Twitch is a popular streaming website that hundreds of millions of users use worldwide. Since we already discussed its untapped potential, it’s now essential to understand how to use this platform in Youth Work to its full extent. What benefits does Twitch provide us? How can we take advantage of such benefits? There’s a lot to discuss, so let’s get started!
Involvement in the chat
The main difference between Twitch and other streaming platforms (besides its popularity) is the chat. Anyone can enter the stream at any time and write whatever they want to, either out of curiosity, to feel involved, or to participate in some other way. It is our duty to keep the chat constantly involved, check what they’re writing, and respond properly to such. In one way or another, we have to make them feel part of what’s going on to make their presence matter and influence the stream. The more popular our streaming channel may get, the more people will join the session, and the more we need to pay attention to their involvement.
Streaming an activity session
The easiest and most straightforward way to include Twitch in our Youth Work activities is to simply stream the activities themselves. In this scenario, we would normally host our online activities using software such as Zoom and then stream the whole session on Twitch.
Some examples of streamable activities can be:
- Online drawing (Gartic Phone is a good example)
- Acting (such as talent show-related activities)
- Discussion (both activities related to debating or reflection sections after any activity)
- Video watching (any video can be streamed to both Twitch and the participants)
Streaming an activity needs some precautions to keep in mind:
- The participants have to be aware and provide consent for their faces and voices to be streamed online. This may also make participants feel less comfortable opening up. Extra effort will be needed to reassure the participants that our Creative Digital Space can still be considered safe.
- Our attention will be split with the chat as well. Since it’s our duty to make them feel involved, we can’t provide complete attention to our participants only, as we need to keep track of what is getting written in the chat. The easiest solution would be to have one partner tasked to take the chat into account so that we could consider the chat itself to be a participant.
- The participants are unable to read the chat. This participant has no face or voice and writes down with not much coherence, but it is a participant nonetheless, and the other participants are unable to interact with it. That’s why our previously mentioned partner can become the intermediary to provide the chat with a voice, a face, and consistency.
Streaming with other Youth Workers
One of the most (if not the single most) popular categories on Twitch is called “Just Chatting”. In there, people with any background talk about anything they like. In our scenario, we could prepare a discussion with our Youth Worker colleagues and stream it on Twitch. It can either be an online call to stream or a live event broadcast online. Either way, we prepare some arguments to discuss and discuss them with our partners. On the surface, this is not much different from any podcast, but it has the added benefit of having a chat, asking questions during the talk, and providing us with extra room to tackle interesting arguments we may not have thought of. We could also stream a meeting between Youth Work partners to show some behind-the-scenes content. In this scenario, people become aware of how some elements are prepared in the background. Besides, it can further sponsor the use of digital Youth Work!
Streaming with guests
Twitch thrives with content creators of any kind. Why not invite a few over for activities or talks they’re not used to have? It can benefit both their channel and ours. They are used to handle the chat. This means we can learn many tips and tricks from their doing. At the same time, they can also provide interesting questions related to this digital space we may not be too familiar with yet. Content creators strive to find new things to do to keep their channel fresh. It will require planning, but what doesn’t? If we are successful, we may even get the creator to be a participant in a future project of ours!
This last option works better if the channel already has a decent following, which can be achieved with the previous scenarios. Streaming alone means there will be only us and the chat. If we get this far, we should have enough knowledge of our followers to have a reasonable idea of what they like and how to handle them alone. As far as I’m aware, this has not been achieved yet, which means it’s the perfect chance to be the first to make this happen!
These are just a few ideas on how to start a project in this direction. People are not used to the change, so we may expect some resistance, but it shouldn’t discourage us from pushing forward. Twitch can be a powerful tool to use for making (digital) Youth Work get bigger and better than ever. I personally expect this platform to be used widely in digital Youth Work in the following here. You may be the one starting this process, so why wait?