What's up internet? Hope everyone is having a great 2019 so far. I've been pretty busy myself, university assignments and all that. However, you'll be glad to hear that I submitted my last one yesterday evening! Schweet. That means I can dedicate a little more time to a bunch of other things I have in the works. Last year I endeavoured to post a snippet of stuff I'd been working on at least once a week, but it's about three weeks into the new year and I haven't posted anything, so
"What have you been working on???" I hear you cry. Well, if you saw the link to this post, you probably noticed something cool. That's right, I got a website! I've been itching to set one up for the longest time, but continually hesitated with questions like do I really need one?. Thanks to a friend, I pushed myself to pull the trigger. The site's been pretty amazing so far. In the past I've used free hosting sites to provide PHP scripts for chat bots, but the URL obviously wasn't too great looking and at least with one host, there was the threat of the site being inaccessible for an entire hour every day due to free use limitations, which sucked. If you're trying to provide things for a global community across different time zones, there was the possibility of it not being available at a certain time. It didn't matter too much since I was really the only one using it. Now though, I'm able to provide services on a much wider scale, all under a clean looking domain.
Hopefully that's exactly what I'm going to do, starting with what this post is about.
eWOM - What's the buzz?
Uh oh. Your sink broke. You don't have the first clue about plumbing, so you decide to look up some contractors. Your searches on Google yield plenty of results and fairly soon those personalised ads have caught onto your searches; adverts for plumbing services begin popping up. You decide to message a friend whose bath had a similar a problem last month. They recommend a company they've used fairly often. You give them a shot and within a few days all is well again. Nice!
You've most likely already been through something very similar and already know the term for this. Word of mouth. Daugherty & Hoffman (2013) note that WOM is widely regarded as one of the most important factors impacting consumer behaviour. As Litvin et al. (2008) write, the perceived independence of the source of the message (from the communicator) lends credibility to the communication. It's in this where the power of WOM lies.
If you use Twitch in any capacity, you probably also use Twitter. It's a great place for streamers and viewers to connect off-stream as well as with other communities that might just be around the corner. There have been numerous studies into the power of Twitter in increasing brand awareness and boosting engagement. The rise and use of such services have led to the emergence of a new form of word of mouth- electronic word of mouth, or, eWOM (which is fun to say). Rapid diffusion of messages over the internet
Twitter & Twitch
Given how incrementally useful Twitter can be for streamers, it's no wonder why they choose to tweet out before every stream and sometimes after streams (and even during stream, maybe in an intermission). Twitter shows helpful analytics of the reach of your tweets which you can use to track engagement of your tweeting activities. Particular hashtags might get you more reach, but perhaps at the cost of looking spammy.
Tweeting about your own stream is pretty standard through. You're essentially marketing yourself. If we follow the same logic of eWOM, we can assume that viewers tweeting about you and your stream generates better engagement (at least, within potential reach of that viewer). Some Twitch bots have services to help you with this. Let's take a look at some.
One of the most popular and established bots out there, Nightbot has an inbuilt tweet variable that generates a click-to-tweet link that viewers can click to tweet out the stream. You can set a phrase that gets turned into a bitlink, ready to tweet out a stream.
This is perfect for streams wanting to quickly generate a link for people to tweet out the stream in order to help boost engagement.
StreamElements doesn't have a click-to-tweet variable, but they do offer a last tweet variable that can be used to encourage people to tweet your last tweet. This can be just as effective, unless you forget to tweet out that you're live and your tweet happens to be something completely unrelated.
Get to the point already?!
Okay, so you're probably wondering what I'm still going on about. Well, recently I worked on a small something for a friend to further extend the click-to-tweet thing, in a similar fashion to Nightbot. It essentially does the same thing; generates a bitlink that allows viewers to tweet out the stream, but there are some cool extra features that none of the other bots allow you to do.
The biggest thing is that you can set more than one tweet, while Nightbot only allows you to set one tweet at a time. Your viewers are stuck tweeting the same thing over and over again! They might not their timeline spammed up with the same looking tweet, which could discourage them from clicking. Mine allows you to set a multitude of possible tweets, from which one is picked and a link is generated from it. You can additionally use a variable such as
Another cool thing is that it preserve newlines, whereas with a bot you're required to enter everything in one line, so the generated tweet is all in one block paragraph. With this, you can separate out sentences to let your tweet make more of an impact.
Here's what the interface looks like!
The neat thing about the tweet intents is that no specific Twitter API is required, instead, only a specific link needs to be generated which points in the right direction. From there, Twitter will automatically detect if the user is logged in and ask if the user wants to tweet it, or if they're not logged in, they'll be prompted to do so. Since no specific rate-limited endpoint is needed, I've been able to expand this 'service' and make it more available for people to use.
The only API I'm really using is bit.ly's, in order to generate the bitlinks. It's rate-limited to about 1,000 calls an hour, or 100 a minute, which should be more than enough for now. I did originally consider Google's link shortener, which permits up to a million links a day, but bit.ly's shortening service appears more reliable and doesn't generate duplicate links (identical long links will generate the same bitlink every time) which is super satisfying to me for some reason.
I'm currently looking for more people to try it and let me know what they think. I want to make more additions to improve it even further, so suggestions would be more than welcome. Something I've been thinking of adding is the ability to toggle individual tweets on and off, so if you have an event-specific tweet that you want in the rotation for some streams but not others, then you can easily enable and disable it.
If you're interested in trying it out, please send me a DM on Twitter or join my Discord; I created a new 'beta' channel for people wanting to be among the first to try out new tools and overlays I'm working on. Anyway, thanks for reading my first proper post here! I'm looking forward to sharing more details about other ideas or things in the works.
Daugherty, T. & Hoffman, E. (2014) eWOM and the importance of capturing consumer attention within social media. Journal of Marketing Communications. 20 (1-2), 82-102
Litvin, S.W., Goldsmith, R.E. & Pan, B. (2008) Electronic word-of-mouth in hospitality and tourism management. Tourism Management. 29 (3), 458-468.