By Ardan Bramall and Toli Gonodanov-Meydbray
Summit Denali freshman Jon Gonzales has seen major effects on people who religiously watch streamers, including a shift in political opinions. Nevertheless, this has not stopped him from enjoying streams and streaming himself to this date, saying that being introduced into the community has heavily improved his life.
An article posted by frontiersin.org stated live streams can help viewers get through difficult parts of their lives. The author wrote, “Games are able to offer players ways to distract themselves, to confront their feelings, to connect with others, and to achieve personal growth.” Overall, the introduction to the streaming community is widely considered a monumental part of our interviewees’ lives.
A large reason streaming is such a huge part of many people’s lives is because it can be used as a coping mechanism during hard times. Furthermore, another reason could simply be because it provides entertainment, and in some cases, new friends.
Gonzales is a good example of this. “I made a lot of good friends and friendships for Twitch,” he said. Streaming and watching streams is a large part of social interaction for teens and young adults that they can’t get in real life.
Resident Summit Denali teacher Josh Subia also has experience with streaming. He said his life has not changed because of streaming; it is merely a hobby for his friends to watch him play the games he loves.
On the other hand, he also said that he has seen streaming put people into terrible mental states. When asked how streaming could do this, he said, “I think it’s honestly a lot more draining than you would think it would be.”
He went on to say streamers with a more toxic community would be more prone to this. “I mean it can be both good and bad I’ve seen very toxic communities where the streamers have like, y’know, stopped streaming or, like, have, like, had a breakdown on Twitch,” he said. “And then they’d, like, end their stream so I think if streamers do have toxic communities then it can be very detrimental to their health.”
He also agreed with Jon: “It’s like similar to, like, any celebrity that has a following like some parts of the community can think of them as role models,” he said. “Some of them think of them like celebrities, so I’d say streamers have the power to sorta like bring awareness to like certain issues that they that a streamer like, y’know, believes in and they have the option to make the community safe and fun environment for like in the end.”
Even with this power, Mesome777 from popular Youtube channel TDT, believes streamers should stay out of those matters and stick to streaming. “You’re not watching TDT to get politics, you’re not here for my opinion on that. I might agree with you, I might disagree with you, but that’s not why you’re here,” he said. “So at the end of the day, don’t bring up something that is guaranteed to irritate somebody.”
He added, “Even if you are the most well-articulated, center of the road, most agreeable person, right, I think a lot of people feel like their opinions they, that they deserve to put their opinions out there if that makes sense, and I feel like what people forget is that you’re here for a reason, and that reason is you’re here to entertain, you’re here to educate, right, and you’re not here to make yourself feel good, which I think happens a lot.”
In addition, Mesome believes a streamer pulls together their own community instead of the community flocking to a streamer, and the streamer changing them. “They’ll end up seeing a weird warped, fun mirror of who they are as a person,” he said.
“Any content creator builds their own community. What image you create of your content, what image you create of the people that show up in your content, what voice you have in your content, how you approach your content, that is all creating your community,” he added.
At the end of the day, both viewer and streamer have to come together to make the entire experience more positive for all. Pulling people together with a common interest to make a community can have both positive and negative effects on all involved. There have been stories of success and failure, but when it comes down to it, “I consider, most, everything you do on this platform to be an assisted project, but solely driven,” Mesome said. “I consider how you interact with the community is entirely up to you. Personally, I stick to the people that I care about, and for me, that’s the people that are in TDT.”