When I started live streaming 5-6 years ago, I did it because I wanted to find and build a community. I was lonely. I didn’t have a lot of friends, aside from my girlfriend and two other people, and felt increasingly isolated and in need of a social outlet. I saw live streaming as that solution.
And it was. For a while.
For a few years I had a small but loyal group of followers who I built a community around. I didn’t play games in my live streams back then. I just talked to people about their days and I tried to encourage them to practice kindness whenever possible. People started calling me “Twitch Dad” or “TD”. (Twitch was the live streaming platform that I started on.) I would listen to peoples problem and offer advice. (90% of the time my advice was “I’m not a therapist. This is something you should talk to a therapist about.”.) It was a lot of fun and I made some nice friends.
Then things started to massively slow down during the pandemic. I started getting WAY less viewers. The pandemic created more competition in live streaming and this spread out the average amount of new viewers so thin that I wasn’t getting 99% of what I had seen before. This is when I realized that my discoverability on Twitch, was almost non existent.
I also started to think that the problem was me, or at least the content that I was promoting. I started to tell myself that people didn’t want to just watch me talk about the same things over and over again. Be mindful, practice kindness, affirm your own self worth. Wash, rinse, repeat. I started telling myself that I needed to find a better way to bring them in.
So I started playing games in my live stream.
I told other and myself at the time, that I was trying a new approach. Lure people in with games, talk to them about the importance of kindness. The truth is, I was tired of sitting for 90% of the time in my live stream by myself or talking about the same things over and over. So I used the excuse of a “new approach” to justify my killing time by playing games. I even switched from Twitch to YouTube blaming the lack of discoverability on Twitch and not where it belonged. With me.
YouTube wasn’t any better because I didn’t do all of the things that I needed to do to gain more viewers. I wasn’t creating clips of my streams for YouTube Shorts. I wasn’t creating longer clips either. I wasn’t self promoting like I knew that I needed to. And thru it all I kept feeling less and less motivated. My streaming schedule started becoming erratic. I went from streaming 5 days a week for 4 hours each day, to streaming 1 or 2 days a week for 2 hours. I found myself looking for excuses not to stream.
The truth is, the real reason my viewers left, the real reason I started making excuses not to stream, was because I lost the passion for it. I was there going thru the motions, but it left me feeling unfulfilled. I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do when I started all of this. I stopped building a community because I believed what I had told myself, that I wasn’t entertaining enough, and that my content was stale. I was stale. I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do. I wanted to connect with people. I wanted to talk with people about their passions. I wanted to be a force of positivity and kindness in the world.
But I wasn’t doing that. I’m old and who want’s to watch me anyway? So why bother trying?
Here’s the thing about that. I hate that little truth. I hate that I gave up on myself and my viewers. I hate the fact that I didn’t try harder. I hate that I stopped believing in myself because I thought people wouldn’t care about a 53 year old man trying to make a difference. That I didn’t try to innovate. That I just slowly quit. I want to feel like I did when I first started. I want to talk to people, to share the lives of others. I want to share myself. I want to know others and be known by others. I want to enjoy it as a creative outlet again. I don’t want to give up.
I’ve recently found a new service that can kick up my live streams to a new level. I can bring live guests in easily, multi stream to different platforms, have banners, highlight comments, and do it all from my browser, while controlling it from my tablet. It’s a little expensive (around $19 a month annually) but it stream lines and makes a lot of things that I was trying to do on my own, easier. It’s inspiring me to dive into live streaming seriously again and do something more and bigger then what I was doing before.
I want to give it another try. I want to believe that there’s an audience for my content. I want to believe that I can do better this time and follow thru with things that help promote it. I don’t want to feel like I do now. A failure.
So I’ve come up with a new plan. New content that I think will be entertaining and affirming. Something that if I stick to it and keep plugging along, will help me create that community again.
I just need to be more mindful and not let doubt creep in and kill my passion again.