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Understanding Twitch

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 Twitch.tv/USERNAME/dashboard.

There are a lot of boxes here. Too many. You can minimise the ones you don't need and move them aside once you've gotten the hang of what everything does. To start off basic, here's what my dashboard looks like, with everything else tucked aside:

Stats: If you want to keep an eye on your numbers while you're live, this will show you how many people are currently viewing the stream, how long you've been live for, and how many clips have been made (more on that later). You'll also be able to see your total views, follower count, and current subscribers. Click on any one of these numbers to hide it from view.

Chat: This is where to keep in touch with your viewers! You can also pop this out of the page if you only want to view the chat, by clicking on the cog in the bottom left corner. Please keep an eye on your chat while you're streaming, this is how people talk to you!

Stream Information: Change your stream title (recommended each time you stream, so people know what you're doing and can clearly see from the directory too!), change your category (Creative if you're making art, otherwise this will be the name of whatever game you're playing), and if you want you can add communities to help people find you. Communities are just more specific directories that viewers can find you in. Since all Creative streams are clumped into one, it's recommended you use communities to specify whether you're drawing, painting, making comics, sculpting, sewing etc.


Other boxes on the dashboard can help you monitor your stream quality, any extensions you might be using, and other specific customisations you might not have set up yet.


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 too.


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. Here's a look at my Twitch page, while I'm hosting the official BobRoss stream

Any viewers who are on your page will add to the hostee's viewcount! You can also chat in your own chat, and it won't show up on the hostee's page. We'll sometimes watch Bob Ross together after I've finished a stream, without the clutter of Bob's crazy busy chat.

Since hosting adds your viewers onto the hostee's, it's considered a kind act and a courtesy to host others, especially when you've just finished streaming. It's a nice way to "send people over" to another stream when you're done, which creates exposure for more streams and introduces your viewers to other content.

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


Raiding: Raiding is an intense form of hosting, where your viewers will all post one unified message in the hosted stream's chat. It's as intense and spammy as it sounds, but usually only lasts for a minute to raise the hype of a big host from another channel. Raiding became so integrated with the community that Twitch made it an official feature, which you can read more about here. Many of my closest community members have found my stream through a raid, and I've met many amazing channels and friends because I've randomly raided a stream from the Creative directory. Here's a recorded raid reaction from a friend!


Partnership: Partners are approved Twitch streamers who have a consistent rate of growth, high viewers, good quality content and community values. They have a purple tick next to their name by default (which they can hide if they choose to) to showcase the fact. Many Partners are full time streamers or make a living off their stream. There are Partnership exclusive features like subscriptions, bits, transcodes, ad revenue and support priority that make Partnership a great streaming goal. However, some of these features have been introduced at a limited capacity to Affiliates as well. [Partnership Requirements] [Partnership FAQ]


Affiliates: Affiliation is the step before Partnership and was introduced as a stepping stone to allow smaller streamers to still make money off their stream. Affiliates get subscribers and bits as well, but at a smaller and more limited capacity. The requirements for affiliate are basically streaming consistency and steady growth on a much more manageable scale. [Affiliate Requirements]


Emotes: Twitch lives and thrives off emotes. There's a large range of Global Emotes (anyone can use them) which are largely comprised of faces and expressions, many of which are Twitch staff or famous streamers. You'll likely see Kappa around a lot, and is essentially a troll face for joking and sarcasm. Affiliates and Partners also get their own channel emotes, which you can use if you subscribe to their channel. Affiliates are locked in at 1 emote for each subscription tier, whereas Partners have the option to unlock more emote slots depending on how many subscribers they have. 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 linked to Amazon Prime and gives Prime users a bunch of perks you may see talked about a lot. Prime users get one free subscription to spend every month (free for them, but still pays the streamer the full amount!), as well as no ads, exclusive Prime global emotes and a Prime badge next to your name in chat.


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 (USA only, but is rolling out to other countries). Every 1 bit you give to a streamer is worth 1 US cent, but there is a small fee incurred upon the viewer when buying bits from the store. Cheering also grants viewers a special badge next to their name to showcase how much they’ve cheered over time, and gives viewers something fun to unlock with their money. 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 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.


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.


EXTENSIONS

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:AP. 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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