How these League students make a living from Twitch and Tik Tok

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Followers, views, likes: cha-ching. Syracuse University students Warren Zhu and Jamiah Wong make a living on platforms like the TikTok video-sharing app and the interactive live-streaming service Twitch.

Zhu earns around $ 200 to $ 250 a month doing what he said he would do in his spare time anyway.

The senior accountant started working on Twitch while at his home in Brooklyn during the peak of the pandemic in June 2020. With a new PC, no job offers and an abundance of new free time, Zhu began to broadcast live on his Zhuted account. He did live broadcasts while playing video games and watching houses on Zillow, while also telling and providing his own commentary.

Having been on Twitch before gaining an audience, Zhu knew the money that could come from it.

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“Sometimes it feels like a side hobby, but then I look back and think about it, and I do it for four hours a day and only have a few days off a week. So I guess you could treat it like a part-time job, ”Zhu said.

Although Zhu plans to pursue a full-time career in accounting after graduation, he believes his “side gig” on Twitch can still fit into this type of lifestyle.

“It’s something I can pick up from a 9-5.” Zhu said.

Twitch provides financial compensation to streamers based on several factors. To get paid by the streaming service, one must achieve “Twitch Affiliate” status, which Zhu says is not that difficult to achieve.

Once a person becomes a Twitch Affiliate, funds can come from advertising revenue, a personal donation link, or a Twitch currency called Twitch “Bits”. Users can spend the “Bits” on the sites of their favorite streamers. Twitch awards streamers a penny for every “Bit” used on their channel.

While this may seem like an idealistic and hassle-free way to make money as a college student, Zhu said being a part of the Twitch universe comes with some drawbacks.

“Twitch has a really big problem right now with hate speech and harassment on the platform,” Zhu said.

Trolls and bots flooding his comments section with hate is not uncommon for the streamer, he said. Despite this, he sees Twitch streaming as part of his future as he continues to make friends on the platform and grow his audience.

“There is no reason for me to stop,” Zhu said.

Similar to Zhu, College of Arts and Science student Wong began her journey to becoming a viral TikToker amid the pandemic.

Today, after accumulating two million followers and over 42 million likes on his TikTok @ willy.wongka account, Wong has made a name for himself among the comedians and TikTokers of his generation.

Wong never sought to rack up millions of followers and a fan base when he made his first video at his cousin’s suggestion in March 2020.

Jamiah wong

He attributes “exploding” on TikTok to a distinct and very high-pitched trait: his scream.

“Screaming is one of my talents, I can scream in a very specific way that my followers like,” Wong said.

Based on views alone, Wong earns $ 450 per month through the TikTok Creator Fund. If a brand wants to partner with Wong on a brand deal, he said he could make between $ 800 and $ 1,000 for a 60-second video.

Her account feed is filled with original content, including comedy skits, screaming videos, and iterations of the viral “POV” videos.

His ideas stem from thoughts of showering and things that come to him throughout his day to day life, he said.

The TikTok sensation is hoping to get to the point where it can support itself from TikTok’s income. Although the salary is a major plus, Wong agreed with Zhu – it is priceless.

“Sometimes people think the creators here have no problem or that they don’t struggle like everyone else,” Wong said. “But sometimes it can get to you, especially when the views are low.”

Wong said he sometimes finds a correlation between the number of views, pressure and feelings of failure, while always surrounded by the support of his friends, family and community of fans and followers.

His friends hold him in high regard for his success.

“It’s weird because I feel like it’s always been a part of my life,” Wong said. “I feel like I’ve always had this and I’m able to share my personality with so many other people. And that I have more friends who can see who I am.


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