How Live Streaming Saved Our Sanity During The Pandemic
A year into the global COVID-19 pandemic, some aspects of life have become surprisingly… normal.
From online school days taking place on Zoom to office strategy meetings taking place on Microsoft Teams, the niche online world has quickly become our daily norm as the months of pandemic drag on endlessly.
For many, the loss of community in early 2020 led them to search for a place to rest their mind, find community, and seek small bits of entertainment away from a stressful, sick world. One industry that quickly answered the call for moments of sanity was live streaming.
Live streaming – once used by only the niche digital consumer – has become one of the only ways to connect. While live streaming was the domain of online gamers in 2019, the pandemic of 2020 saw live streaming come to churches, concerts, comedy, cooking shows, and living rooms worldwide. In a time when the world seemed to be losing its mind, live streaming helped us all keep our sanity – together.
By The Numbers
The pandemic’s shutdown of nearly every aspect of face-to-face humanity drove everyone to the only spot safe from the coronavirus’s reach: online streaming platforms. While streaming platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming were already becoming popular in the years before the pandemic, the rise of stay-at-home orders lit a fuse and sent viewership into the stratosphere. Take a look at these growth percentages between March and April 2020 – the first months of the pandemic taking hold:
Twitch: 50% Growth
Facebook Gaming: 72% Growth
YouTube Gaming: 14% Growth
Mixer: 15% Growth
These numbers showcase the growth in a single month – most live streaming platforms have nearly doubled their viewership in the year since the pandemic began. Why? It is likely that as individuals lost access to their face-to-face, physical community, they sought out friends and family to journey together through the pandemic.
As social creatures, humanity must find ways to work together for both physical and mental health – especially during difficult times. Those who felt their reality slipping away locked inside found a community they could trust in online live streams.
Live Streaming – The New Normal?
As vaccines become steadily more available and people begin to emerge from their coronavirus-cocoon, many wonder what the new normal will look like now that live streaming has become standard to our lives.
The question remains to be answered: Will live streaming slowly fade away once lockdowns lift – remaining a mere memory of a fad that took the world by storm for a few crazy months? Or will live streaming’s accessibility, range of content, and digital community change how we engage with online content forever?
Take a page from the history books of the television streaming wars. There was a time when few imagined that online streaming platforms such as Hulu and Netflix would dominate the market over cable and network companies. Today, more individuals than ever are cutting the cord and packaging digital streaming options into their DIY programming.
Live streaming will likely take a similar route, as more people than ever now have found community among their old and new friends on live streaming channels. The communities that grew close during a difficult time will not be easily broken apart, and the hope that so many found in their streaming circles will likely stay healthy – even as the world turns the page into a post-COVID world.