Today a tweet by Twitch streamer “Fleeksie” blew up and went viral, causing a relatively one-sided discussion about small talk, streamer-to-chat-interaction and toxicity. I usually wouldn’t write about this since it’s just gonna pass after a day or two at max anyways but I thought it would be an interesting topic for a blog post.
Either way, first things first: What happened?
On September 6th, Fleeksie tweeted the following thread where she effectively complains about people coming to her stream and asking how she’s doing. While it’s somewhat understandable that she, as a bigger streamer, gets that question a lot throughout one stream I don’t think that this is the right approach to the problem. Obviously, she’s entitled to her own opinion and she can think and say whatever she wants (to a degree) but I don’t think that her response to this “problem” is valid at all, which is my opinion to which I’m entitled, obviously.
The “problem” at hand is the fact that people tend to ask a question at times and when other people join in later they may ask the same question as well not knowing that it was asked already before, resulting in the streamer answering the same question over and over again. This can range from a simple “How are you?” to stuff related to the stream or the content, like “Does Zoe’s Q proc her passive twice?” – a question that Vicksy has to answer relatively often throughout every stream.
My stance on this matter is that streams that are community-focused often rely on a little bit of Small Talk to get a conversation going. People joining in and being curious about your day or about your well-being is never bad – on the contrary, this opens up potential other topics like your job, your hobbies, your stream so far, games you’ve been playing, news you’ve heard about and other things. On top of that, you can ask others how they have been (which I do anyway, even if I didn’t get that question), resulting in you finding out things about your viewers, their well-being, job, hobbies and other things that they have done/read/heard, etc. You can then essentially just latch on to any of those conversation points to never run out of topics.
Hence, I wouldn’t say that Small Talk is essential to streaming but it is not the worst thing ever either and if anything it can actually help you.
Back to Fleeksie, she continues saying that she feels puke coming up whenever she reads “I’m good how are you?”. It’s apparently painful to respond to that question. Even if this physical reaction to a harmless question was real, being rude to others wouldn’t solve it at all.
To solve this “issue”, streamers could introduce a chat rule saying that you aren’t allowed to ask how the streamer is doing. It’s that simple. Especially with mods, you can just time people out or ban them when they do that and you’re fine. It’s not going to be necessarily helpful to do so, though, as people getting timed out for formalities or small talk is just stupid.
And as per usual, Twitter… was Twitter. The tweet went viral and all kinds of people ended up either meme-ing about it, asking her how she’s doing… or they had constructive criticism, saying that they personally don’t agree… or they were just toxic. But Fleeskie also didn’t make things better, constantly tweeting about how she’s not getting scratched by it while also still going on about it, showing that it affects her. And while I don’t agree with her attitude and how she’s handling the situation, I don’t think it’s alright for people to straight-up attack her. Even when she’s now tweeting about how “hating small talk is controversial”, trying to fix the narrative… It’s not about “hating small talk”, it’s about making it sound as if every single streamer in the world thinks that way and as if every single viewer in the world is doing it wrong. It’s about biting the hand that feeds you. It’s about acting as if you’re entitled to people’s kindness and interest in and for you. That’s what’s ticking people off and that’s why people are getting so agitated about this.
If you cannot deal with people caring about you or people asking you something as simple as “how are you”, then Streaming on Twitch may not be the best thing to do since a lot of people ask questions and talk to the chat/streamer at times. I struggle with conversations, people and all of that stuff all the time, being an autist, but I’d never go as far as to attack others for being curious or for being nice. I don’t think that you should bite the hand that feeds you. I don’t think that attacking others for essentially nothing is the way to go, and I don’t think that being rude to people for asking a question that others have asked before is going to solve anything at all.
Twitch is currently in a peculiar state already. There are a lot of users and streamers that are just way too toxic or that harass, bully and attack others, on a whim. Especially women and people of colour have it rough on Twitch and I don’t think that this kind of stuff is going to help the case. Call me a hippie, a dreamer or even a “Gutmensch”, but I believe that there’s one good person for every ten people and that kindness and reason are able to solve more problems than rudeness and madness. Being nice to people and reporting offenders is a better way to handle things compared to attacking people that attacked you or being rude to people that were trying to be nice.
And since this is the internet, it’s only understandable that there’s always going to be some person (or rather a lot) that is really toxic… but it’d be great if there were more people out there that would promote positivity, respect, kindness and inclusiveness so that people would have a place to return to from all of that toxicity. I don’t want to watch a stream after having had a bad day only to see that I’m not welcome or that I’m being treated badly. I’d rather see others building each other up and us all having a good time.
But maybe that’s just me. Do you have any thoughts on this matter? What’s your stance on small talk in Twitch streams? Would you handle this any different?