I Streamed On Twitch Every Day For One Month, and Here’s What Happened

I’ve been on Twitch since 2017, longer if you count my original Twitch channel, which I used actively for precisely one month in 2013, but I’ve rarely had a consistent, locked in pattern to my streams. I just kind of…go live, and so, accordingly, I met with all the success that entails – stuck in Affiliate grind, discouraged away from it, and basically just kind of resigning myself to never really stream all that much.

Last fall, I was streaming inconsistently, but generally on a regular basis for my FFXIV raids and for some light WoW gameplay as I was easing back into the pool in time for Dragonflight, and in October, thanks to the help of a streamer friend and guildie, I got the follows to hit Affiliate – and then stagnated. I even lost followers a bit (willfully, because I threw down some blocks on known troublemakers), and then I basically could not muster the confidence to stream.

Streaming as a form, in fact, has always been sort of dicey for me. In writing, I’m pretty confident in my ability to communicate and get across a message, and I have time to reword, rewrite, and reconsider the message. Any post where I’ve written about tense or dramatic events involving others usually gets about 3 rewrites or more, as a matter of fact! Streaming, on the other hand, plays to the worst parts of communicative skillset – verbal presentation, enunciation, clarity, and maintaining a train of thought. I get off on tangents easily, I get stuck on words, my enunciation could stand to be a lot better, and if I don’t have anything to say, I either clam up bad and then call attention to it verbally, or I just get overly explainy and it is probably pretty boring to watch (what do you mean someone who writes 4,000+ word posts about almost anything explains too much, that’s impossible!).

But the thought occurred to me early this year that a big part of why I hadn’t perceived myself to be successful on Twitch was because I hadn’t settled on a pattern or way to be successful. I was just kind of winging it – throwing shit at the wall and seeing what stuck, but also wasn’t playing to any kind of consistency. I was live on random days, most often for scheduled in-game events like raids, but how long I would be live and how consistently I would stream week after week was not locked in, and so everything was just kind of overly fluid. While I was good at talking a lot, I was losing focus on speech issues, so I was speaking unclear, rambling on with little essays about whatever I was doing like a class presentation, and it was becoming clear I needed practice to get better.

So how does one get practice? Well, outside of a very-obvious play like trying speech therapy, the answer that was becoming obvious to me was simple – stream more, stream uncomfortably, give yourself a ruleset to make you hop on and give it your best, and even if your best that day is a 45 minute stream of some random game, do it anyways. Stream raids, stream random gameplay, pick a game you want to beat and smash through it with a camera on, but do something.

So at the very end of February, to get in the way of my own dumb brain’s tendency to overthink, I made a snap decision – every single day in March, I would go live on Twitch. No other plan or anything – no schedule, no consistent time, with the only rule being that as long as I hit “Start Streaming” in OBS at least 30 minutes before the end of the day in my local time zone and let the rest work itself out live on camera.

And…it kind of worked.

By the end of March, I had gained about 20% more followers, my second biggest follower count jump after my affiliate drive in the fall, increased my average viewership by 33%, and had higher peak viewer concurrency than any other time before. I had more subscription revenue for the month by a factor of like 3x, and I think it helped the soft skills part of streaming a lot – I was talking with more focus, less droning explanations, and was learning when I could lay out. I played games with text box dialogue I had to read and did voice changes for most (I wouldn’t say they were good voices, but I tried), and the overall results were very positive.

Given all of this, then – what did I take away?

Stream More, Think Less

I am an overthinker to a very high degree. Events stick with me for weeks, months, even years, and I tend to contemplate action for a long time before acting on just about everything in my life. This manifests in decision paralysis, long periods of inaction followed by rapid and massive actions, and often ends up mollifying me into doing nothing. To break it, having a rule set so simple for the month made streaming easy – don’t know what to play for the camera? Well, you’re in WoW right now, and you have 4 hours before the day is over, so just hit Start Streaming and get it done. Gotta stream on Friday but don’t want your reactions to the way your alt raid in FFXIV plays to be on broadcast? Well, you’re either doing a late-night stream, an early afternoon stream, or you’re going to suck it up and deal to be live during raid – pick one, don’t think too hard.

Setting the everyday streaming rule was simple, but it uncomplicated large parts of the decision tree I would normally take. Not feeling much like putting on streamer tone? Just play WoW. Want something sort of hectic so the gameplay and natural reactions take over for the need to talk? FFXIV PvP. Want genuinely entertaining dialogue but don’t want to solely provide it? Stream group key runs where you’re in voice. Once I removed the option to not stream in a given day and set a firm threshold on what counted for me in this challenge, the rest was easy – not streaming isn’t a choice and you have less than x hours to figure it out before you fail the challenge, do something! Picking the something is a lot easier when there’s a crunch pressing on you, at least it was for me.

Speak, But Only If You Have Something To Say

One thing I tried early on to do on Twitch was to just never shut up. Constantly talk, talk all the time, explain things, talk about your day, just keep flapping your gums regardless of what is escaping them. And to a point, that works. Talking beats awkward silence any day of the week. But not all silence is awkward silence, and that is the skillset to learn – evaluating when you should be talking and when to lay out and let the moment be.

For me, two things helped this the most. The first was streaming raids with other people in voice, because you don’t want to start a train of thought to your stream only to stop erratically as other people talk. The second was just more practice and time spent playing live on camera – at a certain point, you can’t say much about a dungeon run, boss fight, or other piece of gaming content that isn’t either very clear from the visuals and overall experience being seen, and most little bits of trivia aren’t that entertaining. Basically, I learned that unless I was interacting with chat, talking in voice, or had jokes and one-liners to try, no matter how bad, I didn’t have to keep talking without stuff to say or to just explain the content dryly. I could just play the game and speak up when something funny happened, something worth calling attention to happened, or just lay out and let voice chat take care of some of the entertainment duties for my audience. Outsourcing!

Play What Works For You

WoW on Twitch is an oversaturated mess with thousands of people playing live to tiny audiences and a few people playing live to big audiences. FFXIV has a higher per-channel viewer average, but it also typically has a few thousand people streaming it at any one time. Almost every game I would think to stream has a big number of channels active and an audience spread thinly across them with a few outliers that have more viewers. This sounds discouraging, and it kind of is! – but if you know that’s the reality, who cares then? Play what you want to play, play what makes you happy, play what you have the most insight into and can speak to the most. Too many stream guides suggest chasing trends – buy the newest AAA big name title, play what Asmongold plays, but honestly, most channels on Twitch are doomed to obscurity anyways, so who cares. Embrace obscurity and, ironically, you’ll lose it. I gained more followers and active viewers/chatters by just being live and getting after it than I ever did from trying to optimize what I was playing or even trying to play something new. My biggest streams to date have been either WoW or FFXIV, and so in the end, while Twitch will tell me to do something else because the average viewer count on a WoW or FFXIV stream is like 4 people, doing the thing I like and want to do is more rewarding and worthwhile. And in the end, Twitch guides and recommendations play to how Twitch works as a platform. Speaking of…

Twitch as a Platform Is Terrible for Engagement

90% of my viewers are direct viewers, coming from a link I supply to Twitter when I go live, Discord streambots like Streamcord where I am promoted on at least 3 Discord servers, or from people directly navigating to my channel. Even if the other 10% was discovery on Twitch (and it isn’t), that’s a pretty abysmal rate of organic discovery. Knowing that for me is a tool though, not a discourgement. If 90% of my viewership is from direct engagement with me in some form, whether a direct link through social media, Discord, or another streamer, then my energy is better spent working on those links and establishing connections to people who are likely to want to refer me, and far less effectively spent trying to play Twitch’s algorithm game.

Like any modern content platform, some constantly-evolving faceless math equation figures out who is likely to want to click on you, but here’s the trick with Twitch in particular – very few people go to the Twitch homepage and just look for stuff to watch. It’s not YouTube, and most people go to Twitch with a particular destination in mind – a streamer they like, a game they want to watch, etc. On other platforms, gaming the algorithm is how you get seen and known, it’s the only effective way to build an audience, and when it changes, you have to change and evolve with it. On Twitch, doing that can pay off in some ways, but what pays off more consistently is building an audience and building comfort so that as people in your audience will recommend you to others and you’ll have something engaging worth watching. When you’re starting out, it’s tempting to play by the rules of the game, to make content that is algo-friendly and gets slurped up for promotion, but unlike other algo-driven platforms, Twitch doesn’t play by the same rules, because referral traffic from Twitch itself only becomes majorly possible if you are a high-traffic channel already. Being on Twitch’s homepage doesn’t mean shit if no one goes there! So you need to find where people are – and on Twitch, that means finding people you like and are comfortable with.

Social Skills Over Streaming Skills

My biggest increases on Twitch came from non-algorithm sources. Meeting people in Twitch chat and being friendly and personable will get you shoutouts, which puts new eyes on your channel, and being cool enough that people enjoy having you in their chats makes them more likely to shout you out, promote you generally, and to share their audiences with you via raids and While You’re Out video restreams, all of which helps you grow. Now, I want to head this off by saying that you should approach with no expectation of such – if you’re engaging in stream chats on other channels to get noticed and get exposure, it’s pretty transparent and shitty, which won’t net you what you might want. But if you sincerely interact with other people and build up a sense of community elsewhere on the platform, it makes people more likely to follow you back to your channel and to be a part of your community.

Find someone you know. Find a game you like and a streamer who could use the viewership and just chat, give them a chance to build their audience, and a lot of people who know the struggle of the early times of a channel on Twitch will help you out in kind. Some of them will just help with no expectation of anything else. My biggest boosts came from friends with larger audiences referring people to me, and people in their audience coming over and also referring people to me, and neither had much to gain from doing that, but they did it anyways because I’d just go to their streams and chat. Hell, one of these people, a WoW guildie of mine, gave my channel the push to affiliate by putting his community onto me as a goal and checking in, and it’s the only way I think I could ever have pulled off the affiliate push. You can get a lot farther on Twitch by community-building and finding people you enjoy watching and chatting with than you can by following every algorithm-centered guide in existence. Participate in chats authentically with no expectation of shoutouts or repayment, be kind, and follow people’s stream rules and you’ll very often find people willing to reciprocate.

(Speaking of, you should follow twitch.tv/theloopywalrus because he raises money for charity in dumb funny ways and he’s going to do a hot tub stream at 1,000 followers, which I find hilarious and am very willing to put a finger on the scale for it in general but also for the help he’s given me!)

Lastly, you should take your chance to use any audience you have to the benefit of others too. Don’t just shut off your stream, go raid someone else even if you have 1 viewer. Use tools like shoutouts and such to build community and audience not just for yourself but for others, and you’ll often find that you grow together – it’s not a zero sum game with a winner and losers.

Twitch Isn’t A Hard Platform To Succeed On (For A Given Definition Of Success)

The vast majority of Twitch channels stream to no one, or to one person. Out of anywhere from 7.6-11 million channels total on Twitch (estimates vary but the monthly active is around 7.6 million with 11 million total), it doesn’t take much to be successful in a way that sounds really cool. Based on data from TwitchTracker, my channel is in the top 4.6% of active monthly channels, or top 3.17% of all channels. I’ve got 65 followers and an average concurrent viewer count of 4. It’s not necessarily that much or that successful, but if you put it into the broader context of the platform, it is massively successful. Most people just don’t promote or never find their footing – they chase the algorithm and do the “right” things at the cost of finding the essential spark of a channel – what makes them fun, what is fun to do, fun to watch, and how to build a community, and they end up in what is a fairly modern and sad statistic – that large percentage of Twitch channels showing something to no one.

Now, I mean, is being top 5% actually success in a broader sense? Not really, obviously. I’m not going to be a full-time living-earning streamer off the back of these numbers, nor could it be said that I am internet famous or anything funny like that. But I think it is easy to get lost in the idea that a stream of like 6 average viewers is a failure to connect with people, when in truth, reaching that level of activity is massive and puts you even higher than me, who is higher up than 95% of active channels with an average viewer count of 4. I think it’s easy to be discouraged or feel like success of any sort is a distant possibility at best, but with a little bit of well-focused work, you can be higher up than 90% of the other channels on the platform. That absolutely speaks to how fundamentally broken Twitch is as a platform, but that brokenness is also an advantage if you understand it – build social networks and engage with people directly to bring them back to your stuff instead of picking up Call of Duty 38 and streaming it alongside 25,000 other channels who are showing gameplay to no one. No shade to Call of Duty 38 either – you can get an audience for anything if the audience is there for you.

Consistency Matters More Than Anything

For someone who sucks at streaming regularly, I have sunk a lot of cost into streaming goodies. I have an XLR microphone and USB interface with good reviews, I have a mirrorless camera hooked up via HDMI capture with clean HDMI out for facecam, I have my desk surrounded in extra lights designed to pull autofocus on the camera into perfect view every time, I have accent lighting via LED kickers on the bottom of my desk that blast out blue to highlight my office, and all my collectibles are in shelves with puck lighting on them so they show up, sort of, on camera. I’ve optimized my stream quality, produced my own graphics in Blender and a sick stinger transition in After Effects, and I put a lot of effort off-stream into audio-balancing and testing in OBS to ensure everything is pristine and nice. And…none of that matters to my bottomline viewer metrics as much as just being live and getting on consistently.

Sure, you should care about production, you should make sure audio levels are balanced and the quality of your sound and video are crispy-clear, and you should have a fun set with a lot of interesting details that people can check out and be interested in – but for any of that to actually matter, you need to be seen by people in the first place, and there’s no ranking in the algorithm for stream visual or sound quality. None of the cool stuff means shit if no one is there to see it. Know how to make it look good and sound good, absolutely – read your guides and test your equipment and setup, especially when playing a new game on stream, and have some thought put into how you want to handle channel graphics and presentation – but they’re not pressing concerns up front when no one is there anyways. You can evolve and change as you go, and having an audience who actually offers feedback is the way to get there!


It was a fun month with a lot of positive outcomes, so I can’t say I regret the stream idea in the slightest. I have a better sense of how to do what I want on Twitch, how to appeal to people, but best of all, it was just fun for me. Since March, I’ve been on a much more limited schedule but working slowly through how best to proceed, and working on new things to maximize my time on Twitch – better scheduling, new channel graphics, channel point redeems since I never made any, and a focus on how to just have the most fun I can while live.

But I got to meet a lot of new people, expand my reach, and do some silly stuff like starting a Yakuza 0 playthrough and spending my last March stream on the Sonic murder-mystery visual novel game, and in the end, it’s the fun that matters, isn’t it?


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