Lately I've been watching more developers on Twitch. Guys like Jason Lengstorf, Chris on Code, and James Quick all have some great content! I've streamed quite a bit in the past on YouTube, but I wasn't totally satisifed with the platform.
But now that I've decided to devote more time to streaming, it's time to revisit which streaming service is king. I broke this comparison down into two main parts, one for the viewers and another for the creators.
Viewers want a platform that's easy to use, and sense of community to keep them connected to the content creators. YouTube and Twitch are easy to use on both desktop and mobile, and can be cast to a TV from the mobile app. Both platforms also have a subscription and notification system, so viewers stay informed about the latest streams.
But Twitch takes the lead when it comes to creating a sense of community with their more advanced chat features. Having the ability to define custom commands, like
!dotfiles, can allow viewers to ask questions and get answers immediately, without interrupting the stream. Twitch also improves discoverability by enabling viewers to search by topic or by team (a group of streamers).
For creators, there's a lot to take into consideration when choosing a streaming platform. Things like software integration, stream scheduling, and community building features should all be factored into the decision. Both platforms are capable of streaming from the two most popular applications, OBS and Streamlabs, but YouTube comes with a cost.
YouTube's chat url is unique for every video, which must be updated in your streaming software's chat widget before every stream. Even worse, YouTube consistently has at least a 5 second chat latency until you see it in your streaming software, making it difficult to have real time conversations with your audience. Twitch works exactly how you would expect right out of the box, minimal chat latency with no setup required.
As for organizating your content, YouTube and Twitch allow you to create playlists. Twitch takes this one step further and allows you and your viewers to create clips and highlights to showcase your best moments. The downside is that content on Twitch will be removed from your channel after two weeks, although you can export it to YouTube. YouTube takes a different approach, and automatically publishes your livestreams to your channel. However I found that streams don't get many views in comparison to more focused 10 minute videos.
Finally, Twitch really pulls ahead again with the community features for creators. Once a stream is finished, a creator can move their audience over to another channel, which is called raiding. So if you have any connections with larger audiences on Twitch, you can possibly benefit from them. Another interesting growth feature is hosting other creators on your channel. While you're offline, you can share other streams on your channel, which can help increase their following.
At the end of the day, Twitch wins this battle due to its enhanced community features and stream extensions. While I do have a small following on YouTube (shoutout to my 127 followers 👋🏼), it's not enough to keep me streaming there. Luckily I know James Quick on Twitch who might be able to help me grow, and there's a much better developer community there as well.
With that being said, I've completely revamped my branding and created a Twitch channel, so come hangout in my stream!