Twitch is a platform where live content is created, shared, and streamed by the users. The service itself is known for building communities for these niche categories. Streamers are able to broadcast what they are doing, whether it be gaming, listening to music, just talking, etc., to an active audience who can join in on the conversation through the platform's chat function. Although twitch is an intangible item, it is evident that there is room for the company to grow in order to become a more sustainable company. Changes must be made to create a smaller carbon footprint and ensure a safe and inclusive workplace.
Twitch is a media platform made up of live user-generated content. With this service being free to users, anyone who has access will be able to use the platform to enjoy and be apart of content made by streamers through commenting, subscribing, sending tips, etc. Content is recommended to users based on a system created by Twitch’s viewer experience team where they are able to find and recommend videos to users based on the past live streams they attended. The platform also has different sections where viewers can choose which category they are interested in. From games, IRL, E-sports, music, and many more, it is safe to say that there is a live stream of anything you wish to watch.
While the platform itself is an intangible item, the service requires energy to be maintained. This is done through data trafficking (the amount of data moving across a network) and running servers. Both are relatively expensive to keep up, especially for a massive live streaming service, but also harmful to the environment. While the emissions released are not as detrimental as factories, they are still making an impact. A recent study stated that data centers have released more emissions globally than the entire aviation industry.
When analyzing who exactly is making Twitch, it is necessary to acknowledge both Twitch streamers and employees. While anyone can create content, Twitch has an affiliate membership for streamers with a larger fanbase. In order to see a growth in viewership requires consistency in streaming and longer hours. Most live-streamers receiving the largest payouts usually stream 40 hours a week. For many of the top creators on Twitch, streaming as a full-time job makes on average $3000-5000 a week (excluding ad revenue). Still, while this may sound all fun and dandy tomato money playing video games, these streamers are self-employed, meaning that they create their own schedules. When they neglect their basic needs like eating, sleeping, or even using the bathroom, it can seriously impact their health. Another prevalent issue within the streaming community deals with sexism against female streamers. Many female streamers have dealt with sexual harassment and bullying.
This theme is the same for the work environment at the company's headquarters. In 2020 employees at Twitch called the company out for racism and sexism. Staff members stated that there were many forms of abuse that took place as well as harassment claims. The harassment wasn't only in the workplace. Even male employees who worked at Twitch would call female streamers on the platform "boob streamers." It is not surprising to hear the prejudices occurring within both the streaming and tech industry. Twitch must hold itself accountable for these issues and develop strategies to change the company's environment to be an inclusive space for all.