What you need to know
- President Trump now has a Twitch channel of his own.
- Trump joins Bernie Sanders as the second major politician to have a Twitch channel.
- Both channels are being used to stream live campaign events, inviting viewers to join in the conversation.
Election coverage in the US can be a dizzying affair. From networks that hand-pick candidates for debates, to the never-ending slew of negative ads, elections can be a daunting time for many Americans just looking for information.
While major TV networks have traditionally been the place to find election coverage, an unexpected platform might be taking center stage as more candidates hop on board. Twitch, the streaming channel for gamers, now has two major politicians with personal political channels and it marks the beginning of big changes for the next election.
Donald Trump joined Twitch on October 10, found first by The Verge, in the evening and quickly grew to nearly 50,000 followers in less than a day. Bernie Sanders has been on Twitch since August and has around double that number, and it marks an interesting change in viewing habits for typical election coverage. Other than just a new streaming outlet, what exactly makes this platform different from all the others? Live comments and popularity among Millenials.
It's no secret that Millenials are a huge voting block and, as such, what better way to reach them than on the streaming platform they already visit daily by the millions? Twitch's massive success can be attributed to the way its platform works — hop on, find the streamer or game you're looking to watch, and join the party. It's a social streaming platform that allows direct interaction with the person in front of the camera, and it provides a new avenue for election coverage that hasn't been present in the past.
Both candidates have videos posted to their respective channels and have live-streamed their campaign rallies via the channel, with Donald Trump's first live-streamed event airing from Minneapolis last night. What's special here is the ability for viewers to get involved with the stream by leaving comments and chatting as things happen. Whether or not candidates use this platform as a way of directly interacting with viewers remains to be seen, but the avenue is there and it's waiting to be used.