A fellow Twitch streamer recently reached out to me with concerns about a viewer who he felt was getting too close and overstepping the Streamer – Viewer relationship. You’re in front of the camera for long hours, and your viewers start to get to know you quite intimately. It’s sometimes strange to think of as a streamer, since we only see our viewers as names and text, but since they get to see us and hear us on a regular basis, they can sometimes feel like they’re close friends. I love getting to know my viewers, but even so, sometimes they ask questions that get a little too personal or start pushing things on other viewers that isn’t exactly desirable.
Your stream is your castle, and you are the king.
I’ve had many other streamers ask about what they should do about a troublesome viewers. It can be anything from someone who talks too much, someone who is a little too unruly for chat, or maybe even someone who just makes comments that are a little rude. My Twitch channel is my house, and if you want to visit, you’re going to have to listen to my rules. The way you behave towards some viewers or the way you react to comments signals to the community what is considered acceptable behavior and what isn’t. Don’t be afraid to tell a viewer that their comments aren’t the way you want your chat to behave.
You don’t have to be mean towards your viewers, but be firm with them. It’s better to nip a problem in the bud rather than let a unruly chat grow into a jungle of spam. (Unless you’re into that sort of thing) If a viewer starts asking inappropriate questions, let them know that it’s a little personal, but then try to bring up a similar topic so they know you appreciate the interaction. For example, maybe a viewer asks about how much money you make from donations or ad revenue. You can tell them that it’s not polite to ask questions like that, but then give them a vague idea of how much you make. (I usually answer that I am able to pay for internet and electricity, but am unable to make rent with my Twitch/YouTube income)
As a Viewer, please keep in mind that we interact with LOTS of people on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, while I’d love to be able to remember everything about each viewer that comes in, as more and more people visit the channel it becomes harder for me to remember facts about everyone. That’s not to say that viewers don’t stand out. There are plenty of individuals who I remember small facts about. I know one of my viewers recently moved and was having long distance relationship problems. I know several of my viewers are currently planning on going to college for a Computer Science degree. I notice when someone is being active in chat, and uses the commands I provide to help answer the questions from their fellow viewers.
Dunbar’s number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. Dunbar proposed that humans can only comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships.
However, there are just as many viewers I remember positively as I remember negatively. A surefire way to get negative attention is by asking for a shout-out or complaining that I didn’t respond to your question. I can’t remember who had said this before, but one of the worst questions a fan can ask someone is, “Do you remember me from ___?” or “Do you remember when we met at _____?” Chances are, if you made a strong impression in a short period of time, it’s not going to be a good impression.
Your fans are the best!
What’s most important is to have fun. Interact with your chat, open up to them as little or as much as you’d like. Maybe your style is to be very informative and focused only about the game. Maybe you’re all about chat interaction, telling your life story and everything is an open door. Ultimately, how you run your chat is up to you and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. But, whatever you decide to do, be stern about it and set the rules. You are the king (or queen) of your domain, and don’t feel as if your chat has to behave one way or another. If someone does something you don’t like, timing them out for a short period of time is a great slap on the wrist to show that you mean business. Sometimes, a viewer may just be too unruly and warrants a ban from the channel. There are thousands of people out there who want to watch you and your content. Don’t let that one or two loud minority ruin it for the other viewers.
TL;DR: Don’t let your viewers intimidate you. Be firm with them, and set the rules for what is appropriate and what isn’t appropriate for your chat.