Rise Above: Our Twitch Stream

Founder of Rise Above, Neil Fernandes, has started live streaming videos about the values and focuses of the organization on a website called Twitch. Twitch is a live streaming platform typically used by video gamers that allows users to watch tutorials and chat with millions of other gaming fans globally.

Unlike its typical user however, Neil uses this platform to open up live discussion. It is a content-based stream that allows viewers all over the country to ask questions real-time and be part of a discussion.

Neil has done a little over 30 streams, recording new ones at least once a week, on a wide variety of informational topics ranging from how Rise Above got started to the reality that the kids of Rise Above face. Due to listener interest, parenting tips has often been the direction conversation takes.

Who is the audience?

About 90% of the audience comes from other streamers that Neil moderates for. “Moderators” on Twitch ensure that the chat is up to the broadcaster’s standards during the stream by removing spam and offensive posts that detract from conversation. Being a moderator for other streamer’s video feeds builds network connections, so while many of these online “coworkers” knew him by his username, viewing his streams allow them to hear his voice, see his face, and get to know him a little better. Viewership consisted of these people in the beginning, who would pop in on one of his streams, and occasionally stick around because of the content. The rest of the audience consists of people referred to the stream by word of mouth, people that Neil has connected with personally and invited to check it out. Not a lot of people are just going to stumble upon this stream, as most people on Twitch are looking for video game content.

Where does the content come from? Generally, content is inspired by Rise Above and issues that are seen as good conversations starters. Sometimes Neil will start with a topic he can talk about for 15-20 minutes on his own as he waits for the audience to join in and start engaging in the conversation. Usually viewers will ask questions and take it in whatever direction they want. The other place content comes from is viewer questions and suggestions.

What is the response? The response from viewers has been overwhelming. People love the concept of the stream for its uniqueness. The audience has been encouraging and consistent, expressing interest in hearing more about this topics.

Why Twitch? Twitch as a video streaming platform already had a substantial and growing viewership. The platform as a whole is not very diversified, and is more focused on gaming, and that opened up a huge doorway to be unique. Currently, Rise Above is the only organization using Twitch in this way. There are millions of podcasts out there, yet there is no one on Twitch talking about what Neil is talking about. This provides the opportunity to reach an altogether different audience. Twitch was also the streaming service that Neil was most familiar with, so he used what he had to be innovative and spread the word about the importance of what Rise Above is doing.

How will these streams continue to be successful? Success would just be a growing interest in the product. “While the uniqueness of our stream is what is going to keep us viable for as long as possible, we do not want to continue as the only one using Twitch for these kinds of content-based streams,” Neil said. “People who are successful are successful because they are not alone. The more people who follow this lead, the more viewership will ultimately be generated for Rise Above, and the farther the influence of the concept.”

Where do I find the stream? https://www.twitch.tv/risk_immersed

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