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Eamonn Cottrell
Eamonn Cottrell

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5 Thoughts on Building & Learning in Public with Twitch and LinkedIn

I built out a Twitch site and streaming setup over the last few days to build a business and brand online. And I've got some thoughts.

0) More Streaming, Less Screaming

Streaming seems like a neat platform for learning in public as well as building. I have been very intrigued with solo-entrepreneurs in the technology field for a while now. Indie hackers who more often than not are working a day job, like myself, who spin up something on the side have been a breed of internet folks I'd like to be emulating.

There's a heck of a lot of noise in the world these days, and plenty of crappy business advice masquerading itself as gospel. It'd be nice to share pieces of what I've learned in the small business world over the last couple decades as well as document my efforts to carve out my own piece of the digital business world.

Doing so in public is pretty popular when it comes to side gigs and startups, and it has a ton of upside from an exposure standpoint. I don't think everything is appropriate to do out in the open, but as a podcaster and overall geek when it comes to this stuff, the live stream cool factor is also fun & enticing.

I work for a coffee company as well, and employing some of these ideas into that business is an exciting prospect.

1) Learning By Doing

Video is my personal sweet spot for engaged learning. As I've learned web development, data analytics and the myriad other random things for my work and my own satisfaction, documentation has been the best resource for breadth of material. But video has been the sweet spot for applying and truly learning specific tools and techniques. The act of replicating--actually doing the thing--that I watch someone else do has been priceless.

I started a "learn with me" style podcast years ago, and rebooted it recently. I think video will allow me to quench a need for creative content creation and learning all at once. Given an increasingly limited schedule of free time in real life, any chance to combine interests is a good thing for me...Heck, I could stream the making of my soundtrack podcast and kill three birds with one stone!

Oh, snap, I could go even more meta and live stream the act of creating this article.

2) Hybrid Cross-Channel

Twitch & LinkedIn are primed for a hybrid stream channel. LinkedIn video itself is something I'll investigate separately once I get going further (I've seen companies like Freightwaves do a wonderful job of using LinkedIn uniquely). LinkedIn itself is a more healthy professional connection platform than any other in my opinion right now. I plan on continuning to use Twitter for reach, but honestly, until I focus and grow my followers there, it's like throwing things into the void every time I post.

LinkedIn has better organic reach possibilities.

Twitch of course is known for gaming, but there is a wide variety of other creative and technical channels available too. I will be streaming shorter episodes than the big names, but I think I can re-purpose content on YouTube afterwards in many cases.

The live learning/building in conjunc5tion with seminar/conference-type constructed talks is very interesting to me. I've been intrigued by the media & tech work Brian Douglas has done, and spoken about. I'm drawing a lot of inspiration from listening to his thoughts on Developer Relations and Advocacy in the space.

I've seen how important quality content can be in every single company, and I'm interested in using that necessity as a great excuse to make content around stuff that I love learning about anyway.

3) Black Holes & Revelations

As with most things on the Internet, this new streaming venture can seem like a black hole of information when getting started...And then an even more overwhelming force once you get the training wheels off.

My first couple test streams were several years ago when i was enthralled with Dark Souls. I threw a channel up, streamed a couple times, and haven't touched it since. Coming back, the platform has blossomed, the tools have matured, and I see shiny things everywhere that I want to try out.

My own creativity and curiosity needs to tinker with things, so I have let myself build out some custom graphics, overlays, and transition effects for the channel while I make my way around OBS again.

In face, I think I could probably stream that stuff next time I make changes. Point being: I can always spend time tweaking my setup at the expense of using the setup to do the thing I'm building it for.

In a flashy, polished Twitchverse, I need not get too distracted by huge channels doing complicated things. A minimal setup that is clean and up and running is a perfect place to start.

4) Just Doing It

It took me hours and months and honestly years before I was truly comfortable (and half-way professional sounding) podcasting behind a microphone. But the most important part was just suiting up and showing up. There was no substitute for putting in long hours of creating dismally sub-par content.

It has to be done.

The saving grace, of course, is that hardly anyone is paying attention to it in the beginning, so IT DOES NOT MATTER what it sounds or looks like. It's the birthing of a craft that takes effort and trial and a ton of errors.

But happiness is a welcome by-product of creation no matter how much work it takes.

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