After 31 days and 46 hours of live coding on twitch, I have some thoughts!
Firstly, I’m so glad I did this! It’s been hard to find motivation this past year to work on side projects and generally keep busy outside of work. This was a great way to be accountable. 10/10 would recommend this approach for people who otherwise find motivation hard.
Thinking of dabbling in some live coding streams on youtube, mostly to learn something new myself.— Karthik Balakrishnan (@karthikb351) June 15, 2021
I'll be figuring stuff out as I go along, no prior prep.
What do you think would more interesting/useful to watch? (especially for folks new to programming)
I went into this without a real plan as such, and that actually ended up being a great decision because I gave myself the room to pivot in terms of what projects I was working on. I started with some work for @internetfreedom, and once I got a little more comfortable with the idea of talking through my thought process, I started fleshing out some project ideas and then started knocking them out one at a time.
In a little over a month, me and chat managed to build and deploy v0.1 of several projects:
Self imposed rules
I always use every side project as an excuse to learn something new, whether it’s a framework, system, or even some tool.
For almost all my streaming, I worked exclusively with new stuff I’ve been wanting to try out. All development was done via GitHub’s Codespaces, I used GitHub Actions for all my deployment steps, and I picked GCP as my cloud provider so I could get a chance to learn IAM, Datastore, Cloud Functions, Secret Manager, etc. (I otherwise primarily work on AWS at my day job).
One of my other rules was to make sure I end my stream at some logical point in terms of progression, without taking forever. I’m actually happy that I managed to mostly achieve this. Most streams were ~2 hours long, and had tangible progress at the end. It was difficult to estimate how long something would take, especially when most stuff was new, but I always made sure to end after we reached some checkpoint, however minor.
On YouTube vs Twitch
I actually streamed on YouTube for the first few days, and then switched over to Twitch. Night and day difference for small streamers in my opinion. While India is an overwhelmingly YouTube country, discovery on YouTube is really hard when you are starting off, and more so for live streaming. There’s no real categorization for live streaming, and I don’t think anyone really looks at the Live section.
On comparison, I was able to find other small coding streams on Twitch easily. I made sure to end most of my streams with a raid of a small programming streamer, and it’s been a great way to network. I actually have a few people I talk (even off twitch) regularly now.
Growing the stream
I used to post on my Twitter whenever I went live (which was almost every night at 9pm), but after a few days of that I felt a little conscious of posting on twitter, so I stopped doing that. The few regulars I have on stream are people who’ve come from Twitter.
I honestly didn’t bother too much with viewership or numbers, I think I had enough to focus on and enough satisfaction from the work that even if nobody was watching I would probably still do this.
One my initial plans when I considered streaming was that I thought it would be a good way to maybe help folks who want to get into programming (or motivate those who want to do more side projects). In hindsight, I don’t really think I achieved this. I need to really spend some time and energy into marketing this maybe? I’m not sure. Maybe over time the right people will find this, and I don’t have to really think about it.
How to join!
Anyway, on conclude this ramble, I think I’ll keep doing this until I’ve run out of side projects (which probably isn’t soon).
If you’d like to join/watch/etc, probably the easiest way is to join the Discord discord.gg/NvwRKJDG8H
And ofcourse, you can always catch me on Twitch at twitch.tv/karthikb351