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Guide: Understanding Twitch

Updated: 5 days ago

Twitch is a big and complicated platform when you first look at it, especially coming from simpler platforms like Picarto, Appearin or older grade streaming sites. First we'll look at your dashboard, so you can manage the back end of your stream, then we'll go into some etiquette and Twitch culture to help you settle in and make the most of the website.


Find the dashboard on https://dashboard.twitch.tv/u/YOURUSERNAME/stream-manager

You can click and drag to move the windows around and position things to your liking. All you really need to see is the chat and the activity feed.



Top Bar: These are all your stream stats. When live, it will show how long you've been live, how many people are currently viewing the stream, as well as a coloured line graph of your bitrate (stream stability). You can simply click on any of the numbers to hide them (like I have done on my subscriber count, for privacy). Many people find it helpful to hide their viewcount while streaming, so they don't get anxious about the number of people watching.


Left Bar: These are your back-end menus. Even I get lost in here sometimes 😅 These will take you to other pages with stats and settings you may want to look through for your stream. For example, Content is where you can keep track of your uploaded videos and clips. Viewer Rewards is where you manage your emotes and chat badges. Take your time to click around this menu and explore your settings.


Chatbox: There are a few buttons at the bottom of this box. The smiley face is the emote menu, where you can browse the global Twitch emotes, as well as all the emotes you've unlocked by subscribing to people's channels. The diamond next to it is the "bits" menu, where you can manage your Twitch wallet. The little yellow drop will look different for you in every stream you visit; this is the Channel Points menu, where you can customise rewards for viewers who spend time watching the stream.


Quick Actions: These can be useful to keep handy, especially if you want to take polls or run ads. You can add new actions by clicking the + and browsing what Twitch has available.


"Edit Stream Info": You'll want to edit this info every time you're ready to go live. This is where you change the title of your stream, as well as the category and tags, which are set by Twitch and not customisable.

As an art streamer, you'll want the category to be Art, but if you ever play a game, the category will be the game name.

The tags are incredible useful for sharing what kind of art you're making (digital vs traditional, comics, emotes, painting, sculpting etc), but also let you share information about the stream, like whether you're LGBT+ or part of any other cultures or communities.


Twitch Culture!

There's a lot to Twitch that separates it from other websites, not only as a streaming site but as a social platform too. I'll try to touch on inside jokes and broader site memes that may help you make your way around.


Hosting: You can "host" another stream whenever you're not live, which basically displays that person's stream on your page, where your video would normally go.

Any viewers who are on your page will add to the hostee's viewcount. Anyone on your page will also be able to talk in your chat while they watch, and it wont show up in the hostee's chat.

To host somebody, type /host <username> in your own chat.


Raiding: Raiding is an extension of hosting, which started as a community concept that became built into Twitch's code. It's a norm to raid somebody when you're ending your own stream, to give your viewers something else to watch, and promote other streamers to your community.

In the olden days, a raid was defined by hosting someone and getting all your viewers to manually visit their page at the same time. Usually they would also all post the same "raid message" in the target's chat upon arrival, which would be a slogan or meme. It's meant to be spammy and exciting, and is considered a key method of support and flattery on Twitch.


These days, Twitch has made it easy to raid. When you're ending your stream, type /raid <username> in your own chat, and a countdown will appear for everyone to get ready. You don't have to come up with a raid message, and you don't have to spam your target's chat, but it's part of the fun. Simply click "raid" when you're ready to go, and everyone participating in the raid will automatically be redirected to the target, and their stream will be hosted on your page.


Emotes: Twitch lives and thrives off emotes. There's a large range of Global Emotes (anyone can use them) many of which are Twitch staff or famous streamers. Affiliates and Partners also get their own channel emotes, which you can use if you subscribe to their channel. There are also Twitch add-ons (browser extensions) that let you make your own channel emotes, but they're limited to your own chat and only visible to people who have the extension enabled.


Twitch Prime: Twitch Prime is a perk you get from Amazon Prime, and gives a bunch of perks including exclusive game downloads and in-game items. Prime users get one free subscription to spend every month (free for them, but still pays the streamer the full amount!), exclusive Prime global emotes, and a Prime badge next to your name in chat. Be sure to always use your Prime sub to support your favourite streamer, it's free money!


Bits/Cheering: Twitch has an integrated donation system in their website called cheering. The act of donating is called cheering, and the Twitch currency is called bits. You can buy the bits or watch ads to earn them for free. Every 1 bit you give to a streamer is worth 1 US cent. There's a small fee upon buying them from the Twitch store, but that fee is incurred upon the viewer, so streamers get 100% of the bit's value. Receiving 1000 bits is an easy $10, no fine print.

Cheering also grants viewers a special badge next to their name to showcase how much they’ve cheered over time, and some channels have "bit tier" emotes as well. Cheering is typed into chat and appears as an animated emoji for others to see.

Read the full FAQ on cheering here: https://help.twitch.tv/customer/portal/articles/2449458


Clips: You can record a moment of a stream by hitting the clip button on the player. This takes the last 30 seconds or so, and captures it in a video. It’s great for immortalising funny moments and accomplishments, and they serve as a great highlight for a stream. Streamers love it when you clip for them!


Bots and Commands: Many streams have a chat bot which will handle commands with information for the viewers. Commonly found bots are Nightbot and Moobot, but there are dozens of third party bots as well as custom made ones with unique names. Commands have an exclamation point at the beginning and are custom from stream to stream. They may link to a streamers' websites, give some information about the content, respond with a funny command, or show how long the stream has been live. Learn to set up your own bot later on! It sounds daunting but they're super easy.


Chat Extentions

FrankerFaceZ: FFZ is the primary and add-on for Twitch customisation. You can tweak your Twitch interface to make it smoother for you, and FFZ allows you to upload 25 of your own emotes for your channel! You can unlock an extra permanent 25 emote slots by making a once-off $5 donation.


FrankerFaceZ Add on Pack: FFZ:AP adds all of BTTV's emotes to FrankerFaceZ, so you don't have to have multiple extensions installed.


Better Twitch TV: BTTV is still a widely used extension, but many are switching to FFZ for cleaner code and the ease of the FFZ Add on Pack. There are many "BTTV Global" emotes (anyone can use/see them if they have BTTV installed) used all over the site, primarily pepe faces and other popular memes on Twitch. BTTV allows you to upload only 4 of your own emotes for your channel, and lets you have one global emote if you pay a $5 monthly subscription.


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