Just like any other entertainer, streamers have a lot of things that they have to deal with and work around. There are unique challenges to this line of work, ranging from finding their niche to not being victimized by their own audience. Due to the very nature of what they do, these entertainers have a greater intimacy with their audiences than others in various media.
Sure, there are the challenges which you would expect, such as finding good help and determining what is going to be popular, but those are only a fraction of what needs to be taken into account. The more unusual ones often hinge somewhere between being unnerving to downright illegal. They are challenges others face, but not in the same way. Streamers are as human as the rest of us and they need to take care of themselves.
As an outsider looking in, we can only see one side of what streamers put up with. It is necessary to hear not only the side of the audience, but that of the entertainer as well. The opportunity arose to speak with GameDojo, a streamer on YouTube Gaming, who provided a lot of insight into what it is like to do what he does. Whenever his responses are featured, it will be explicitly mentioned. Here are some of the more unusual things which streamers have to put up with.
15 How Personal To Get
One of the hallmarks of streaming is the intimacy between the streamer and the audience. There is something quite relaxing about being invited into a person’s home to watch them do stuff that they enjoy doing. In letting people into your home, you agree to an expected level of familiarity and closeness. This can be extremely weird as it’s “real” and not like MTV Cribs. The intimacy which we’ve come to expect has opened the door for quite a number of issues.
Since some streamers are very open about their lives, some people will believe them to be a real life friend and not an entertainer. This is the root cause of many woes which may befall a streamer. Some viewers may become incredibly attached in the least healthy of ways.
14 A Crushing Fan
One of the pillars of the streamer’s house of troubles is when fans become obsessed with them. This obsession can take many forms, but each and every one of them is creepy. The best case when this happens is that the fan accepts the rejection, but there is always the possibility that it will only stoke the flames further. Whenever fans become overly attached to their hosts, weird, strange, and truly uncomfortable events may transpire.
Among the more normal things that crushing fans may do are spamming their chats, sending gifts worth considerable amounts of money, stalking, and other things which are not appropriate to mention here. The obsessions which some people come up with for total strangers are not healthy, for both the obsessing person and the object of obsession.
13 Saying No To Free Money
Here is an interesting question for all of you: would you be able to say no to someone giving you money? For the majority of us, that would be impossible, but for streamers, there comes a time when they have to do so. This is not because they do not want the money, but rather they do not want what comes attached to it. Tying this in with the obsessive behaviors of viewers who become too attached to the streamer, top donators often expect there to be some special privileges and access to the streamer. Whenever high donations come in, particularly from more fanatic fans, streamers have to take several things into account all at once. The unfortunate nature of this with some fans is that they will put themselves into severe debt to feed their obsession.
12 More Brazen Sexism
Although sexism is something that is not at all unique to anyone or any profession, there is a particular directness that streamers have to face. Female streamers are more likely to be seen as objects for sexual gratification with very blunt, direct, and explicit messages being sent their way. These messages are generally centered around asking the entertainer to strip or perform simulated actions, among other things. Much like what creeps on sites like Tinder and OKCupid will do, a number of the more disrespectful viewers will attempt to neg their host into doing things. In negging their hosts, there is a faint of hope of tearing down their mental and moral fortitude to coerce them into action. One of the more horrible ways these people will look to get what they want is through hacking and stealing compromising photos of the streamers.
11 Chatters Getting Too Friendly
Many streamers pride themselves on being able to have a strong bond with the community they worked so hard to build, but sometimes these relationships become a bit too open on the side of the viewers. Something that appears to be a recurring problem for streamers is that members of the audience will share way too much information about their personal lives. Sometimes they will try and use the streamer as free therapy, confusing the media personality as a friend and not what they really are. Those viewers who dump the totality of their woes on the streamer have misplaced faith in what their favorites can do for them. Others, perhaps the most common of these individuals, give extreme detail into their bodily functions, which is something no one really wants to read. The extraordinary comfort of these individuals makes watching and conducting a stream quite awkward.
Stalking is something that a lot of people are victim to; it is unfortunately a fairly common occurrence in the world. Since streamers are much more public figures than the vast majority of people, they have a greater propensity to fall prey to it. Although the GameDojo did not have a stalker per se, he still had an uncomfortable experience with one of his fans. The good news is that no harm came from it. Not everyone is as lucky. So long as adequate measures are taken, the risk is drastically reduced.
Me: "As a streamer, what are some of the more unusual fan/audience interactions that you've had?"
GameDojo: "I had a fan, in order to warn me how easily it was to find my real address, send me a new chair for my stream in the mail to my home address. He had good intentions, but it freaked my wife out a bit."
GameDojo would not be the first streamer to be subject to this, as others (such as Ellohime) have had people show up at their house!
9 Regular Irregularity
Streamers suffer from a regular schedule of irregular variability. Whether it is in terms of money, viewership, or just life, things can get rather crazy. The irregularity of their income from month to month makes it difficult for streamers to do what they do. Most cannot have streaming as their main source of income, so it is a labor of love. Sponsors and donations are the two main ways in which streamers generate revenue, but they do this from having unique personalities and performance styles. The amount of fun that the audience has is paramount to donations, but fun requires a little bit more work than you’d think. Something else that will determine the amount of donations is having successful gaming sessions. To try and get rid of all the irregularities, streamers have to go to extreme measures, with them sometimes acting the fool or just being quite extreme in their conduct.
8 Acting A Clown
We all love goofiness and fun when we watch our favorite entertainers, and streamers know this. Since streaming is a fairly “new” medium of entertainment, they have to figure out exactly what their niche is. Due to all of that, many streamers have taken to allowing their reactions to be more exaggerated than they normally would be. This is not to say that their reactions are not genuine, what is being said is that their reactions are less constrained than they may be otherwise. This is mostly relegated to high intensity games like Outlast and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Outside of their reactions, many streamers have taken to trying to be comedians while they perform. The general form of comedy that is shown is through absurdist antics. The absurdity of their routines paints them as being more than just a regular entertainer. Some of these entertainers will even take to trying to explain complex international foreign policy while dressed rather skimpily.
7 Unusually Sadistic Fans
The audience is both the greatest asset to a stream and its greatest obstacle. Sometimes fans are not as calm and complacent as others, assisting in keeping things going by adding to the intimacy, but this sometimes leads to unexpected suffering. Sometimes viewers and fans are sadistic, and this is seen most blatantly when streamers allow fans to pick their games via donations. Something that seems to be a universal trend is that we enjoy watching people play games that are so bad that they almost cause physical pain. One of the more blatant examples of this would be the GameSociety (formerly GameSocietyPimps) play through of Disneyland Adventures where it caused Aaron Yonda to have conniption fits. Other ways in which the sadistic whims of some viewers are shown are through excessive jokes at the streamer’s expense without any sort of threat of repercussion. Others will send mean spirited pranks for no reason but sick pleasure.
No matter who you are, it is necessary to balance the work, family, and personal aspects of your life; streamers are no exception to this. Many streamers work regular jobs and need to find equilibrium in all aspects of their lives. Life is perhaps the biggest challenge for a streamer.
Me: "What are some of the most difficult things when it comes to balancing your professional, family, and streaming lives?"
GameDojo: "Sleep. Most don’t believe me when I go through my daily routine. I stream at 10pm and go to about 2-2:30am every night. I’ll finally get to the bed around 3-3:30 and have to be up for work by 7:30-8. So this gives me 4-5 hours of sleep a night if I’m lucky. I’ve been doing this for two years straight and I’ve figured out a decent balance, but that little sleep with two young kids (2 and 6) makes for some rough afternoons. Then I have to manage to muster the energy for the nightly stream."
5 Targeting Age Groups
Sure, this is probably the more “normal” of the entries, but it deserves to be mentioned because it is hard to keep a stream appropriate for the target age group. Since most streamers are adults, things can go awry quite easily. Similar to public access television and radio, there are stipulations which must be adhered to according to most streaming services; too much skin and too much foul language may cause your servicer to withdraw their funding from your channel. Appearance is everything in streaming and so people need to be mindful.
When it comes to “age appropriateness” there are other concerns, but those once again lie with the audience. Whenever that bridge is crossed, there is a plethora of people who will seize the moment like a jackal. The main sources of any grief with this are parents and more brazen sexual harassment by viewers.
4 Dealing With Parents
Parents are one of the more finicky aspects of streaming, as some will come by and praise the streamer for providing something that they feel comfortable letting their kids watch, and others will pop in and vehemently condemn what’s going on. Often times the parents who enter a stream or message a streamer in order to condemn them, do so with the intent of unleashing a flurry of insults and body shaming on the entertainer; the latter is more common with women and overweight men. It isn’t so much shocking as it is just disruptive and not conducive to anything productive.
Whenever streamers have to interact with parents, should they come rage-filled or with praise, a level of caution has to be implemented. There are few things worse than having an army of angry folk with money harassing and spamming a channel.
3 Calling On The Ladies Of The Night
This one is probably the most difficult entry to talk about due to its sensitive nature. Sometimes, fans enjoy sending gifts to streamers and, sometimes, they like sending pranks. There is a rather fine line between the two, particularly when one of the viewers takes it upon their shoulders to place an order for a courtesan to arrive at the home of a streamer. For example, Twitch streamer Gross Gore was subject to such treatment. This is one of the more unsettling things that can possibly happen. How would you really go about explaining this to anybody? There are a lot of legal repercussions that could potentially happen to the streamer and the viewers when this happens.
Actions like that serve to sever the relationship between the entertainer and the audience. It is uncouth and is a pretty sleazy thing to do.
2 Becoming Well Acquainted With The Police
Just because a streamer becomes well acquainted with the local police department doesn’t mean that they broke the law. In most cases, streamers will get to know them due to serious threats of stalking and illegal actions that viewers may bring to the table, like the unsolicited ordering of a call girl. Most streamers recognize the police as being there for them when they need it. Some people do stupid things on stream, like buying drugs or taking them, but most do not.
This could fit under the unusually sadistic fans section, because some jerks think it’s funny to get innocent people “Swatted” on stream. This has happened to a fair amount of people such as Mhova. Whenever this happens, it is not only a waste of tax payer money, but it can traumatize undeserving people.
1 Of Food And McMissions
We all need to eat; it’s just a fact of life that all who live must eat. Streamers are destined to eat on camera at some point or another; however, there are a few who will take it an extra mile. For some, that extra distance is taking the show on the road and going on a McMission. For the uninitiated, a McMission is when you go with a party of people to McDonald’s. That may not sound exciting, but it is rather amusing to watch your favorite streamer take an Uber ride over to the nearest McDonald’s, only to see that they are not able to serve him, so he prepares the last of his Dino-Nuggets. There is something oddly satisfying in watching something that mundane transpire. Most streamers who eat on camera get take out and sometimes the take out is not by their choice, thanks to rather enterprising viewers.