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When you hear the word ‘lurk’, you will most probably think of something bad. And then you hear that there are Twitch lurkers – OMG, who are these wicked people, and what do they want from me?!
No worries, lurkers are not bad and will not harm your channel in any way. Simply put, they are people who watch (or listen to) your stream but don’t engage in chatting. And that is all.
Read this text to learn all you need to know about Twitch lurking.
Post 7 of 14 in the Twitch Users
Who Is a Twitch Lurker?
Let’s say that 1,000 people are watching a stream. It is very probable that only a small portion of those people will participate in chatting actively. There are more people just watching the stream ‘silently’. It is precisely those people, who are there but don’t type anything, who are considered lurkers on Twitch.
They are often regarded as bots. But this is not necessarily the case, as most of them are true and genuine human beings.
Here is how lurkers are defined in a Twitch’s Twitter post: viewers who are watching, but may not be chatting, have the stream or browser tab muted, or maybe watching a handful of streams at one time.
Why Do People Lurk?
There is a number of possible reasons for this:
Can you think of any other reason why someone might lurk on Twitch?
Be the reason what it may, one thing is important for you as a streamer to remember: never call out on lurkers. If you put pressure on them to participate in a chat, they may feel uncomfortable and leave. You can leave subtle messages and invitations to chat, but you should avoid mentioning the particular names of the silent watchers.
How to Lurk On Twitch?
There is nothing easier than getting into lurk mode. Just open a stream. That’s it. You can watch the stream or not, it is up to you. But as long as it is running on your device and you don’t interact with the streamer or other viewers, you are lurking.
There is something else you can do if you want to lurk but not be completely invisible: you can use the Twitch lurk command. Its form is ‘!lurk’, which you type into the chat box to announce that you will not be participating in any interaction for some time.
The command !lurk Twitch users see can come from someone who doesn’t interact regularly but wants to announce their presence. It can also come from someone who is often (or during that specific stream) very active but will not be able to respond for some time.
This command is basically like politely excusing yourself during a party and sitting down in a corner for some alone time while others are actively partying around you. It isn’t rude or impolite and it shouldn’t be looked down upon.
Twitch !lurk Command for Streamers
From the streamers’ point of view, lurkers are very beneficial, because they are there and thus increase the viewer count. Also, imagine 1,000 people typing in the chatbox. That would be impossible to follow! Appreciate your lurkers, people!
What you can do for them is give gentle reminders and invitations to interact and avoid calling out on any lurker that just wants to watch or listen to you.
Another thing you can do is set up the !lurk command for those who are willing to announce going into the Twitch lurk mode. A frequent practice is that the streamer thinks of a message that will appear next to the lurker’s name when they type the command. For example, X ‘is hiding behind the chair’ or X ’has a cat sleeping on the keyboard’. A funny one would make lighten up the chat.
Making the Lurk Command
The precise code you need to write depends on the chatbot you are using. Here is how you can set up the lurk command Twitch viewers can use in your chat (you should type them into the chatbox). The most popular chatbots are included:
!commands add !lurk *insert custom message*
!command add !lurk *insert custom message*
!addcommand !lurk *insert custom message*
Related: Best Twitch Bots
How to Engage Lurkers in Interaction
You surely want to have as many people as possible participating in your chat actively. Those people who are busy will be hard to lead to chat for a longer time. For those who are just shy, there is some hope. You just need to be patient and gentle. And give them time to start responding.
A good start would be a poll. Ideally, it would be something with yes-no or where you give a couple of options they can choose from. It is short and to the point and even shy Twitch lurkers can be encouraged to participate. And those who are multitasking will probably decide to spare several moments to fill it in.
However, be careful not to overdo it. You don’t want to be seen as spamming your viewers either. Also, don’t give a short time limit, give people time to respond.
Then you can transition to open-ended questions where viewers are free to write their own responses. And you can mix those two to be able to engage the newest lurkers as well.
The topics of your polls can be various, both related and unrelated to the game. Here are some ideas:
The ‘Dark Side’ of Twitch Lurking
In the past, there was a practice of lurking in order to increase the number of viewers in a dishonest manner. As of October 2019, Twitch has implemented some changes and stricter measures to prevent these fake engagement practices.
They are going towards the idea that a streamer has more benefits from active members, who will click on the streamer’s affiliate links, donate and support the streamer, and buy goods. In that sense, having many lurker Twitch viewers is not useful.
However, their focus is on removing bots that inflate the view count. Though the detailed measures are not transparent, they promised that lurkers will not be impacted by them. Twitch Terms of Service still allows honest lurking.
Also, with many lurkers, a streamer cannot get thorough feedback, which is the basis for improvement and advance in content and channel quality.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is lurk command on Twitch?
A lurk command looks like this – !lurk. A viewer types it when they want others to know that they are here but will not be participating in the chat. Some people use it just to announce that they are there even if they never chat and also some regular chatters use it to say that they will not be active for the time being.
Can Twitch streamers see lurkers?
Of course. Lurkers follow the stream without active engagement in chat. Twitch streamers can see the full list of viewers regardless of their chatting preferences.
What is the point of lurk?
There is no special point. Some people simply choose to lurk Twitch streams not to chat while a stream is going on and that is all. About 80% of viewers are passive in this way. And the number goes up for streamers with a very high viewer count. But there are things you can do to try and increase the number of active viewers.
Let us recapitulate. The lurkers Twitch streamers have are passive viewers who have a stream open but don’t participate in chat. They are there as your viewers.
Some of them use the !lurk command to say that they will be there silently. If you want to make them more active, welcome them when they come, create polls, and keep providing interesting and high-quality content.