What is Twitch? Everything you need to know about the livestreaming platform
(Thu, 28 Oct 2021)
You already do your online shopping on Amazon. You're watching the latest movies on Prime Video. You're asking Alexa to play your favorite songs.
Amazon has already seeped into every facet of your digital life. But... are you watching your favorite streamers on Twitch?
If you're unfamiliar with Twitch, you may have at least heard of it.
As you can probably guess, Twitch is owned by Amazon. The ecommerce giant acquired Twitch in 2014 for $970 million. If you're an old-timer on the internet, you may have heard of its predecessor,
Justin.TV, which was an early live streaming platform. The founders of that earlier iteration of what's now known as Twitch saw how popular livestreaming was with the game community. Thus, Twitch
If you only know one thing about Twitch from passing chatter, it's that it is incredibly popular within the video game community. But over the years, Twitch has found more general audiences –
both within other niche communities and the mainstream – which has transformed it into much more than a platform for gamers.
Here's everything you need to know about Twitch.
More than 30 million daily visitors watch some of the 7 million content creators who stream on Twitch each month, according to the
Amazon-owned company. YouTube, the Google-owned video behemoth, is Twitch's biggest competitor. But while there is some overlap, the two platforms are quite different.
Twitch is a livestreaming platform. While YouTube does offer livestreaming features, most creators make pre-produced videos and upload them to the service. Conversely, some Twitch creators do
upload videos, but the vast majority of them are streaming live.
Like I mentioned earlier, Twitch is known for its gaming streams. But as the platform gained in popularity, other creators joined too. Streams featuring political debates, musical performances,
and general hangouts with creators can all be found on Twitch.
The platform for viewers
Twitch can be a little overwhelming for new users, but let's break it down.
Find something to watch on Twitch. Credit: mashable screenshot
Upon arriving at Twitch.tv, users are welcomed by a few video feeds from channels that are currently live. To look for specific content, click Browse and you can
filter through channels based on what video game the streamer is playing. Non-gaming content is sorted into more general categories like "Sports" and "Politics," but most creators who aren't
gaming just stream under the "Just Chatting" category.
Once you find a creator you like, you'll be taken to their Twitch channel to watch them stream.
In the middle of the screen you'll find the currently live video followed by the channel's details with information about the stream, social media links, and ways to support the creator.
On the left hand side, Twitch recommends other channels it thinks you'll like based on your history alongside Twitch channels frequented by the fans of the channel you're currently watching. And
on the right, you'll find the live chat.
If you like a streamer and want to be notified when they go live, the terminology on Twitch can be confusing if you're a YouTube regular. "Subscribe" on Twitch is actually a paid subscription to
that channel. If you're looking to stay up-to-date with a streamer without becoming a paid member, you'll want to click the "Follow" button.
Watching a Twitch livestream. Credit: mashable screenshot
But let's say you do want to provide monetary support to a creator! Then you are looking for "Subscribe." Subscriptions start at $4.99 on Twitch and come with bonuses such as ad-free viewing,
subscriber-only badges, and special emoji-like icons called emotes which can be used in the live chat. You can also support a creator and spread the benefits to other users by gifting paid
Are you an Amazon Prime subscriber? Then here's where some benefits come in that might surprise you! Just connect your Amazon Prime account to your
Twitch account and you'll receive access to bonus in-game content for new games every month. Plus, each month you can subscribe to one of your favorite streamers at no additional cost, yet
they'll still get paid $4.99 for your complimentary membership.
Twitch also provides the option to financially support your favorite creators via Bits. These are essentially one-time donations that viewers can
give creators during a livestream to show their support. Each bit amounts to roughly a penny given to a creator.
Anyone can stream on Twitch. Just set-up an account, launch your channel, and go live.
However, much like YouTube, streamers can also get paid for their content. So, if you're a creator who wants to make money from any of the aforementioned monetized features, here's what you need
to do to become either a Twitch Affiliate or Partner.
To become a Twitch Affiliate, you need to stream at least 7 times for a total of 500 minutes, averaging no less than 3 concurrent viewers, within a 30 day period. You also need at least 50 users
following your channel.
This is by far the easiest way to get your Twitch channel monetized.
It's a bit more difficult to become a Twitch Partner. Creators need to stream at least 12 times for a total of 25 hours and average 75 viewers per stream. Once you do that, you can apply for
consideration to be accepted into the Twitch Partner Program. Partners receive additional streaming options over Affiliates. Most notable, Twitch saves their streams for two months for
video-on-demand viewing as opposed to the usual 14 days.
SEE ALSO: The best streaming sites for movies
One extremely interesting feature that Twitch provides its creators has also recently become one of its more controversial: Raids.
When a Twitch creator is wrapping up their stream, they have the ability to send all of their current viewers to a live stream of their choice. Sounds cool, right? It is, yet unfortunately, some
users are utilizing raids in bad faith. Twitch streamers have gone so far as to protest Twitch's inaction over the proliferation of "hate raids," when a streamer sends their
viewers to raid a channel in order to spread hateful messages and ruin the live chat.
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Why Gen Z is plugging in wired headphones and tuning out AirPods
(Wed, 27 Oct 2021)
The must-have accessory for fall? According to Gen Z, it's a $30 pair of wired headphones.
So why are "It" girls like Lily Rose Depp and the Olsen twins ditching wireless earbuds and opting instead to plug into their devices? "Wired is an attitude," Shelby Hull, the 24-year-old creator
of the Instagram account @wireditgirls, told Mashable. "It is the way you carry yourself and move about the world."
On TikTok, actor and model Lily Rose Depp is the coolest of "It" girls. She’s French, a nepotism baby, and she moves through the world with a studied carelessness. Her wired earphones are an
extension of herself: unbothered.
"She’s very put together, but it’s like, 'How did I end up in this designer outfit looking so cool and put together? It just kind of fell into place,'' Hull said. "Wired headphones kind of say
that, too. It’s like oh, 'I put no thought into this, I can’t be bothered right now.'"
TikTok user @taylorchalametdepp4's video praising Depp's use of wired
earphones and @almondbutterchaos's clip captioned "why am I falling back in
love with wire earphones" are examples of the kinds of wired discourse found on the platform.
This TikTok is captioned "why am I falling back in love with wire earphones." Credit: Tiktok /
The fledgling idea of the wired "It" girl arrived in 2019 when Liana Satenstein wrote a piece forVogueabout how Bella Hadid was bringing back the accessory, which had largely been replaced in our collective
consciousness by the arrival of Apple's AirPods in 2016. Then, on Sept. 30, 2021, the TikTok account
@thedigifairy posted a viral video where they declared "wired headphones are officially a vintage accessory." With 2 million views and counting, the video has sparked a debate on Twitter over
whether or not the wired look ever truly went out of fashion.
SEE ALSO: TikTok's nostalgia-fueled obsession with the early 2000s
The next day, @wireditgirls made its first post. The account now has 1,665 followers, and it features the likes of Bella Hadid, Zoe Kravitz, and Michelle Li going about their days and looking
effortlessly cool while wearing their wired headphones.
"Liana [Satenstein] tweeted, 'some idiot/genius, please make a page of just hot girls wearing wired headphones,'" Hull
said of the genesis of the account. "I was on my way back from a CycleBar class, and I had five photos pop up in my head of Zoe Kravitz and Lily Rose Depp wearing wired headphones. So I made the
page and started posting that morning."
AirPods, she says, always lacked the cool-girl factor.
They are functional and practical, which is the antithesis of cool. We use them because Apple forced us to. AirPods were released alongside the iPhone 7, the first iPhone without a universal
headphone jack. These days, iPhone users are faced with the choice of shelling out a minimum of $150 on AirPods or using the standard EarPods that come with the device (the ones you can’t use
with your laptop or while charging your iPhone).
AirPods are now synonymous with a decidedly uncool aesthetic: that of tech and finance bros. They beg to be paired with a Patagonia Better Sweater fleece and worn while on a call where men
use incomprehensible words like "synergy" in real conversations.
"For a while it felt like selling out if you bought AirPods, and I despise tech culture so much that I refused to get them for that reason," Catherine Condit, a 21-year-old UC Berkeley student
who has never purchased AirPods, told Mashable.
Ruby Sutton retired her AirPods in 2019 when she studied abroad in France. "I started using wired earphones again during study abroad because, in France, AirPods were a really bad look,"
explained the 22-year-old.
Wired earphones make a different kind of statement. A person wearing wired headphones is disassociating
themselves from modern trends altogether. They want to be plugged into simpler times.
SEE ALSO: TikTok is reviving the 2014 Tumblr-era
Apple released their first pair of earphones alongside the first iPod in 2001. The advertisements for iPods in the aughts were iconic, and the wired earphones played a key role. The ads showed
black silhouettes of people dancing on brightly colored backgrounds, and the iPod and its headphones stood out in stark contrast in white. These ads were on billboards and on TV, the video ads
were paired with cool songs like “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by the Jets and “Technologic” by Daft Punk.
Today, wired headphones remain cool, but for a different reason.
"I love the signal they send," added Hull. "It’s like, 'Please don’t speak to me, I’m too busy.' AirPods don’t really say that. I’ll still talk to someone if I see their AirPods in, but when you
have just a wire in, it’s clear: 'Don’t approach me.' I think that’s the perfect accessory."
The wire is a visible accessory that declares you're listening to something, that you're occupied. To be plugged in, you must tune everything else out. You have to physically remove your earbud
to talk to someone. AirPods don't yield that kind of power. They never could. And at a significantly cheaper price point, wired headphones are an accessible trend for everyone.
TikTokker Torie Tagliavia
posted a video under the handle @toriestyle with the text "good thing these headphones are trendy because i can't afford air pods." The 22-year-old told Mashable that she never purchased
AirPods and recently started seeing wired headphones all over her For You Page.
Tagliavia took advantage of the trend to show off the wired headphones that she never stopped wearing. Credit: Tiktok / toriestyle
Going wired isn't solely isolated to Extremely Online people or celebrity obsessives. It's now moved off our screens and into high schools. Lilabel Kierstead, a 14-year-old student from Western
Massachusetts, confirmed it: "If you want to have a good sense of style or be indie, then you might use wired headphones."
The youths have spoken.
Related video: Well, of course there's an AirPods 'washing machine' now
>> Read More