In the days of young Twitch (which really was only a year and a half ago), streamers had to gain their own audience through tiring work and were lucky to gain a few followers a day. They became popular through their work alone. Twitch has been advancing steadily though and is making it much easier for newer streamers to get noticed. Enter the Hosting feature.
Hosting is a relatively newer feature but it is one that is becoming a staple for all streamers to do. It used to be standard for a streamer to “raid” another streamer, which means that they would link the stream in their chat and would send as many viewers to the other streamer’s broadcast as possible. It would help the other streamer out by providing viewers that they may have never seen otherwise. Hosting can be used in combination with raiding to show all of your viewers the channel you are supporting.
With Hosting, the streamer simple types “/host (twitch name here)” and the streamer’s channel will host the other’s channel. A video will appear and allow all the viewer’s to view the new stream, without the viewer actually having to visit the channel.. It will also add all viewers into one pool so the new stream will have a combined viewer count from both their own channel and the hosting channel. It allows a streamer to expose their regulars to new streamers when they themself cannot stream. Viewers don’t even have to leave the chat room that they are in to watch another stream, allowing friends and alike viewers to stay together in the original streamer’s chat while watching a different stream. Or, of course, the viewers can always head over to the other channel and make new friends in that chat.
You can see if anyone you are following on Twitch is hosting another channel by clicking Following -> Hosts or by visiting http://www.twitch.tv/directory/following/hosts. Clicking on a Live Host will take you to the Host’s twitch page, not the person who is being hosted. As a streamer, this is beneficial because you can bring your viewers into your channel even when you are not online, encouraging community interaction. Host a channel before you go live to get your viewers into your channel before you stream. As a viewer, this is a great opportunity to discover new streamers recommended by the people you follow, and still hangout in your favorite streamer’s chat.
Hosting is a bright spot in the future of Twitch streaming. It is another step in bringing the Twitch community closer together, both streamers and viewers alike. Make sure that if you stream, you start exploring your options to Host and even raid some as well!