Social networks, video sharing websites and streaming platforms have reached high popularity within recent years. These staggering stats might give you an impression on how big these platforms have become:
- 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
- Almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day
Another one of these popular platforms is Twitch. We probably shouldn’t explain the properties of this platform to you, because you probably already know all the solutions! From simultaneously watching in-game actions, to interacting with the streamer and their viewers by using the chat, Twitch lets gamers and their followers engage in real time online. This platform has also got some dizzeling statistics, for example: every month there are over 4.5 million different streamers who go live!
What is a filter bubble?
Having so much content is a blessing, but also a curse. There are many different options for consuming content, but that makes it hard to find it the best content for you. For example: How much time does it take, before you find a Netflix movie that fits your mood?
That’s why web companies strive to tailor their content to their visitors’ personal tastes. This has a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a “filter bubble” and don’t get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview.
The filter bubble basically means that an algorithm will only surrounded us by people we like and content that we agree with.
A study from the Swedisch Umeå University concluded that Twitch has its own “Filter Bubble”. According to their results, the majority of content was from young white male gamers while other research on the field of gaming culture shows a more equal split between genders.
Can you beat the filter bubble from impacting you?
You might wish to avoid such an algorithm, if you like to discover new streamers or new games. However it’s very difficult – almost impossible – to beat the algorithms at their own game and completely cut out the algorithms. Technical tricks (like burning your cookies, going incognito or using a VPN to change your geolocation) in an attempt to “pop” the filter bubble can only make a marginal difference since most of your preferences will be associated to your account.
Remember; the business model of these major tech companies relies on identifying you and your preferences, so outsmarting them will be nearly impossible.
More important: Can you use filter bubbles to your advantage?
The marketers at twitch use these filter bubbles to their advantage, to draw us in to consume more and longer content or to show us relevant advertising messages. That makes us think: If you can’t beat them, join them!
Most search algorithms seek out profiles that:
- Are complete and contain a lot of information
- Have a lot of friends in common
- Have common interests
Here are a few tips to hack these bubbles into their advantage, by making sure your channel and your content pops up in as many searches as possible:
- Make sure your channel stands out. You can do this by telling your story. Be public about yourself, highlight your games, and mention your social media accounts.
- Use tags. The twitch developers themselves confirmed that this impacts their bubble.“Tags will also help us recommend streams based on their past viewing. For example, someone who has watched a lot of streams tagged as ‘Competitive’ may see recommendations for more streams using that Tag.”
If this will impact you, this will most certainly impact others as well.
- Network with other streamers in chat. Like every social media platform (Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) your network and your friend-list has an impact on the algorithm and who’ll see your content. If you play your cards right, you’ll even make some meaningful connections and you’ll be able to co-create content with other streamers (getting hosted, co-streaming, cross-promoting, exchange shoutouts, and more).
Please remember etiquette: The goal is NOT to spam or advertise your channel. If you make a meaningful connection, they’ll probably view your channel & watch your content as well.
- Carefully pick the games you play: Be strategic when choosing a video game to stream; Playing an unpopular game will likely result in no one watching, playing a popular game might leave you competing for attention against a hundred or so other streamers. For best results, browse Twitch and look for games that have between 10 and 20 people streaming. This will get you to rank higher in the search results, but you won’t be lost in between the streamers.
- Simulcasting/syndicating – simulcasting your Twitch stream to other sites – such as Spawnpoint.be – is a great way to reach a larger audience whom might have never heard from you before. The best thing? It requires no active and additional work after you are added to this website.
- Discord – Discord is a online chat platform, mostly used by gamers with the goal to create a group of dedicated gamers who can socialize and discuss games with others.
Many streamers are using Discord to create an active community group for their subscribers and followers, to build and loyal audience.
However, there are groups dedicated to a specific niche, focussed on helping and connecting streamers who wouldn’t have connected because of the filter bubble.
The same etiquette applies: The goal is NOT to spam or advertise your channel. It’s to create a meaningful connection, which will work towards your advantage in the long run.