TheN Tuesday evening, members of the US Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Ilhan Omar held perhaps the most unusual voter outreach event in recent memory. They logged in to play a video game streamed live on Twitch, and join a crew of strangers online to build a spaceship and try to get away with being killed – literally.
They were playing the incredibly famous game between us – The 2018 game is in the middle of a revival of interest, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and The catchy fashion of influencers. To play the game, the crewmates complete mundane missions on a spaceship while the fraudster tries to kill the crew members without getting caught. In the first round, Ocasio-Cortez – a complete rookie in the game – was chosen to be the impostor, while Omar, her close friend on Capitol Hill was chosen He couldn’t have been the wiser, so the live broadcast was set up to be fun from the get-go.
And it was, by every measure we have of this type of event, an incredible success. Twitch Channel, Okasio-Cortez It garnered an astonishing audience of 439,000 viewers, all watching in real time (Twitch broadcast record is About 628,000 Simultaneous Viewers) with nearly 5.2 million viewers watching the broadcast in total. Meme makers Extend the conversation per week. Politicians are not attracting that massive online audience so quickly on these platforms: When Donald Trump and Joe Biden A stream on Twitch of campaign events, totaling views of around 6,000 and 17,000, respectively.
The Ocasio-Cortez and Lifetime stream’s success extends beyond Already well established popularity Among young progressives. The game itself is a great sport. Much like the party game you might know as Werewolf or Mafia, we are suspicious of right from the start, because even though the players know there is an impostor “among us” (maybe two), they don’t know who the impostor is.
The flow of AOC was as good as any sale: She worried about having to play the impostor, she almost gave herself up and says “Nooooo” out loud when she realizes she will be the first person to evade suspicion. In later games, where she was just a crewmate, she regretted viewers about how she was “running after her” on her missions, and was shocked when a fraudster found her little avatar and killed her.
When the corpse of another player is found, viewers can speculate with her: Who is the most suspicious player? (“I’m voting early,” she says when casting too much against a suspect, using every opportunity to stay on top of the message.) You really don’t have to know anything about video games to get into the action of the game.
But Ocasio-Cortez and Omar aren’t just two famous people who play an unusually popular video game; They are members of Congress trying to get out of the vote. And in this, they achieved something that most politicians try and fail on a daily basis: They just looked like normal people. They were having fun, accusing each other of being impostors, cheering up when victorious, and shouting how they knew all the time when a fraudster was finally detected.
Credibility goes a long way here: AOC, in particular, has an established online presence, interacting with online audiences in a semi-collective manner. This, like the idea of playing a video game when she and Omar ostensibly have “more important” things to do, may earn her the scorn of others in Congress, but keep in mind the things other candidates do to get out of the vote: Fish potatoes, Kiss the baby And the Concerts. You go where people are, and in 2020 young people watch video games played on Twitch.
In internet culture, there is nothing more vulgar than a tourist, someone with a purely transactional interest in a scene. And no matter how serious Joe Biden is, or how cynically Trump has taken advantage, in some online circles, they will always be tourists just because they are too far from what young people do online to do what Ocasio-Cortez did: notice there’s a game people love to watch on Twitch, they ask Asking if anyone wants to play with it, and sitting for a few hours to do it with the nearly half a million people watching it. And in the end, this is the secret of Okasio-Cortez and Omar’s success: They weren’t briefly political opportunists, but motivated citizens, just two twitches between us.
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