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Month 9 Report

Death of Another Livestreamer

I livestreamed on Twitch twice a day for seventy-six days. This after I swore up and down back in May of 2023 that I’d learned my lesson, and I was done with the whole affair.

That was before I purchased a house and felt the true guilt of having spent thousands of dollars on equipment specific to livestream production. As the days passed in the new studio, the desire to raise the green screen and turn on the web camera (Logitech C920, of course) strangled me.

I had to get it out of my system.

I devised a method of broadcast that would address everything that made me hate the process: subscriber-only recordings, subscriber-only chatroom with the maximum automatic moderation settings (so strong, in fact, that it blocks messages containing LMAO because of the A), and unscheduled but consistent and, most importantly, short and concise shows.

I had no interest in building—or rebuilding, as the case may have been—a “cuntmunity”. Handling comments from internet randoms and creeps is distracting, and the mewling pandering that such interactions reduced me to in the past disgust me. I wanted to perform, and not for the recognition or adulation of some faceless, nigh-invisible audience, but for the sake of performing.

And it worked. I was able to produce the shows with shocking regularity and at such a high quality that I was able to walk away from every session with a deep sense of self-satisfaction.

Then, after stopping the stream on the seventy-sixth morning, after not reading a single line of chat nor checking any of the metrics—the numbers, Mason, what do they mean?—I felt that I’d at last emptied myself of the need to justify the expense and acquisition of the gear. I’d said all I needed to say, regardless of who listened.

I was done.

And I have to say, as I sit here typing this up after two days of not livestreaming, that I feel an inviolable sense of calm. Because even though I’d nailed a program that eliminated all the previous feelings of disgust I’d had when broadcasting, I’d still been wasting my time.

I don’t believe I was wasting the audience’s time, though. I was providing dense shows packed with wisdom and humor. But I was doing things that I normally did “off stream” that significantly expanded their time investment. Reading the financial and local news, doing a crossword puzzle, and examining a full, twelve-game Steam Discovery Queue would take me less than twenty minutes on average if I didn’t have to read aloud and make faces into a web camera. Performing these things could eat two hours out of my morning.

And I’ll be honest: despite receiving an actual pay-day from Twitch for the first time in years and a swath of healthy donations, it just wasn’t worth it compared to other things I could be doing to generate wealth. Things like working on my writing, art, or working for minimum wage.

There’s a great amount of pleasure that one can derive from livestreaming, especially if that person has a knack for—or even just a misplaced interest in—performing. But that’s the other edge of the sword: pursuing that pleasure can lead to all manner of hidden, long-term detriments that aren’t realized until so much time has passed that our hapless ‘streamer wakes up one morning and realizes that actual years are gone, and they’ve missed countless opportunities to do better things.

I’m only glad I was able to get it out of my system in under three months.

There are one hundred and seventy-seven days until I have to start school. In that time, I need to produce a video game, get back up to speed with computer science, and publish a raft of fiction and poetry.

Wish me luck.

2024.06.09


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