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Could Twitch Communities be the backchannel eventprofs have always hoped for? We take a look at what the new feature brings to the gameplay streaming platform and how it could benefit the events industry.
When Twitch started back in 2011, it was a revolution in social video for gamers. Since then, it has become the go-to place for gamers to watch screencasts of other people playing games. The site also allows broadcasters to interact with viewers via a live chat portal connected to their stream. After capturing the games streaming market, Twitch has its eyes on bigger things.
This leads us to the recent beta launch of "Communities". The new feature allows members of the site to create an online space dedicated to any interest of their choosing. Where Twitch's focus in the past was all about games, this gives members the ability to discover streamed content, conversation and resources relating to whatever topic interests them. So you could say Communities does what it says on the tin.
Twitch Communities For Events
The switch to a broader scope of content should be of interest to event professionals, as this opens up the possibility to create a captive backchannel and/or information hub for events. Eventprofs working regularly with gaming communities will have probably already witnessed Twitch being used as an event backchannel for e-sports and other gaming events. Global Gaming Jam is a particularly good example of this made [virtual] flesh. Expect to see much more as the live streaming revolution continues to grow.
Twitch Communities For Keynotes
One area event planners could find Twitch particularly valuable is in the broadcast of keynote presentations and product demonstrations. Having a totally dedicated backchannel solves some of the signal-to-noise-ratio problems encountered using social media. The permanent presence of online chat gives eventprofs a great opportunity to facilitate and capture long-tail conversations relating to the presentation.
Twitch Communities For Trade Shows and Expos
With large events such as trade shows, there are several threads of conversation happening at once. Twitch communities can offer a communications hub for the event. Twitch Communities also features a kind of threaded chat, allowing members to create their own chat rooms. This could prove useful for allowing focused conversation around specific topics arising from the event.
As is often the case with new community platforms or social networks, there is often a land grab, as brands clamour for ownership of their moniker. As this presents a unique opportunity for brands to broadcast directly to a captive, engaged audience, it won't take long for them to see the potential value. Bear in mind that the feature is still in beta so anything could change. Also worthy of note is the 90-day roadblock which prevents new users from creating communities. This could slow the land grab a little and it seems fair enough to give their existing community a go first.
This post couldn't really go without mentioning the mighty YouTube. The social video goliath also offers many of these features, and it looks like they too are bringing them together into a more concise package. The fundamental difference between the two offerings is that where YouTube is very much focused on its influencers and content creators as individual sources, Twitch is more about the collective experience.
Communities takes Twitch out of the gaming world and catapults it into the broader entertainment world. By extension, it is already beginning to gather momentum as an events platform. Could Twitch be the events back channel we've always wanted? Right now, it's looking to be the best contender.