TwitchCon 2018, pt 3

Waiting in line with new friends

LineCon 2018.

After the shooting in Florida, I was neither surprised nor upset when I got the emails from TwitchCon about the heightened security that we could expect once we reached the conference. The bag policy was a little onerous, but I have pockets, so whatever.

I payed hundreds of dollars for my weekend pass. Yes, I expected the turnout to be huge. I also expected, for my money, that security and lines would be handled efficiently and professionally. I was greatly disappointed.

I waited an hour and a half to get my badge the day before con. On the first day of con, the average wait time to pick up your badge was six hours. Soak in that for a moment.

Firstly, the lines were split between community, affiliates (streamers who had achieved enough stability for Twitch to offer monetization), and partners (big viewership and community). Everybody paid the same to get in, so the pecking order being established by Twitch was clear, and irritating. And they didn’t even pull that off properly! The lines to enter the convention were supposed to be spit into their respective badge types, but the crowd handlers were either incredibly understaffed, or just inept. I stood in two “affiliate” lines for about thirty minutes, before I found the -actual- affiliate line. Signage was spotty and unclear.

Once inside, the line to get in to the swag shop was about an hour wait. Let me say that again. After standing in line to use the badge I’d paid hundreds of dollars for, I was made to wait in line for another hour simply to give them more money in exchange for swag. Twitch, you’re owned by Amazon now, you really should get this efficient shopping experience thing handled.

To their benefit, the conference managers fixed the entrance line nonsense by day two. I’m unsure about the badge line. The swag store line, if anything, was longer on the second day.

TwitchCon 2018, pt 2

Skippy makes a face after the line

We talked about age range; let’s talk about behavior and attitude. Again, my sample, so to speak, was only those that had the means to attend TwitchCon.

I don’t think we can talk about either of those without talking about brand, The marketing concept of personal brand was central to everything at the con, from what hardware you used to stream, to the clothes you wear while on camera, to the community that you’re building.

With that in mind, most of the convention attendees, with several amazing exceptions, came off as vapid, narcissistic, and oblivious. While I was there, I dismissed them for this, and for not being more professional when it came to their livelihood. A great many of these streamers are making a living at this, or trying to. After reflecting further, I realize that this is a direct result of the brand that they’re building.

So when I, and my compatriots, found ourselves pitched to by other streamers, often times poorly, as if we were viewers, I was taken off-guard. But the lesson of “don’t treat your peers as if they have the same motivations as your viewers” hasn’t been taught, let alone been reinforced through the way this business works.

I was wrong to dismiss the behavior, and the people that behaved this way. What I should do is look into resources that are available to them to better their business skills and professionalism.

No, the irony of me being more professional than others isn’t lost on me. :)

TwitchCon 2018, pt 1

TwitchCon 2018

This is the first time that I have been simultaneously impressed and disappointed with a conference or a convention. TwitchCon 2018 did that, and did it hard.

Now, keep in mind that the attendees are able to attend. That means they were able to afford the ticket and whatever housing and travel that they weren’t able to acquire by other means. So, when I say that my preconceptions about most streamers were confirmed by the age range, behavior, and attitudes of the attendees, please understand that I’m speaking only of those with the means to attend.

The attendees were quite young, compared to me. There were exceptions to that rule, and I was pretty happy to see as many streaks and full heads of gray hair as I did. I wasn’t the only one there dealing with an arthritis flare-up. That said, the skew toward the younger brought with it a frenetic energy that I found myself needing regular breaks from.

On the other hand, no one in their right mind would scoff at or dismiss the amount of enthusiasm and passion that both streamers and community members brought to TwitchCon. We were all among our brethren, and whatever our reasons for doing it, the love of streaming was everywhere.

It’s not surprising to me that I was exhausted by the same thing that inspired me. I suppose that comes with age.

Pieces and parts

Pieces and parts

Power can be a problem. I don’t mean the kind where you have too much power, and you get corrupted six ways from Sunday. No, I mean the kind where you need electricity to flow to the pieces and parts in exactly the ways that they expect. And since we’re using consumer parts to build the project, these things aren’t easily modified. But, you know what? This is a problem that can be solved.

We just haven’t been able to solve it yet. The PC takes the majority of the power, which we expected, and the screen takes a comparatively minimal amount. I bought this specific screen model because I saw it powered by USB in this video. Unfortunately, it won’t pull enough power either from a power brick (same brand as the video, but different model) or from a USB cable plugged into a wall wart rated for more than enough juice. I’ve reached out to the maker of the video, but haven’t gotten a reply.

It’s worth noting that the difficulties we’ve run into have had me considering whether or not I should continue the project. And then, at one point, we had the screen on and connected to my laptop, mirroring the display. And, still, that little 10″ screen is beautiful. It’s so pretty. And with that, I was determined all over again to see this thing through to its conclusion.

If you have any ideas or expertise that you’d like to lend to the situation, please contact me with the details you’d need to help with the problem, and I’ll send them your way.