When you think of Twitch stars, politicians are probably not the first people that come to mind. That didn’t stop congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar from making waves in the streaming world on October 20. AOC’s Twitch debut, where she played Among Us with some big streaming names, garnered 435,000 viewers.
AOC tweeted the day before if anyone wanted to play Among Us with her on Twitch. It turns out people did, as Twitch royalty like Pokimane and HasanAbi joined her on the stream. More than 430,000 viewers also joined, placing it in the top 20 most popular streams on the site.
More Than Just a Game
For AOC’s first Twitch experience, she did surprisingly well. Playing as the impostor in the first round, Ocasio-Cortez managed to kill half the crew before the rest caught her. Her fellow congresswoman Omar made it to the last three before being outed as the impostor.
Playing Among Us wasn’t the primary point of the stream, though. Throughout the session, AOC and the other streamers discussed political issues and encouraged viewers to vote. In between the usual Among Us arguments and accusations, the gamers talked about their voting plans and healthcare issues.
One of the streamers, Myth, tweeted after the event that he would vote for the first time. In something of a reversal, Rep. Omar tweeted out her gaming rig specs after the stream.
Reaching a New Generation of Voters
Ocasio-Cortez and Omar’s record-setting stream represents a new movement in both politics and video games. As gaming and game streaming are becoming more popular, they present a unique platform for politicians and activists. Sites like Twitch let people appear more relatable and engaging to today’s audiences.
Most importantly for politicians, gaming and streaming appeal to young, often new voters. Viewers between 16 and 24 make up the largest age group on Twitch, accounting for 41% of all users. Twitch also goes further than giving politicians a platform, offering ways to interact with viewers.
While they’re playing and talking, streamers can respond to questions in the comments. Viewers can even donate through Twitch Bits, funding campaigns while enjoying some gameplay. It may seem strange, but Twitch is turning out to be an ideal platform for politics.
AOC’s Twitch gameplay of Among Us isn’t the first time a politician has used the platform. Donald Trump’s campaign joined Twitch in late 2019, using the site to stream rallies and other events. Sen. Bernie Sanders also regularly uses Twitch to hold conversations about socio-political issues.
Twitch Is a Unique Platform for a New Age
Not long ago, people tended to see video games as little more than a distraction. Now, they’re an undeniably significant part of life, and people are waking up to that. The next generation in social and political movements will more than likely utilize gaming.
Twitch was originally a way to bring the gaming community together. Now that community has grown to include even the most unlikely of users. In a year as full of surprises as 2020, politicians streaming Among Us doesn’t seem all that strange.