Ever have the desire to watch strangers eat their food on screen? Yeah, me neither. However, apparently a lot of people are into this, as Twitch, a live streaming platform, now has a live social eating channel. Apparently, many have been turning towards watching strangers devour high calorie foods on the internet, such as on BuzzFeed, which posts people stuffing their faces of TacoBell and Burger King for the fun of it.
On Twitch’s live stream, the eating is not exactly the same as on BuzzFeed and other channels. People enjoy their meals in front of their cameras for strangers to watch, they want it to feel as if you are going out with your friends, its a social aspect as much as its about the actual food.
The purpose for Twitch, rather than watching people eat crazy, high calorie food for entertainment, is the companionship. They want people to use the social eating channel to actually socialize while eating, to feel as if they are sharing their meals with others through the internet. A lot of times, we find ourselves eating meals alone, whether we are busy or just don’t have time or energy to go out with friends and family. And while there are some places that it’s okay to eat alone, other times it feels too lonely or even awkward. Twitch’s idea is that now even if we are eating alone, we aren’t actually, because we can watch others and people can watch you enjoy your meal. It becomes this idea of going out with people to eat, but staying home at the same time. I don’t know if its really the same as going out with your friends, but thats the platform they are aiming towards, if it actually works, I guess we will find out.
To make sure it isn’t similar to watching people on BuzzFeed, like in the recent videos the website posted of watching people eat their least favorite foods in slow motion, Twitch has even put a ban on its eating channel, to make sure it focuses on the social aspect and not so much the entertainment aspect of watching people consume crazy things. You are not allowed to consume alcohol or take shots, eat something which is not considered food for people, or do any kind of food challenges such as chugging, snorting, or binge eating.
I myself decided to make an account on Twitch to see what this social eating channel was all about so I could give you guys some insight. At first I was a little nervous I would get someone who wasn’t really eating, and then I found a kid, who was eating mushroom soup with chips and salsa. All he was doing was casually eating his lunch, making small talk with his 14 current viewers. He would call out to his viewers as he ate, try to talk to them. It was relaxing, he had music playing in the background. I personally don’t really understand the attraction to this, but I could see how it could make people feel less lonely when they eat, and how it could become a way of sharing meals online.
I think the interesting thing with this new live eating channel by Twitch, is it’s trying to add to the new way that social media is changing how we eat. Food is no longer about consuming to survive or to aid to hunger pains, it’s about socializing, and eating in ways that can get the most views on social media. Whether its posting pictures on Instagram or funny videos on Youtube. Food is no longer a necessity, it’s entertainment.