Hold Off On Those Tags

As I’ve been using Delve, I’ve been paying particular attention to the tags streamers use to get a feel for the kind of content they are sharing and the kind of person they are. In the process, I’ve realized something; I pass more often than I peek. I suspect I’m not the only one. Twitch has gifted us with the ability to use up to ten tags on a stream, but more might not be better because people won’t use tags to find you, but they will use tags to filter you out. With that in mind, it might be better to stream with fewer tags.

People won’t use tags to find you,

but they will use tags to filter you out.

With the exception of accessibility tags, like ClosedCaptions, and a few hyper-specific tags like Programming and cpp, I find tags never really bring others into my channel anyway. I’m going to experiment with using fewer tags and see if maybe they might have been driving a few people away.

External Discovery?

I deleted my Twitter account (again) because promoting the channel on social media has had the same poor results for as long as I’ve been streaming, but this got me to thinking; a large portion of my viewer base is other streamers and their communities. This just shuffles around the viewers who are already on the platform. Attracting people to Twitch from outside of the platform benefits both Twitch and the channel, so how does one go about effectively attracting viewers from external sources?

Coding Streams Are Dead

It’s over for coding live on Twitch. There was a time an 8 hour coding stream would have outperformed an 8 hour gaming stream in live views by a ratio of 3:1. While they seldom generated returning regulars, they did generate a decent amount of follows. They got eyes on the channel from passersby like no other content I do.

That hasn’t been the case this year. The interest in coding streams was being generated by the work-from-home goldrush and the tech company hiring frenzy, both due to the pandemic, both over today.

I don’t know what this means for coding on the Observation Deck, but I do know I will be focusing less time and energy on Doing It Live than I used to.

Don’t Rob Yourself

I don’t care about growing.

Small Streamers Everywhere

I hear it all the time, and while I support those who want to stream just for fun, I think it’s a form of self-deception for many. It’s a way of forfeiting in advance, and I understand why. There are many dangers that come with wanting to grow. You can get greedy. You can become self-absorbed. You can lose the vibe your channel once had.

There are benefits to having a growth mindset, though. You get the satisfaction of achieving goals. Even better, you get to experience the way chat hits different at each level of growth. Streaming to twenty people has been a way, way different experience than streaming to two or three. While I do sometimes miss the quiet, peaceful streams of my first year, there are things I can do on stream and with my stream now that I have a community that didn’t make sense to do before. Don’t rob yourself of the opportunity to experience that. At least, don’t avoid it out of fear of failure.

Focus and Purpose

A defining characteristic of a successful streamer is being adaptable, being quick to respond to changes in trends. In March of this year, I announced to my community on Discord that I was pivoting the channel’s content to a Software and Game Development first, gaming second format.

At the time, this decision made sense. Most of my stats were three times higher for coding streams than for gaming streams (though, interestingly, long-term viewer retention wasn’t one of them). I reached a point where I had to follow what I called “the obvious path forward.” For the next month, I streamed development work on my own game, Balance.

In the months that have passed since, something has changed. While I don’t have a record of concrete numbers to back up what my intuition is telling me, the programming streams that I still frequent seem stagnant. The streamers seem burned out, and many of them are switching to gaming. My own coding streams still get more eyes on my channel, but the activity in chat is not there like it used to be. Now that the tech work and remote work gold rushes are over, and tech companies are laying off workers in droves, I think the surge in general interest in coding has waned, meaning I think it’s time to refine the earlier change to my content.

Balance was an intriguing idea, and learning Unity has been a satisfying experience, but I don’t see a purpose for the end result. I recall a phone call with a friend where I was explaining to her what Balance was. At one point she asked me what I plan to do with it when it’s done, and warned me what could come of making my hobby a chore. Honestly, I really don’t know what it is. Is it a hobby? Is it a product? It’s nothing. It has no purpose.

What purpose can I move forward with? Using my coding skills to create fun for my viewers is a top-tier value add to my channel and to my life as a whole. It also bridges the gap between the coding and gaming viewers, a long time goal of mine which I thought Balance was going to achieve, but it doesn’t seem to have.

Programming is no longer my “one true passion” in life, but I do still enjoy it. Twitch gives me a wonderful platform to enjoy it on, and if I execute just right, everyone will enjoy it.

I have Celeste.

I have Delve.

Let’s see what I can come up with next!


My numbers have just been total shit lately.


This was said in mid-May. May marks the tail end of the growth gold rush. Twitch has “seasons” for growth. These days, I plan my best content for January (immediately after New Year’s) and in November around Thanksgiving. The whole platform’s viewer count spikes during those times. There is a less pronounced spike in early spring, April and May.

The worst time to stream is Christmas. Anything near Christmas is a waste of time, though I still stream anyway just to stay consistent. The next worst time is summer; June through September is a slow, grueling decline for streamers everywhere.

This year I’m trying out a heatmap I made for Twitch’s busy times which has a schedule for what content I want to use to capitalize on them. So far, saving Outer Wilds and Subnautica for earlier in the year was an immediate success. Months later, I still have elevated numbers because of those streams and, more importantly, the time I chose to stream them.

Watch for trends, plan your content accordingly, and brace yourself for platform-wide lulls, and you’ll find yourself in a much better headspace.

My First Pom Poms With The Pom Pom Girl

I didn’t really want to, but I decided to bite the bullet and join the rest of ThePomPomGirl’s viewers learning to make pom poms. I thought, “Whatever, it’s one more thing I’ll know how to do.” I live in a house full of craft supplies. It’s costing me exactly $0.00.

Financial Times Are Changing

The viewer counts of almost everyone I follow are up. I’m happy for them! People who had five to ten viewers two months ago have fifteen to twenty right now, but I noticed another trend that doesn’t bode well: Streamers aren’t making money.

The massive gift sub bombs, the contagious cheering, the epic hype trains, it’s all largely a thing of the past. It caught my attention after a few generous folks started a hype train in my channel. I thought, “This rarely happens here.” Later, I thought, “Wait, this really doesn’t happen much anywhere anymore.”

Maybe it’s just the people I follow, but if it isn’t, I wonder what this means for the future of the Twitch community as a whole.