The congresswoman’s gaming stream drew an impressive audience.
One of the most popular stream fodder games right now is InnerSloth’s Among Us, a darkly comedic murder mystery simulator. A group of players take the roles of astronauts attempting to maintain the various workings of a spaceship, while one or more players is a malevolent imposter seeking to destroy the ship and murder its crew without being discovered. It’s quite the amusing social experiment, which is why playing it has become such a ubiquitous pastime on Twitch lately. It’s so ubiquitous, in fact, that even US politicians are getting into it.
US Congresswoman Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez held a livestream on Twitch yesterday wherein she played Among Us for about three-and-a-half hours with random players. She announced her stream on her personal Twitter, a tweet which, as of writing, has 392.1K likes and 28.5K retweets. That’s not the impressive part, though; the impressive part is that, at the height of the stream, over 400,000 people were watching AOC play, which is the third-highest viewership any single Twitch streamer has ever garnered. For context, the current highest viewership record is when Drake got over 600,000 viewers while playing Fortnite.
AOC clarified right off the bat that while she wanted the stream to be fun, the primary goal was to raise awareness about the November 3 election and encourage everyone to vote Democrat.
“Of course, we are here to vote Blue, that’s [why] I’m here, to let you all know,” she said.
Political analysts have been somewhat split on their thoughts on this stunt. Some have praised AOC for her approach, saying that streaming games on Twitch is a good way to reach demographics that may not follow the regular news cycle. “The impressiveness of AOC is not simply that she is a forceful and articulate proponent of the Democratic message, it is that she is able to speak credibly directly to millennials using platforms like Twitch,” said Mitchell Robertson, fellow at the Rothermere American Institute.
Others, however, have decried the event as electioneering and pandering. “This is a very transparent move on her behalf. It’s not the first time that a politician has aligned themselves with trends in order to gain popularity, or new followers. Overall, this seems to be a well-orchestrated political move,” said Nicky Danino, principal lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
Whatever your take, the numbers definitely don’t lie: AOC succeeded in getting her word out.