At its best, the chat component of live streaming sites like Twitch can be an exciting part of the broadcast. At its worst, it can be a trash fire. For large esports streams, chat is where part of the “stadium” experience happens. Chat offers a place for a collective experience of fandom, for cheering and engagement. For small events it can be where fans and community members can find each other and connect, sometimes even with the streamer directly. Perhaps the most predictable aspect of chat is that good ones require active engagement by the broadcasters. Toxic chat can emerge without proper management. While sometimes the refrain about this side of streaming is simply “hide the chat” we encourage you to think more ambitiously about it. Chat should be seen as an important, potentially valuable, component of live streaming.
If you are broadcasting content, the chat alongside it is your responsibility. The quality of the chat reflects directly on you, your production, and your brand. You can either benefit from it and grow your community or you can neglect it and face serious costs.
This white paper will offer some basic best practices to help you think about your event stream in ways that foster it being an asset to both you and your audience. While not a complete guide (and primarily focused on Twitch), we hope to give you some basic understanding of functions you can use and provide some waypoints if you’d like to dive a bit deeper into moderation tools and techniques.