As a caster, I understand what it’s like to try to keep up with a busy chat on Twitch. It’s not easy at times.
As a viewer, too, I appreciate how difficult it can be to engage with a streamer. The great thing about Twitch is viewers have the opportunity to talk directly to the caster, but to help it go smoothly for both parties there’s some etiquette to be aware of. Here’s some advice for taking part in someone’s Twitch chat.
Every broadcaster is different, so bear in mind this is only from my perspective as a community-focused streamer. First and foremost make sure to check a channel’s rules, which will usually outlay a few basics.
DO: Welcome newcomers
As well as being a simple way to be a friendly, valued member of a community, you might not realise this helps the broadcaster out, too. As a community-focused streamer I hate the thought of not welcoming someone who’s new to the stream because I missed their message. Seeing a couple of other ‘Welcome, @name!’ in the chat draws my attention to the newcomer and really helps out.
Likewise, as a viewer one thing I really, really dislike is nobody welcoming me when I am saying hello in a channel for the first time. It makes things feel awkward very fast, like walking into a party and everyone ignoring you. You’d be surprised what a difference a simple ‘hello’ makes!
DO NOT: Talk about your own stream
As a broadcaster myself, I never, ever mention that I have been, or will be, streaming in someone else’s chat. I never mention I am a broadcaster unless the caster asks directly about it. If someone in the chat recognises me and asks when I am next streaming, I whisper them back. If someone asks what I have been up to, I say I was playing a game today. This is a general piece of Twitch etiquette.
There are lots of reasons it is considered rude to talk about your own stream, not least of all because it is a form of advertising. Some casters are ok with it but as a rule of caution I would advise not doing it.
If you think another broadcaster would enjoy your stream, just engage with them, follow them on social media, host or raid them. Many casters also have a community content channel on their Discord. If they want to watch you, sooner or later they will. If you are a new broadcaster looking for advice, I would recommend SinfullyRidlling’s Tips & Tricks for Beginners as a starting point.
DO: Be overly specific in your conversations
Bear in mind from a caster’s perspective how it is keeping up with chat, playing a game AND keeping single threads of conversation going. If you are talking to a streamer about a new game you’ve checked out, for example, make sure to refer back to what you’re talking about.
‘I played the Witcher 3 last week’
‘Yeah Pistachi, I really liked it!’
‘I played the Witcher 3 last week’
‘Yeah Pistachi, I really liked the Witcher 3!’
The second version is much easier on the streamer if some time has passed since the first message – bear in mind lag and chat delay. It’s very easy to lose the thread of a conversation so the caster will appreciate the extra effort, even if it feels a bit unusual.
DO NOT: Refer to the streamer in third person
‘When is she next playing x game?’
‘What has she been up to today?’
Although it’s totally understandable why people do this when a chat gets busy, don’t assume the broadcaster will not read your comment. In real life it would be rude to refer to someone as ‘she’ to their face and that’s essentially what you’re doing in chat. It’s super weird to read as a broadcaster. Who’s she, the cat’s mother? as they say.
DO: use @ or take private conversations to whispers
Talk between viewers is, obviously, encouraged and a part of Twitch. However, if it’s getting lengthy and/or has nothing to do with the caster, take it to whispers. Private conversations or in-jokes with no context are distracting for the caster, especially in a busy chat.
Similarly if you’re talking to a particular person in chat, ‘@’ them at the start of the message. It’s a quick signal to the caster that the message is not intended for them. Personally I have more than a few times started to read a message out loud and only at the end of it and realised it was not intended for me at all!
DO NOT: Spam
Far too many emotes for no reason? ??? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ☂️ ☔️ ? ?? ? ? ? ?? ? ? ? ⛳️? ? ? ? ? ?? ? ? ? ? ?
WRITING EVERYTHING IN CAPS BECAUSE YOU’RE VERY EXCITED OH GOD LOOK HOW LONG THIS SENTENCE IS GOING ON WHEN WILL IT END?
All this serves to just push the chat up quicker and adds little of value to a conversation. Just relax, write out full sentences and save the emote spam for when something hype is actually happening in the stream!
DO: Watch, chat and have fun
Most of all just be a friendly person. Broadcasters and viewers alike use Twitch as a form of entertainment, so keeping an upbeat atmosphere brightens everyone’s day! In the end, that’s what it’s all about.