I’ve been following the BCM302 project from Blake Foggo, a Twitch variety channel (Mr4Eva). At the initial pitch, Blake wanted to continue working on his YouTube channel and perhaps expand his audience. However, the next week, he had completely changed his plan and was moving in on the Twitch avenue. He had streamed a few games before but was not fully invested and didn’t completely engage with the platform. A conversation with a fellow streamer opened up a new way of approaching his account and how to stream effectively and it was in this vein that the Twitch variety channel digital artefact took hold.
Beginning on this platform, Blake didn’t want to be restricted to any type of game or streaming genre. He wanted to experiment early on with what he enjoyed producing and what his audience engaged with. Streaming regularly was an important factor and one that could be potentially time consuming, however he managed to average streaming three to four times a week for about 5 hours, usually in the late evening to early morning. Another approach to his channel was engaging with other social media to advertise his work and doing so in an effective manner. Twitter would be his main focus, as well as YouTube as he already had a small following on both platforms from some of his previous work.
His early streams were rather successful! Already having a bit of a Twitter following and a YouTube following allowed him to engage with some of his long term followers. Having friends in the Twitch community also worked in his favour as they could provide advice and also involve Blake in the standard hosting of streamers where at the end of one stream, you advertise another to your viewers. This sort of thing can be incredibly beneficial to gaining notice as a start up streamer.
Blake found he gained traction early on from playing some niche games including Dark Souls as well as some of the older Sonic games. The retro and nostalgic feel of the old Sonic games brought viewers in as it wasn’t something that they got to view often and it comes with that charm. Similarly, with Dark Souls he was surprised to discover that some veteran gamers were interested in watching him play it for the first time. Perhaps in the interest of rediscovering one of their favourite games through the gameplay of another. It was in this early streams he managed to get affiliated which allowed potential revenue.
Blake’s regular tweeting of links to his streams were helpful, but wouldn’t gain much interaction.
It was in this early period that Blake discovered an enjoyment for the niche community of creative streaming. This varies from art, video editing and music. Blake started streaming himself playing guitar and singing as well as delving into one of his interests, pixel art. This really showed an increase in activity on the channel as well as on his other social media. I noticed more interaction as well as people retweeting his pictures as well as asking for their own. This led to commissions for Blake of about $30-40!
Engaging with feedback and observation of other streamers, Blake made further changes to the style of his channel as well as social media. Finding a niche community and having a quirkiness work in a streamers favour. He started up a ‘character Wednesday’ which included a Buzz Light-year mask and certainly brings a humour as well as consistency to his streams.
His social media engagement has also shown great improvement. Using his pixel art to continue creating content, even when not streaming is valuable to followers, as they can engage at all times. After observing what other streamers do, he also realised the importance of having a visual when posting a link to the stream as it gains more attention, particularly when it is humorous or shows the streaming layout.
Blake also began to play around with the new tagging feature, making it easier for channels to link their work to particular genres and to find an audience in that genre. He also played with the titles of his work, noticing that if he added in that he was Australian or that it was a blind play-through, that this would gain extra interest.
FINAL REVIEW AND FURTHER ITERATIONS
Overall, I think this project has gone through a lot of growth and has done quite well for what appears to be a start-up. It had a rocky start with the change from YouTube to Twitch but once this got cemented I certainly noticed consistent content coming through. I’m no expert in the world of streaming or Twitch, although I do watch the occasional game play through on YouTube. It’s interesting to get an insight into the enormous communities that are available on the platform, as well as how to take advantage of them for your own purpose.
To further this project, I believe Blake should continue down the creative streaming path. He is having a range of success with pixel art, gaining commissions as well as creating an audience in that genre. Perhaps focusing on this would be an angle to follow. Investigating the pixel art genre itself and its followings on other platforms such as Instagram or Pinterest could be beneficial and open up his streams to a different audience. Art itself is very easily monetised, and a sure fire way to sell your work and your process would be to stream yourself creating it. It also makes the final product seem personalised and authentic as you are witness to the production. I think this is a strong avenue to follow that has evolved out of an investigation into Twitch and live streaming.
The iterations of Blake’s digital artefact are testimony to his exploration and observation of the platform. Noticing what worked for other streamers and applying it to his own brand. What I would recommend to further the brand would to perhaps decide on a specific niche and formulate the streams around that. This would create a solid audience as well as allowing him to build a consistency which is key on this platform.
I hope this is something he continues to work with, as there is clear evidence that he is gaining a small following and it appears that he is also enjoying the content he is producing!