I started a Twitch stream today.
I discovered the non-gaming world of Twitch recently thanks to my brother, an artist, who starting a stream where he just draws in full public view and chats to whoever drops into the chat.
Why did this intrigue me?
Well, several things actually.
The tech was the first thing that interested me. You can setup your own broadcasting station using OBS, send it to Twitch, and you basically have your own TV Station. And you can do whatever you want (legally and within the ToS of course).
How cool is that? I know it's not new, but the idea of that landed differently for me this time around.
Along with Twitch, came Discord...
It's basically Slack on steroids - and I like Slack, but this next generation messaging/IRC app is a whole other level. Voice and video seamlessly embedded in to make it easy to stream content and interact with your "community". And I put community in brackets because it really is that, and also it's self-defining based on interest and personalities.
All these things were really intriguing.
But why would I start one for myself and not just be a spectator and non-streaming community member?
Like most things behind the reason I do things, it's multi-faceted.
Firstly, I've always wanted to conquer a certain aspect of my online life of doing things I wanted to do without fear of "what anyone might think of me". Imposter syndrome and not wanting to look like a dumb-ass, in public, is high on my list of things that I let prevent me trying new things, or giving something a real go in case I embarrass myself.
I've talked about doing a podcast for a short while now with people close to me, even borrowed a decent microphone setup from my brother, but nothing has eventuated even with 6-7 weeks of lockdown and plenty of opportunity to try something. Again, I would worry about how successful it might be, who would listen and what would I get out of it and did I even know what I was talking about?
When I came across Twitch and the idea of streaming this time around, I knew it was something I wanted to try out. Even though it's been a couple of weeks since that realization, I've already broadcasted my first streamed today.
I figured it would be a way to force myself to not get so hung up on criticism and feedback. This blog is one form of that (sort of) "learning in public" idea, but you get to sit here and tweak a post until it's perfect and then post it. That's all OK I guess, but there's nothing like putting yourself out there in real-time and taking whatever comes. Twitter's sort of that place, and I've had a few good experiences with short bursts of "here look at what I'm up to" tweets, but it's a bit cumbersome e.g. soldering something, then taking a picture of it and tweeting it with some words. Or taking screenshot of a terminal after some output, and tweeting that and going back and forth like that is a bit tedious.
I can stream, show my desktop and what I'm working on, talk at the same time, and have whoever is watching me at the time interact with me in real-time. It's a real-time show-your-working "learning in public" platform.
The learning in public aspect also keeps me accountable. The first stream schedule I created is a "Study Stream" where I have something I want to study (OSCP PEN-200 Course), and I want to force myself to turn up and "do the work", and setting myself this schedule keeps me honest. It's 2 x 45min pomodoro's of work, and I just sit there, reading and making notes. That's it.
And lastly, and maybe more a deeper more human reason for the allure of the stream- and especially in these pandemic times, is "connection". Like firing off those messages into space in search of aliens, it's really in search of the hope that we're not alone. Creating a stream, putting it out there, looking for other like-minded study or hacking streamers, gives me a sense of actively being part of an online community that creates and contributes something, and puts themselves out there.
Sure, it's not mind-blowing stuff (yet :D), and I don't expect to have any followers for a while- but I streamed my first session today, mistakes and all, and it felt really good to be able to accomplish that.
Here's to the beginning.