One of my favorite aspects of live-streaming myself playing video games on Twitch was interacting with the viewers. On Twitch, there is a chat feature where the viewers can send messages in a group chat that the live-streamer can read. Before streams, Mindy and I would announce our streams on social media and share the posts with our friends, for average views of around ?. Many of our friends came to support us, as well as complete strangers showing up and staying around to have a conversation with us. Many of the friends we invited had little background on Iran, and the Middle East in general, so Mindy and I took the time during our streams to answer questions they had or talk about history briefly. Our friends, who previously had little interest or knowledge in the Middle East, were now asking us complex questions and learning both through our game play and our “group” discussions facilitated by whoever was live streaming.
As mentioned earlier, we would also have strangers watch our livestream and would similarly ask us questions. However, many of these surprise viewers typically came from the Middle East, so their questions were different in nature. One time while streaming Battlefield 3, we had an Afghan come watch us stream, who was amazed to see Americans who knew Farsi. He was asking us questions from “why does America depict the Middle East as so violent?” to “Do Americans really eat McDonalds that much?” Through Twitch and live streaming, we were able to have a cultural exchange and open dialogue with our viewers.
To be continued (anticipated January 2022)