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Streaming for comfort

Streaming services and social media outlets are spaces where many of us gather. Some of us even use them to find comfort. This is the case with video streaming sites such as TikTok and YouTube.

TikTok has blown up over the last few years, gaining around 300 million users between 2019 and 2020 alone. It’s been especially popular with the younger university crowd. 

I find watching little videos of up to 60 seconds each so calming. When I’m stressed, it relieves it. YouTube videos also provide a certain level of comfort, slightly different than that of TikTok. 

While TikTok houses short videos for quick scrolling, YouTube provides longer video content. It makes it easy to just sit back and relax while watching your favourite videos. 

I used YouTube for years before TikTok existed, and I’ve not grown tired of it whatsoever. Especially during sad times. 

Watching videos about my favourite YouTubers playing various video games has always made me laugh. YouTube, for years, has been my main source of comfort. Nowadays it’s not uncommon for people to watch YouTubers instead of a show or movie. In fact, in January 2023, the Nielsen Gauge Report found YouTube leading all platforms in streaming viewership — ahead of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. 

Is that strange? People record videos, post them online and somehow get more views than popular shows and movies being professionally produced?

YouTube is more comforting

I think YouTube has become the ultimate comfort platform where you can find anything you want (as long as it’s not explicit content like porn). It’s easy to find something to ease stress and everyday anxieties.

I watch YouTubers play a variety of games, from Warzone to Pokemon and even Among Us. The gameplay is not even the most interesting part. Far from it. I do, in fact, play Pokemon but I have never touched Warzone yet. I find watching it very entertaining. 

It’s the actual YouTubers interacting with friends that I find entertaining. They do things in the game that are funny and the YouTubers are funny people as well. 

The Among Us content is my favourite thing to watch when I am sad, stressed or just want to relax after a long day. YouTubers, Daihi De Nogla and WILDCAT play a modded version of Among Us with their friends, which is very entertaining. 

Making sarcastic remarks, going on about certain segments and just yelling at each other as they get voted out is always a joy to watch. I think watching how laid-back they all are as they play the game makes it fun. No one is very competitive. It helps me relax and stop thinking about any problems that occurred in the day. These guys are having a blast playing a silly game about jellybean astronauts in space. It’s great.

 I don’t get the same comfort from films. They’re easy to watch and I enjoy them. But there is something real about YouTubers playing a game. Gaming YouTubers aren’t paid to be funny. There’s no script for what happens in the game. They just play along.

Similar comfort services

The online space continues giving us options for this comfort we desire. Twitch is another platform where I found comfort through COVID-19 lockdowns. 

Twitch is a platform similar to YouTube. However, it’s made up entirely of live streams. All the content creators create their content live. And there’s a chat function to communicate with the creators so you can actually interact with them live. 

When I first wake up, I love finding a music channel on Twitch where the creator is playing acoustic live music. It not only helps me wake up but does so in a soothing way. I usually watch Twitch in the mornings since the live music is so calming while I have my breakfast and tea. It’s a similar service to YouTube, just live. 

Sometimes you stumble on a Twitch channel and find a hidden gem. 

During COVID-19 restrictions, I found a Bob Ross Twitch channel. It streams The Joy of Painting on weekends. I don’t even like painting, but watching Bob Ross paint is relaxing. I easily became obsessed with listening to his voice as he painted.

Visual content isn’t the only streaming to draw comfort from. When I’m walking and I feel anxious, I listen to calming music or catchy tunes on Spotify. It helps me get through the stress and stop thinking about it. I keep a playlist called “Night Walking” which I listen to when I feel stressed or my mind is clouded. It gets through the stress and dark thoughts or inspires those thoughts to use in my writing to get them off my mind.

 We’re lucky there’s so much content on the internet to find comfort in when life hits us hard. Sure, there are certainly negatives to our generation being glued to the digital space 24/7. But in terms of comfort, it’s incredible how many options we have.

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