For nearly a year, I’ve started and stopped writing about how I got into live-streaming on Twitch and why I do it. It always felt self-indulgent, as if I was bragging without accomplishing much. But as I approach a year on the platform, my desire to reflect has grown to the point where I have to gush about what a positive experience it’s been and the friends I’ve made from around the world who I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

The featured photo is a good example of how my life has changed. It depicts my birthday party this year, which was attended by no fewer than eight streamers, two of whom I met for the first time in person that night. That sure is something special.

How it started

As with many things I’ve done, it started with a girl. In Fall 2019, she wanted to see me play a video game, so I decided to use Twitch to broadcast it in case any other friends wanted to watch along with her. Some stopped by, but she lost interest in me, and I lost interest in broadcasting to mostly no one. 

This is actually my oldest Twitch clip, from when I was EnsignShiroAmada.

When the pandemic shut everything down and we were all forced inside all day every day, I started to wonder if it might be worth trying to stream again. But this time I would try to meet people and build an audience instead of simply streaming for one person and any close friends who were somehow interested in third wheeling in the chat. 

First, I changed my Twitch handle from EnsignShiroAmada, the same one I used for everything else gaming-related, to ChrisMYee in an attempt to leverage my modest Twitter following and blue checkmark acquired by working in journalism. Then I started using Twitter to make friends, which included using follow-for-follow and small streamer retweet accounts. Doing that is generally inadvisable, and I’m probably the first person ever to actually click on the link of someone’s stream after it was shared by one of those accounts. 

But wouldn’t you know it — one of the first channels I checked out belonged to chickwithtrickz, and that changed the course of my entire Twitch experience forevermore and for the better. Chick happened to be live when the link to her channel showed up on my timeline, so I got to meet her right away. She was fun, good natured, and good at Dead by Daylight without being conceited, so I was glad to hang out and chit chat.

We hung out in each other’s streams because we both wanted to reach affiliate status (as good a goal as any for streamers who are just starting out), and we naturally became friends. And not only did we become friends, we met each others’ friends. Three of the people I met through chick — Copia and Missy and Whit of hobotoes — became some of my best friends, and we again shared our friends, and that cycle continued until we had a very solid community.

This isn’t up to date, but it’s a good representation of how it started.

I’m inclined to reminisce, so I actually drew out a chart so I could remember the foundation of how I met everyone. Chick no longer streams, which is sad but was what was best for her and her personal and professional life. But these friendships, lifelong friendships in many cases, persist, and our community continues to grow as we find other like-minded, kind, giving people on the Twitch platform.

Look at this (moving) photograph

Considering I’m the kind of sap who would draw out a chart of how he met the friends he has, it should come as no surprise that I wanted to ring in 2021 by looking back and celebrating my favorite moments of 2020 on Twitch even though I had only been on the platform in earnest for five months of the year.

In that time, I discovered a love of using the “clip” tool, which allows stream viewers to save up to a minute-long clip of a stream to present it in isolation. I clipped anything that made me laugh, that made me say wow, that made me say awww, that sort of thing. It was like saving a brief moment in an hours-long stream to look back and enjoy at any time.

So to look back on 2020, I went back and looked at the best clips I had made or seen others make. I created a bracket, and the idea was to keep pitting clips against each other until one emerged as the Best Clip of 2020. It’s no exaggeration to say it was a hit. People really enjoyed looking back at those fun moments that they were there for, that they were a part of, or that were completely new to them.

My main once-a-week Saturday content in 2020 was from Twitch’s in-house karaoke app Twitch Sings. One of the reasons I wanted to reach affiliate status was to make private lobbies in Twitch Sings for my friends, and once I made many more friends who streamed, I invited them to sing and called it Karaoke With Friends. It became a weekly event for me and many other people, but Twitch pulled the plug on it on January 1st, leaving me looking for something new to do on Saturdays. I quickly realized I could do a regular show of the community’s best clips every two weeks, and The ClipMYee Show was born. 

It takes several hours to produce ClipMYee every two weeks, but it’s easily my favorite thing I stream because it brings so much joy to others, which in turn brings me joy. I still enjoy streaming video games, but I’m just as happy to create something that serves our community. I have a “Clip it!” emote now that people can use, and some people will say “Hi ClipMYee” when something funny or cool happens on their streams, which is so gratifying because it means that people are already looking forward to seeing their clips and others’ on the next show.

Why we clip

All of these thoughts were spurred by a Kotaku article that reflects on May’s most viewed clip on Twitch, which happens to be one of porn star Mia Malkova streaming in a bikini from a bathtub and facing away from her camera, which meant her butt was in full view. 

The headline, “Last Month’s Most Popular Twitch Clip Was Just A Butt,” leads into a discussion about clips and how sometimes they’re of something sexualized like butts as part of the controversy over beach and hot tub streams, which now have their own category on Twitch, and sometimes clips are of inane, “inconsequential shit” like someone making a funny face or having a weird camera angle or someone making a mistake. 

For me, those inconsequential moments are everything. If it’s something that gave me or all of us a laugh, it was worth clipping because clipping costs nothing but a moment of a person’s time. Click the button, and if you want to go to the extra effort, trim it neatly and give it a name, then hit publish. This is a free gift you can give to the streamer and their audience because they get to relive this moment and think back to a time they enjoyed together. 

ClipMYee art made by Nate Little/MadArtisan

At its best, streaming is about shared experiences between the streamer and their viewers. They enjoy activities together: playing video games, making art, and just spending time talking. And just because something seems silly or inconsequential at the time doesn’t mean that it’s not worth remembering. I personally think that ClipMYee is entertaining because it shows how funny and cool we are on an everyday basis. Heck, the moment might not even have been memorable at the time for the streamer, but when they look back at that clip, they’re most often glad someone marked it to revisit. 

My favorite clip ever, affectionately titled “Mic Noises,” is a silly one. It happened during Twitch Sings and, for a time, brought shame to Copia but is now a fond memory that we’ll always think back on and rewatch from time to time. And a bit of advice: if it makes you laugh or react in any significant way, clip it. You’ll either be glad you did or nothing will come of it. It’s a no-lose situation.

What’s not really captured here is that I’m not sure where any of this is taking me, but I’m having fun doing it, so it’ll persist. None of us knows how long we’ll be doing this for (a second friend has already left streaming entirely after chick), but as long as we’re still going, still thinking up new fun things to do, there’ll be reason to celebrate it together, and I’m here for it.

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