Meta is a pretty popular term nowadays in our gaming circles, coming from competitive games and used in many other departments now. In short Meta in gaming stands for state of things in some environment that becomes most popular or even default. Can use it anywhere, but gaming is the easiest example – some character or composition of characters becomes popular being most effective/versatile and you can expect to see them very frequently in your games. Could call it trends or something, but considering our mostly gaming background I think it’s just easier to use meta for everyone to understand what was meant.
This is just my vision and might be series of posts that probably won’t even be “finite” since Meta changes, there are new things that develop their own Meta and then things also tend to evolve sometimes not discretely, but you can see that slow wind of change that you can also try to analyze and predict where things are going.
So is Twitch Meta something that only started to form recently? Not really of course, since long time it was quite common to adopt some ideas and things other streamers use, like for example some emotes that you can see as staple emotes of every Twitch channel, someone makes emote that becomes popular and everyone is getting their own version or BTTV gets some new trendy emote and people make their own version (I’m no stranger to this myself of course). Using Text-To-Speech also wasn’t always a thing, I mean even having alerts for donations isn’t that old of a thing and also started somewhere (I think it was actually Reckful first). Many examples really, things that were changing the platform and ways people stream, even ways people watch too, so I guess trying to analyze the meta might also be considered in a way historical content too, keeping some records of how things were back in a day to tell kids that you were there watching first toilet stream that became meta and people are taking a shit with chat for past 20 years every day (if someone is here from the future I’m sarcastic… currently… in 2021).
But even though Meta somewhat existed since forever on Twitch it didn’t really feel like meta, it’s like when game has a lot of strong characters you don’t really feel like there is some meta, because you frequently see different team compositions, so it just doesn’t make you think about it, but when you start seeing only a few in every game – that’s when you begin to notice that they are OP and meta. That recently started happening on Twitch in a way – when lots of big streamers start doing same things somewhat randomly, like it’s obvious that some new huge release will have everyone streaming it, but when Among Us after a long time of 0 activity became insanely huge and echo of that meta went through all structure of Twitch reaching even me being invited in Among Us lobbies with streamers of different sizes. Didn’t stop there and it even went out of Twitch getting politicians and now TV celebrities to join, that’s when it went out of Meta on Twitch and became a real life trend out of it, at least to some extent. Then there was Rust RP that also went loud and wide, we even had our own private Rust server with some streamers that wasn’t that intense and drama heavy, we also barely streamed it, but technically Meta got us there too. GTA RP is going on currently with xQc pulling in more than 100k viewers alone, newspapers posting article about Soda quitting the server and his fictional fast food joint management position – another pretty loud Meta echo outside of Twitch and streaming. Oh and of course there’s now Subathon and sleeping streams Meta going on, after Ludwig passing 200k subscribers on Twitch (not followers, paid subs, just imagine that number) during his subathon and his stream being top on the platform with him just sleeping, of course there also was mainstream media attention to him too. Also speaking of subathons and sleeping – it also was a thing before, Trizze did it year ago or so, but it didn’t become the Meta, so again like in games you need some Pro Player or tournament to have some character/composition to be played very successfully to get people on board, but also this is a bit more rare case when one person starts it solo. Hottub meta in Just Chatting is also a thing now, but that’s a bit more niche to become real Meta I’d say, so it’s more of a meme and reason for people to ree.
So main reason why now Meta is more “palpable” is mostly because platform became huge and some streamers attract so much attention that they, especially doing something together can actually set trends on the platform and not only with ease. Even Pokemon trading cards became a bigger trend for some time due to some big streamers doing pack openings and revitalized trading market for that, also increasing rare old packs in price to some crazy numbers.
Is Meta a bad thing? Well not really, as I said it’s kinda inevitable to adopt some things from others that work well, so Meta is natural for us in everything one way or another. Big Meta things though like GTA RP, are they bad? I see a lot of negativity from viewers, because some meta activity like this can consume their streamers and prevent them from making other content that people like watching, but then again if streamer enjoys playing some game that is meta, then whatever, it is actually kinda good I would say, because maybe without meta they would never find that game and never experience it.
Overall I’d say it’s not a bad thing to follow the Meta, even jumping on big Meta trains leading to hype – why not, as long as you don’t go against your self, your integrity, community etc. Some Meta I even find really good, like Chess meta that brought attention to that great game and people playing it, giving them some extra ways to monetize their skills and knowledge – that’s always great.
Some Meta trends on the platform I find not very good though, I guess you could say it’s more of a direction some things are taking on Twitch, like some chat meta etc, but that’s already topic for next posts, for now we just established what is Meta and that it exists on Twitch in different shapes, later there will be some “analysis” of some particular cases and directions some take.