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The Life of Streamers and How They Cope With Burnout

In 2019, “how to create a YouTube channel” became one of the most searched topics in the “how to…” segment. This shows that public interest in becoming content creators is quite high. And gaming is a pretty sexy category, especially in the midst of a pandemic like now. When people are asked not to travel unnecessarily, many people spend their free time playing games or watching game content.

It’s just that, is being a content creator as easy as it looks? Indeed, content creators or streamers are not required to continuously give their best performance like esports athletes. However, that doesn’t mean streamers and content creators have no problems at all. One of the challenges that streamers or content creators usually face is prolonged stress that can lead to burnout.

 

What is a Burnout and What are the Triggers?

Before we talk about burnout experienced by content streamers and creators, let’s get a general understanding of burnout. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), burnout syndrome is a chronic work-induced stress condition characterized by fatigue, irritation with work, and dissatisfaction. The question is, can a game streamer experience burnout?

To a gamer, getting paid to play games – and possibly fans anyway – may sound like a dream job. Early in a career as a streamer, a person may be willing to spend hours – or perhaps dozens – on broadcast. It’s just that, as noted by Performance Psychologist, Landon Gorbenko, there will be times when a streamer becomes bored with his work. The reason is, it is not easy to create interesting video content every day.

“It’s not always, but sometimes, viewers have expectations that the streamer’s content will continue to get better over time. This will force streamers to live up to these expectations, “Gorbenko said in a video. “You have to adhere to the schedule you have set, you have to continue to be friendly because your broadcast is watched by many people. All of this tires your brain. ”

According to the Polygon report, burnout among Twitch streamers and YouTube content creators is not a new problem. In 2015, Twitch introduced classes and seminars for casters so they could create better content. Not only that, these classes and seminars also function to help casters manage their time. Meanwhile, in 2014, Fast Company has written an article about how content creators are experiencing burnout because they have to keep creating content non-stop.

Olga Kay, a popular YouTuber at the time, admitted that she rarely left her apartment because of her busy schedule. “If I take a long time to rest, I have to work a lot harder when I come back to creating content,” he said. “When I remember that I have to go back to creating content, it just makes me even more stressed.”

In 2018, a number of well-known content creators, such as Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, EthanKlein, and Saqib Ali Zahid aka Lirik have also talked about burnout and other mental problems they face. Through videos on YouTube or Twitter, they admit, it is difficult for them to continue creating content when they are also experiencing various mental problems such as anxiety disorders or even depression.

“I feel that the content I create is no longer interesting. I don’t know why people keep watching the content I make, ”said Lirik at the time. “I felt like I was in front of the stage without knowing what to say because I had run out of materials.” She admitted that staying connected to the internet drained her energy and she felt that she had to rest. “I was thinking about what I would do in the future, changing my habits, finding new goals, and ultimately, finding meaning in life.”

If writing or drawing is your hobby, you are definitely familiar with the terms “writer’s block” or “artist’s block”. When you are saturated with these hobbies, you can stop for a moment to refresh your mind again. Unfortunately, for people who are in the creative industry, like streamers, they still have to create content no matter what they feel bored or not. In addition, a streamer cannot just stop broadcasting, because this can make them abandoned by the audience.

On Medium, Lauren Hallanan, VP of Live Streaming, The Meet Group, explained that, for most audiences, watching streamers is an activity to fill their spare time, something that is done in the middle of a lunch break or before bed. And this activity has become routine. Hence, when a streamer is not broadcasting at that time, they will switch to another streamer. Unlike television, which has limited channels, digital platforms like Twitch offer millions of streamers.

Thomas Vojnyk, VP of Community and Content, The Meet Group said, “Consistency is the key to success for a streamer, no matter what platform they use. However, we have lots of successful streamers who take a week’s break without any warning. When they come back, they have to build their fanbase again. ”

When compared to content creators, streamers also have one other problem. Unlike content creators who can still get views from old videos, streamers can only get viewers when they broadcast. That means, the more often and the longer a streamer broadcasts, the better. It’s just that, broadcasting for hours every day, this kind of lifestyle will end in burnout.

“One of the problems faced by YouTubers or content creators is that you are required to continue to provide better content,” said PewDiePie. He told me how he had to look cheerful even though he was playing a game he didn’t like. “I think there are many people who are shackled by these demands. That they must continue to provide better content. ” And the pressure to continue to provide content that is attractive to viewers, this can make a content creator do things that are not ethical. PewDiePie cites vlogger Logan Paul as an example.

In early 2018, Logan Paul was hit by controversy when he made a video in the Aokigahara forest, Japan. The forest at the foot of Mount Fuji is known as a place of suicide. While making a video, Paul and his friends found the body of an unknown man. Even though he looked surprised, Paul and his friends still had time to joke and laugh. This angered netizens.

“I don’t think Logan is a bad guy,” said PewDiePie. “In my opinion, he is just fixated on the idea that he should continue to make videos that get lots of views. If you make videos every day, it’s hard to ensure that your viewers will continue to be interested in your content. ”

 

The Importance of Rest For Content Creators and Streamers

Streamers and content creators are required to continue to provide high quality content. This leaves them vulnerable to burnout, according to Katrina Gay, National Director for Strategic Partnership, National Alliance on Mental Illness. And if a streamer or content creator decides to ignore their burnout, they can resent their job before they finally quit.

“Ensuring that you have a balanced lifestyle is very important,” says Gay. “You have to be aware of the demands of your job. You have to understand that you cannot dedicate your life to just one area. You have to learn how to limit your work so you can focus on other parts of your life.”

According to Gorbenko, one way to avoid burnout is to plan breaks. “If you don’t plan for breaks, sometimes you will continue to work, play and broadcast,” he said. He suggested, when taking a break, a streamer should try other hobbies besides playing games.

“If a streamer is broadcasting and they find people toxic, or their performance is not very good, it will make them sad or angry,” said Gorbenko. “If they have other hobbies, such as cooking, that hobby can become an emotional buffer. Taking on another hobby allows streamers to recuperate so that when they decide to go back to streaming, they can do it with gusto. ”

Like Gorbenko, Gay also suggested that if a streamer or content creator starts to feel burnout, they should focus on other aspects of their life. He revealed, after taking a break, a streamer or creator will usually remember again about the reasons that made them interested in creating content or streaming for the first time. And this makes them feel the satisfaction they got when they started their careers again.

To avoid burnout, Gay said, a streamer or content creator must have self-awareness of their own limits. The reason is because they themselves decide when and for how long they have to work. “Nobody regulates your work schedule as a streamer,” says Gay. “You have to be able to find your own work rhythm. The process of finding this out is not easy, but very important. ”

 

Conclusion

For gamers, being a content streamer or creator is indeed a lucrative job. How come. A streamer’s job is “just” playing games. A streamer was also cheered by his fans.

It’s just that, to be able to build a fanbase, a streamer must broadcast consistently. When starting a career as a streamer, a person may be willing and able to broadcast for hours every day. However, how long would a person survive to force himself to work at such a rhythm of work? In the end, he will experience burnout or even burnout.

The only way to treat or prevent burnout, is to take a break. A streamer should tell his viewers if they want to take a break. For that, they can discuss their vacation plans while broadcasting. Alternatively, they can provide information about their vacation plans on their profile. That way, viewers will know that the streamer is planning to come back.

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