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Dear Twitch: Stop Turning Off My Email Notifications

Twitch sent me another email they turned off my email notifications as if I’m not an intelligent person that can manage my notifications.

It’s that time again…when Twitch decides who I want to receive notifications from.

When you follow someone from Twitch, you have the option to turn on notifications for streamers. For most, I have the option to email me turned off but there are a few I want to receive emails for. Not all streamers tweet they are going live and many do not have consistent stream times. Smart streamers have the game they are playing listed, so I know if I want to watch.

What’s the Problem?

I only log into to Twitch if I have a reason. Twitch drops, subscribe, etc. otherwise, I don’t log in. I rarely log into to chat. Why? Because I’m usually doing something else while I “watch”. For example, I might be working, doing something around the house, chatting in Discord, working out; I’m not keeping an eye on chat. Sometimes I’m curled up in bed. Seriously, I rarely feel the desire to chat. I’m there for the show.

I watched the stream in December. Twitch turned off notifications in January.

What’s the problem? Twitch doesn’t like the fact that I’m not logging in. You see, they can’t track me as easily. Not logging in means I’m not giving money on their schedule. From a business standpoint, it makes sense to not spend money (bandwidth) on people who aren’t making them the most money. Twitch turns my notifications off that I purposely set, for a reason, to min/max their finances without letting the streamer know they are cutting off their audience.

To assume I don’t watch the people I set notifications for, because I’m not logged in, is an inaccurate assumption. What if they are playing a string of games I’m not interested in, or multiple streamers are streaming at the same time or I know a streamer is going to play a specific game and I don’t want to miss it? Let’s be honest: it’s none of Twitch’s business why I set the notification. I set it. Leave it alone! Perhaps the notifications were being reported as spam by viewers? Not my problem. I was mildly surprised they include gaming companies in this as well. Watching streams is a way to boost sales.

What’s the Solution?

Let’s be clear: Twitch isn’t warning me that they are going to turn them off. They turn notifications off, leaving me the option to login and turn them back on or leave them off.

I’ve started leaving them off.

What does that mean for the streamer? If they are inconsistent with their streaming schedules or don’t post on social media, they are going to lose viewers over time. I’m assuming streamers are getting these notifications too, so they are aware of the situation. They don’t know who Twitch cock blocked. Remember, follow numbers don’t change, only the notification status. I received these notices about once a quarter in 2019. I expect at least the same for 2020.

In this case, Mathil, Dan, CriticalRole and WoodenPotatoes stream consistently. Mathil, and Dan post on Twitter when they are going live. I find their tweets interesting enough to follow. Guild Wars 2 has an RSS feed on their website, which (for me) is the best of them all. Bethesda is the weak one because they don’t stream consistently, and I’m only interested in the Elder Scrolls stuff. Thankfully, they are a company, so I have news sites to keep me informed with what they are doing.

The average streamer falls into the Bethesda category. They don’t treat their stream like a business. Their stream hours are inconsistent just like their social media posts.

Another option is Discord. Many streamers have it as a perk to subscribers along with a free area where they post “news” and updates. Perhaps I am not the norm, which is most likely, but I rarely use Discord to keep up with gaming or community news. Do you use it like that? It’s a chat tool. I don’t log on unless I’m ready to chat. Again, I’m not the norm with this. Discord could be an adequate tool to keep viewers informed.

The lesson learned: streamers can’t depend on the company they’ve partnered with to not interfere with the viewer/streamer relationship. Instead of saying, “Hit the follow button!” streamers need to say, “Hit the follow button, and turn on notifications and make sure you log in often to keep notifications on.”