Donating “Gifts” to streamers?

Image result for virtual gifts
Photo by Alicia Crupi via Paragon Events

Those of you who are addicted to TikTok (like myself) have probably noticed how popular the live streams are on your “for you” page. Most of the live streams I’ve encountered are just people sitting in their room doing nothing except reading questions from the comments out loud, and answering them. TikTok users live stream in order to entertain their followers, and they’ve continued this because it does, in fact, grab the attention of their audience members.

What happens next blows my mind: people watching the live streams donate “virtual gifts” to the live streamers.

The gifts are a type of currency on TikTok. They represent a sticker that is shown on screen, along with your username, for the streamer and everyone watching the stream. The gifts must be purchased with coins, which need to be bought with real money, of course. Later on, these gifts can be converted back into real money for the live streamer to claim.

So in other words, people are gifting anywhere from $0.07 to $70 to their content producers with hopes to be recognized by the streamer and potentially get a shoutout.

Photo by Arch via TechJunkie

TikTok got this idea from Twitch, a live streaming platform for gamers. Twitch would give consumers the option to donate money to their favourite gamers as they watched them play video games.

This whole concept seems pretty ludicrous, except it became popular enough for Twitter to begin crafting their own version of user donations in a crowdsourced video system as a new revenue strategy. Kurt Wagner (follow him on Twitter: @KurtWagner8) said, “…it’s become a popular business model for companies hoping to help creators make money from their fans or followers. Twitter would take a cut of the transactions.” And, of course, the companies he is referring to are Twitch and TikTok.

Crowdsourcing does, in fact, have great stories, especially the ones involving GoFundMe. Crowdsourcing for serious causes can sometimes change people’s lives and always work for the greater good. However, when it comes to gifting live streamers with money in order for them to continue streaming, I believe people are putting money in the wrong places.

My opinion may be completely different from yours because this topic is dependent on how engaged each of us are in social media. Do you think user donations on social media platforms are justified? I personally don’t think they are because, from what I’ve seen on my social media, the reasons people are donating are: they find the person attractive, they support the person being open about their sexuality, or they think the person is funny. Almost all streams I come across are of young people sitting in their rooms alone on their phone, and watching people gift them money, instead of donating to some of the causes on GoFundMe, doesn’t sit right with me.

Is Donating Gifts to Live Streamers Justified?
Would You Donate “Virtual Gifts” to Streamers?

7 thoughts on “Donating “Gifts” to streamers?

  1. I enjoyed reading your article, and learning about “donors” to “live streamers” I am not familiar with tik-tok nor do I engage in live streaming. I do gree with you, there are better ways to support communities in need. Gifting money just for the sake of it, even if you love the content, goes against the principle of sharing content that is of excellent quality without expecting monetary retribution, especially if you are paying for someone sharing “personal” information, it is a form of explotation and greed.

  2. Thank you for your comment Miriam! I’m glad we share the same point of view! Unfortunately this concept of gifting money to live streamers exists and continues to grow, but we must hope that there are kind-hearted people out there who would rather give money to, like you said, communities in need, rather than online personalities.

  3. I am slightly addicted to TikTok. The other night I was watching someone on live, noticing these “gifts” pop up. I had no idea what it was, I assumed it was something you paid for to give to the user doing the live. I don’t understand why TikTok would have this because I don’t think it’s necessary but to each his own, right?
    I’ve never been on Twitch but have heard about people receiving donations from there, again, I don’t see the need. I do think GoFundMe is a great place, for the right fundraiser. For example, a high school friend was raising money for her father who was diagnosed with cancer. Another great example is a fundraiser that just happened in my hometown. A little boy suddenly passed in a “freak” accident. The amount raised in 2 days was more than half of the asking price.
    In cases like those, I support it. There are definitely some people who take advantage of it though.

  4. I am interested in the topic of your blog however I am not sure that I agree with your position. While revenue streams on social media are certainly in uncharted territory right now and there is a stigma to what it means to be considered an influencer especially as a career. I see this practice as no different than supporting your favorite artist. Some people may be sending gifts in hopes of a shoutout but others might be doing so to show their support for their favorite content creator. To give them the means to continue providing content. In this time of isolation I think there is a lot of people who will find tangible benefits to being able to feel a connection to someone else and to be able to support that person to continue to be able to provide this content service. While I personally have no current interest in sending gifts to Tik Tok content creators, I can see why it would appeal to so many people.

  5. I enjoyed reading your blog. I didn’t even know that this existed. I’m not a big Tik Tok user myself but, I enjoy it for tips and tricks on hair and makeup and to find delicious recipes. I absolutely agree with you and find it quite disturbing that people are throwing away their money just to see someone sitting in there room when they could invest in a good cause or like you mentioned, a GoFundMe.

  6. I really enjoyed reading your blog about the gifts given to people who stream. I have had Tiktok for some time now and I truly never knew that people bought coins to give them to other people as donations.

  7. I think you make a very good point about people gifting streamers money. I think Tik Tok is a great place for the 30 second videos we see everyday, but I do not think it is the best place for live streams. We also have to think about who these people are. Half the people live streaming are kids who had 1 video go viral and now have some sort of fanbase. The big time Youtubers who have spent their whole lives making videos to please the public are the ones that should be receiving this money and views to their livestreams. I really did appreciate your view on this topic and look forward to hearing from you.

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