a reasonable hour for once, especially with a new work week ahead. I talked about it a few weeks ago on stream but I've reached a point where I actually look forward to Mondays. Maybe this is something I'll look back on and laugh at the pretentiousness but I genuinely am excited for the things I'm doing and savor the chance to start a new week of work. There's fulfillment in the content that I'm creating online and that's something I haven't gotten anywhere else.
I don't know if I'll be a daily blogger. My goal is at least one blog a week, probably on Sundays. There's something nice about reflecting on the week at the very end. The final period on a week long chapter. Looking back on this chapter I think the biggest take away was the chance to pretend like I was a full time streamer for a few days.
I didn't work Wednesday-Friday due to weather so I took the opportunity to stream during the day. I started most days by 10 A.M. and would finish up around 8 or 9. The turnout was great and it enabled me to reach new viewers as well as host people in different time slots, like the !quote MiniKitty raid. Even more so I actually had time to myself in the evenings. Which, is something that's really hard to talk about. I never want to make it sound like I don't enjoy what I do but there are sacrifices, especially in relationships with family and friends, that are made when it comes to streaming and sometimes I worry that I've put stress on those. Having the chance to repair and put more time into those relationships felt nice. I have a long road ahead of me if this content creating is something I'm going to do full time, so pauses and self care is a much needed detour. (Pauses and Self Care is my favorite Florence and the Machine album. Boom.)
Full time streaming is the goal, which is something I still struggle saying out loud. I've had people ask me on stream before if I want this to be more than just a hobby and every time I always find myself stumbling at the question. Half out of uncertainty, and half out of an internal indignant voice yelling, "can't you tell?" I know that this is a pipe dream and I still have a long way to go but there's no doubt in my mind that I want to be a full time streamer and content creator. Getting the taste of that lifestyle this week only steeled my resolve. It's easy to write off what I, as well as my peers, do but there's a lot of hard work and dedication that goes into making videos online. I talk about the Professor Broman podcast a lot but indulge me one more reference.
One of the biggest things he said in the earlier episodes was that when it comes to streaming no one sees the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. Everyone sees streaming and is like, 'yea I love playing video games too!' However, the actual gaming is just the reward for all the prep that goes into it. The stream doesn't end when you hit stop broadcast. Neither should your work effort.
So yeah, I still struggle saying that I want to be a full time streamer, but I'm learning to be more vocal about it. Small steps towards making that goal a reality. Go back and read the very first sentence of this blog and recognize that it's an open admission of unsureness. I didn't start the stream off as a beacon of confidence. It took small steps along the way to finally find my voice as a streamer. I'll get to full time in due time. So what better way to start off this blog than as an affirmation of that?
(WE START BY DIPPING THEM IN WARM MILK CHOCOLATE, AND ALLOWING TO REST FOR 15 MINUTES. THE COOKIES ARE THEN SERVED WITH A GLASS OF COLD MILK)