Streaming as an Introvert (Blaugust #5)

psycheplays_blaugust15-day-5_streaming-as-an-introvert

Image source: FreeImages.com

I have been streaming a lot recently, and something that came up in discussion the other day was how streaming can be very tiring. I know a lot of fellow streamers experience this, and in my experience, being an introvert contributes to this feeling a lot. I’m going to talk about my experience streaming as an introvert, as well as give you some tips on how you can do it too!

I get excited to stream, because I love hanging out with the people I’ve met through Twitch. I love sharing my gaming experiences with other people, and talking to the people who hang out in my chat gives me the same joy I imagine many people experience when they go to their local pub and bump into some friends.

But even so, I get really tired and need to recharge after streaming. The longer I stream, the more exhausted I feel, but the enjoyment balances that out. It has got much better now that I’ve been streaming more regularly for the last few months, but working a full-time job where I’m around people all day long means that sometimes I would be happy to curl up in bed and just read or play a game quietly to myself without having to think too much when I get home in the evening.

I am also relatively socially awkward on top of being an introvert, meaning that I often feel a little nervous when talking to people. What I found most interesting was that streaming has helped me to overcome this; I’m talking on a camera to people I sometimes don’t know at all, or people I’ve met through the stream, and that has helped me develop more confidence. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start!

While I don’t know many ways to improve social awkwardness or nerves and I’m not the biggest streamer out there, here are five tips for streaming as an introvert, that I found helped me a lot:

1. Don’t overdo it.

It’s true that consistency is key for streaming, and is a great way to build a community that you can rely on to come hang out with you, but know your limits. Try to stick to a schedule, but don’t dive in the deep end and try to stream three or four times a week, as honestly you’re more likely to quit after a few weeks due to it feeling like it’s too much. Start off with once a week til you feel comfortable increasing the frequency!

2. Aim for one hour at a time, rather than longer streams.

Similarly, don’t try to overdo your one stream by shooting for three hours or longer and kicking yourself because you’re knackered after an hour or two. I started with streaming for an hour, then increased it over time as I felt comfortable, and now I commonly stream for three or more hours at a time a few times a week and don’t feel half-dead afterwards.

3. Try to have a familiar “face” in your chat.

If you have a friend or partner who could come hang out in your chat, that helps immensely. I didn’t really have this when I started, but over time one person stuck around and would show up every stream, and came to be a really great friend. T then also agreed to make more of an effort to sit in chat and keep an eye on things, and he’s helped me feel comfortable talking while I game because I feel like there’s someone there I’m talking to, instead of just an empty room. This helps you build a viewerbase, because you’re more engaging naturally, while also helping you feel comfortable.

4. Don’t be afraid to take a break!

If you need to walk away from your stream for 5 – 10 minutes just to get a breather, do so! I used to stop my stream when I got overwhelmed, but now if I feel like I need a break, I just take a moment and tell everyone I’ll be back after I grab a drink. The change of pace and location helps, so get up and walk away from your desk for a few. If you do this, having a “BRB” screen can be pretty helpful. You may lose viewers while you’re away, but don’t worry too much about it.

5. Talking to people online is easier than you think!

It won’t feel natural at first, but talking to a webcam or even just your microphone if you don’t want to use a webcam (I do recommend a cam if you can though!) is a lot easier than face-to-face for a lot of people. It’s perfectly normal for it to feel awkward for the first few attempts, but now it feels really easy for me and I don’t even feel embarrassed or weird any more.

I hope this helps. If there are other introverts out there who enjoy streaming, what things do you find help you out with streaming?

If you want some advice on how to improve your Twitch channel in general, check out Twitch 101 by Brotatoe!

  • The very idea makes me shrink away in terror, though I do like to take part in them as an observer. Fortunately our internet is too poor to ever allow me to play AND stream so I don’t need to even wonder what it would be like.

    • I promise, it seems a lot scarier than it is! For the first little while it was REALLY tough for me to overcome the nerves and the dread, but now I absolutely love streaming and the people I’ve met through it!

      I hope you get to experience it sometime, but at least you don’t ever have to force yourself to try if you’re not ready!

  • Pam

    Really good post. I’ve tried streaming a few times, but have had a hard time with it. My biggest problem is that I’m quiet. I don’t have a running dialogue when I play games (this also makes any Let’s Plays I’ve tried extremely boring). I think once you’ve got an audience that you can converse with things would get better, but it’s hard to get over that hump. Starting out streaming you’re likely to have only a couple people watching, and no one talking. Then it gets uncomfortable as you feel the need to entertain people but don’t really know what to say. I like your idea of having a friend join the chat.

    • Thanks so much, I really hope it helps! I find the best thing I did to help myself with that, was I tried to talk TO the person (or people, if there were a few) who were there, even if there was only one or two. Instead of making it about broadcasting out to a wider audience, talk directly to that one person as if they’re the only person there and you’re sharing your gaming with them.

      It starts to come much more naturally after you do that for a while, and people will start sticking around more and of course interacting more as time goes on. It’s a slow process at first but as you start picking up the pace, it’ll get even easier!

  • Awesome post. I tried streaming a few times and just didn’t enjoy myself. I felt awkward throughout the whole thing and exhausted afterwards and it wasn’t fun for me, so I decided that streaming isn’t for me and opted for Forge instead. o/

    • Thanks Jae! I felt the exact same when I started out and it was really difficult for me to overcome that bump. And honestly, streaming isn’t for everyone, and Forge provides an excellent middle-ground that allows you to share to a community that isn’t there for the vocal interaction!

      If you ever do decide to give regular non-Forge streaming a go again, I hope it is a better experience. It took me a while to get over the issues I had (I think you might remember when I was very anxious about it) but I wish I’d stopped enforcing false rules upon myself, it would’ve made me rebel less against it haha.

      • Honestly, the people who DID show up to my streams were lovely but I didn’t enjoy it. I did find one hour was about all I could handle though, so that point rings true!

        • Yeah I think sometimes it’s just not enjoyable for people, and that’s completely understandable. Forge is an excellent middle-ground and I really enjoy using it when I don’t feel like getting prepped to do a full stream.

  • I’ve enjoyed my Binding videos, if only because I have discovered I don’t hate describing the game as I play so much. I would love to try streaming proper one day.

    • I hope you do sometime, I would enjoy watching!

  • Gryph

    I haven’t streamed in ages because I don’t want to push my laptop, but taking breaks is always a huge one I forget. (Also introverted here, social stuff is draining even if it is fun.) I think I feel obligated to keep entertaining people? I have to put effort into reminding myself it’s ok to take a few minutes. Great post!

    • Exactly! I have fun, but I can still feel really drained. And I also feel obligated to be entertaining, but over time I realised the people who stick around do it because *gasp* they like talking to me, not because I’m entertaining. Maybe as I grow it’ll be more important to be entertaining, but for now this does work!

      Thanks so much!