With around four weeks left until our Extra Life 2016 Twitch marathon, we’ve been thinking a lot more about online teams, communities, and tribes. You see, we know they work and that they’re the only way to cut through the noise and unfair advantages huge brands have.. Yet the comfort people find in anonymity and lurking has become a major barrier.
Every week, we receive hundreds, if not thousands, of solicitations from folks that want to advertise with us, hire us, sell us a product, or join our stream team. The latter has become particularly prominent, which is great, but folks think all it takes to join a team is a quick tweet or comment. On Twitch, stream teams are essentially the following:
- People join to siphon viewers from others.
- They name drop when it’s convenient for them and makes them look good.
- Individual team members rarely interact or acknowledge each other.
- The people at the top get richer while the folks at the bottom continue to struggle.
- You wouldn’t know they were a team if it weren’t for the “playing as” text.
- Everyone is too busy promoting their own stuff to share and play nice.
- The rich get richer, the poor get poorer (hmmm, that seems to be a recurring theme).
This is a terrible model and we are setting out to fix it, whether we’re partnered with Twitch or not. The first phase is education. We’re growing awareness about the abuse and ignorance that keeps us little people struggling. Meanwhile, we’re identifying the best practices to make us as efficient as possible – so we have more free time to nurture relationships and do the little things you can’t automate!
Of course, we can create tools, systems, and SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) but it still falls upon the individuals to live out those values and do the work. I know I’ve been on the soap box a lot lately but I hope that I impress upon everyone just how important what we are doing really is. It’s a long road ahead, certainly, but we’ve had big wins and will continue to push forward. Let’s briefly look at what we hope to accomplish as we head into 2017 and beyond!
What Is A Team Anyway?
Perhaps this is a loaded topic to tackle right now so let’s say what a team is not. Teams fail when the individuals are only in it for themselves. Teams fail when there’s no effort to unite under common goals, core values, principles, and game plans. Teams fail when they only exist in name or in a single ecosystem/platform.
Your high school coach was right: there is no “I” in team.
When I look at your average Twitch stream “team”, I can’t help but FailFish (a.k.a. FacePalm / SMH) because it’s just glorified name-dropping and mooching. You’d be better off just putting a name tag on your shirt that says “Hi My Name Is Nobody”. That’s effectively what you’re doing though, in this case, the name tag would be more effective because at least it would get some laughs.
We’ve all been bamboozled at some point in our lives, especially if we get THAT desperate. Some people sell you dreams and empty promises, only to bait-and-switch ya. It makes it hard to trust the right people but, if we do not educate ourselves and unite, the rich will continue to get richer.. And, well, you know the rest.
Taking The Extra Little Steps
Imagine briefly that you are running a marathon. The finish line is 30 feet away. You’re tired, your legs are heavy spaghetti, you’re winded, but victory is within grasp. No one else is within sight. Instead of walking slowly there, you just stop and sit down. You give up after hours of pushing forward.
You wouldn’t do that, right? Well, sadly, that’s what people do all the time: they give up right before they are on the verge of a major breakthrough.
We’re not asking folks to do a 10-mile marathon with us. We just want everyone to take small baby steps towards common goals. It’s really simple if you realize that there are no magic bullets or shortcuts. It’s for your benefit, not just ours. That said, success really is a marathon, not a sprint, so you have to stay diligent and keep pushing forward, even when it looks like you’ll never get there.
What are some of the little steps Twitch stream teams can take together? I’m glad you asked! These are little things that Twitch stream team members and anyone with ambition can and SHOULD take advantage of:
- Connect and communicate via common channels such as Facebook groups, Discord chat rooms, forums, and Twitter chats.
- Collaborate on content outside of Twitch: YouTube, podcasts, blogs, etc.
- Set up local meetups and coordinate convention coverage.
- Leave a comment every now and then to encourage those who need/appreciate it most.
- Engage with other channels in significant ways beyond raids and quick pop-ins.
- Speak more highly of others than you do yourself.
- Reward and engage your audience outside of Twitch.
- Let other team members know about your plans so we can support you.
- Leave a review on iTunes, Yelp, Google Places, or wherever appropriate.
- Curate content more than you share your own (it matters for SEO and trust alike).
- Involve everyone in everything possible – you don’t have to do it alone!
We’ve seen little things like this take content creators from zero to hero. More importantly, not only do they get partnered but they also grow massive momentum and attract the right opportunities. It’s not just about having a huge audience. Nonono.. When you are engaging in the right activities, you’ll have special things to plug people into.
Twitch Stream Teams Done Right
Speaking of baby steps, Twitch streamers struggle with this. Often, they’ll focus on silly goals like 10K followers, 1K concurrent viewers, and dollar amounts for over-priced gaming gear. Yes, they’re silly if that’s all you focus on.
The real value is in the little things people skip out on. We list some of them in our forums thread on stream team and collaboration best practices. Rather than waiting ’til you get picked up by a huge advertiser, get your eSports team sponsored, or open up your gaming house, why not take advantage of immediate opportunities and celebrate the small wins?
It’s easy to be seduced by the more attractive goals but the little things provide stepping stones to get there. It’ll keep you and your collaborators driven. It’ll also help show more gratitude so you don’t lose the folks who were there from day one. Think more in terms of building loyalty and making friends wherever you go, rather than screaming down into the streets from atop of a skyscraper.
If we learned anything from Suicide Squad, I’d hope it’s the lesson that heroics come in unexpected ways and places. More often than note, the truest real-life heroes are the people you’d least expect. The problem with big screen heroics is that they focus on the huge moments when, really, the wars are won one little moment at a time, not in one fell swoop. The Suicide Squad is a team that shouldn’t work together but, once they unite for a common cause and put their differences aside, they do amazing things together. Those types of stories exist IRL, too, but we sweep them under the rug because they’re not sexy like the “overnight” success stories that get reported the most.
What we want to do with Twitch streams is have a common channel and group events like community game nights, charity fundraising, and podcast panels. We want to establish that elusive synergy you hear about at corporate retreats and team-building events. Let’s go beyond our individual channels and do amazing things, rather than copying what everyone else is doing. It’s time to unite and do something fresh – even if it’s crazier than a clown-faced sex doll in poom-poom shorts!
Extra Life 2016
This year we’re doing Extra Life as a team and we’re really excited to do something amazing. We’d love to raise over 10K as a team. That’ll be difficult given our current pace but we have the audience, traffic, and advertising partners.. It just seems everyone is caught up in their own little bubbles of “stuff”, consumed with themselves and all the content out there.
The grind and busy work never ends if you don’t try something new.. Maybe it’s time to break from that, if even for just a few days? What do you have to lose [other than the time you’re wasting already]?
What we ask right now is that, if you’re even remotely curious about joining our team, sign up for our Extra Life squad. You’re not contractually obligated to do anything but it will encourage others to throw in with us as we do something bigger than any one of us. It’s a great cause and a wonderful opportunity to present a unified front, not just as GeekyAntics but as the geeky community! #GeeksUnite
Please consider donating today and/or joining our team. You can also use the graphics here to share via Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and beyond.. Or promote on your own channels, blogs, sites, etc. Let’s spread the word.