Streamers on the Rise: Piso4 on making a place for queer children of the corn

By 04/25/2023
Streamers on the Rise: Piso4 on making a place for queer children of the corn

Welcome to Streamers on the Rise, where we find streamers who are growing their channels, content, and audiences in extraordinary ways. Each week we’ll talk with a creator about what goes into livestreaming–both on and off camera.

Piso4 grew up in a cornfield. And, as a young, queer kid living in the Midwest, they didn’t have a lot of support from their community.

So, like many queer millennials and Gen Z’ers, they turned to the internet. It’s a time-honored tradition, queer people finding one another and forming communities online, and Piso and their friend group were no different. That friend group bonded over things like YouTube and video games, and eventually, Piso realized some of their friends were streaming themselves playing Minecraft on this platform called Twitch.

“I’d watch them and I was like, ‘Well, I want you guys to watch me play Minecraft!” Piso laughs.


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They had always wanted to get into some sort of content creation, inspired by the classic turning-kids-everywhere-into-YouTubers TV show iCarly, plus a general love of theater and performance. But seeing their friends successfully stream was the final push that got them to go live.

While Piso originally wanted to stream Minecraft, they soon found that game wasn’t their Twitch niche. In fact, their Twitch niche wasn’t a game at all. They ended up on the other side of Twitch: Just Chatting, where streamers hang out with their chats and talk about anything and everything, from current events to Omegle fails to the latest and greatest memes.

Piso noticed right away that their streams were drawing a lot of queer audience members.

“I don’t know how many other queer kids there are roaming around the corn,” they say. “It’s like when you live in a small town or where you live in an area that’s not as accepting, I just like to provide a place for that acceptance. Because I know that that’s something that I really needed growing up and that I really needed to just develop.

Data from Streams Charts

Now, Piso’s a full-time streamer who aims to turn their two-hour broadcasts into “community events” that help queer children of the corn (and everyone else who’s struggling with a lack of acceptance IRL) find each other online.

Check out our chat with them below.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Tubefilter: If somebody is reading this and they’ve never seen you stream, they don’t know anything about you, can you tell me a little bit about you and where you’re from?

Piso4: Yes. My name is Piso4. That’s not my real name, but that’s the name I go by online. It just means “floor” in Spanish, and people always ask me why I chose that name. Ask 10-year-old me, because I chose that for my Xbox 360 gamertag. Had no idea it would become this big part of my life. But yes, I’m an 18-year-old Twitch streamer. I do Just Chatting and a little bit of variety. I also am gay. I’ve been streaming for, I want to say two years now, which is crazy. I think that’s pretty much it.

Tubefilter: What made you start streaming?

Piso4: Basically I had a lot of friends. I’d always wanted to do content creation since I knew what content creation was. Every kid dreams of being a YouTuber. iCarly instilled that into our minds when we were children. I guess I had always wanted to be a content creator and I’d always been doing that my whole life, but then I had a lot of friends that were on Twitch and I had no idea what it was. They were just playing Minecraft and I’d watch them and I was like, “Well, I want you guys to watch me play Minecraft.”

I started going live, and then I started really enjoying it and just started taking it more seriously. I don’t know. I guess it was like a combination of wanting to be a content creator while also a lot of my friends were doing it and we all just wanted to play Minecraft and have a place to stream it.

Tubefilter: How did you start building your community outside of your friend group? When did you start picking up followers?

Piso4: I started posting on TikTok. When I first started finally picking stuff up, I was posting every day on TikTok, just posting clips from my Twitch. For some reason, I don’t know if I was making terrible TikToks or if I was doing something terribly wrong, but nothing hit the algorithm for me. Even in the slightest, even in the littlest bit for six months. I was posting every day and then eventually something just took off and I just kept posting TikToks and those kept working. I don’t know, I didn’t change my content that much.

From that point that everything started taking off, it was just you throw so much at the wall that eventually something’s going to stick.

Tubefilter: Yes, absolutely. Were your TikToks clips from your streams? Do you remember which one took off or is it just a general rise?

Piso4: The first one to ever get views, it wasn’t like took off, took off, but the first one that I remember getting on the For You pageI was excited about was me going on Omegle and asking people to follow me on Twitch. That’s a little series that I did, and that was the first thing that took off for me.

Tubefilter: You are the fourth person I’ve talked to for this column and so far, every single one of you has told me that you got followers through another platform, either posting things on TikTok or posting things on YouTube. Do you feel like it’s possible to grow an audience on Twitch without doing that?

Piso4: I think yes, but it depends on I guess what kind of audience you want and the size and your goals for Twitch. I know a lot of people who just enjoy going live and having people come to them through the recommended. Having people join their streams and come in and out and building a nice tight community. As far as reach goes and discoverability, it’s not really an easy thing for Twitch. You have to find another platform to kickstart that off, which sucks, but a lot of people don’t like that.

It’s a huge criticism for the platform is not much discoverability or ways to grow on there, but I do think that every cloud has a silver lining. I try to look on the bright side of it keeps me posting on other platforms. I feel like, because if you didn’t have to do that, then a lot of people would just stay on Twitch, which isn’t good overall.

Tubefilter: Do you think it’s better to diversify?

Piso4: Yes. Spread yourself over different platforms.

@piso4 i can’t believe this actually worked… #prank #funny #piso4 #prankcall #challenge #fyp ♬ Able Sisters (From “Animal Crossing, New Leaf”) – Arcade Player

Tubefilter: What is your current content strategy? On a weekly basis, how often are you streaming?

Piso4: Right now, I just moved out of my parents’ house two weeks ago.

Tubefilter: Oh, congratulations!

Piso4: Yes, thank you. I just moved out, and I live across the country from them now, around a bunch of friends. I don’t know, I’ve been very…Right now content strategy is like, put my life together while I try to throw anything out on the internet that I can. My general schedule looks like a few streams a week. Usually three, four streams, Just Chatting streams. I also post on a vlog channel. I have a main channel that I’ll post on as well, both of which are going to be once a week.

I used to post on TikTok every single day, and that’s when I was really using TikTok as my primary tool of growth. I’m not really at that point anymore, so I’ve backed off from that. I think that’s kind of it of just being active on other socials throughout the day and around, but right now it’s laid back as I put my life together.

Tubefilter: Yes, totally. How long is your typical stream?

Piso4: It depends. Typically, about two hours, which surprises a lot of people, but also then again, the first question that people ask when they hear that I stream on Twitch is, “What game do you play?” I don’t play a game, and I think that people are always like, “Oh, an hour and a half, two hours, that’s not a long stream.” I like to think about you don’t go to a theater and sit through a six-hour movie, right?

Tubefilter: Yes.

Piso4: I try to make my streams be like, “Hey, they’re going to start at this time, since it’s just chatting, we’re going to be doing this thing and show up for that hour and a half, two hours.” Making your streams kind of more like community events rather than sitting and gaming for hours. Obviously, I’ll sit and game for hours with my chat. I do that as well. I think that the shorter streams format has worked really well for just chatting especially because when you are the only content, you don’t really have a game to lean on.

It’s like, if I am really trying to engage my community with a just chatting stream that’s really high energy, it’s not something I’m going to want to do for a whole day like some streamers do.

Tubefilter: Yeah, I get it. There’s like a limit to your social energy.

Piso4: Exactly.

Tubefilter: You have a really, really strong queer following. Can you talk a little bit about why it’s so important to have this supportive and inclusive stream for queer people and queer followers?

Piso4: Absolutely. Honestly, this became such a primary focus for me, was just developing a safe community that people could go to on the internet. Because like that was the reason that I was so obsessed with YouTube and the internet growing up. That’s the reason that so many other queer kids are obsessed with YouTube and the internet, is because when the world around you is feeling against you and you can just go on your phone and find a bunch of people like you, it’s just relieving and refreshing.

That’s what every queer kid who is told that they are different because of their identity, that’s what they need, is just a sense of community and a sense of a place to belong. For me, I lived in the middle of a cornfield. I don’t know how many other queer kids there are roaming around the corn. It’s like when you live in a small town or where you live in an area that’s not as accepting, I just like to provide a place for that acceptance. Because I know that that’s something that I really needed growing up and that I really needed to just develop.

I think a lot of my community is queer because, first of all, I’m the ringleader and I’m queer. I think that that’s a big thing. I also think that just my streams are me being goofy and silly and unapologetically myself. The queer community’s a big fan of that.

Tubefilter: This may be a related question, but what’s been your favorite part of being on Twitch?

Piso4: I’m trying to think. I would say either the sense of community we were just talking about and being able to have people come to me and like, “Hey, you’ve helped me talking about this on stream. I met someone in your community that we had a conversation about this or I heard this from this and this, this made me realize this.” All of those things are wonderful to hear and the primary motivation to continue doing what I’m doing. Then another thing that’s a more simpler answer, I guess is I love doing streams with my friends.

Streams with my friends just feels like hanging out and our fun just gets documented. It’s so nice to have moments in my life that I really like streamed and put on the internet and saved away. I really like that as well.

Tubefilter: How old are you now?

Piso4: I’m 18.

Tubefilter: Did you just graduate high school or you about to graduate?

Piso4: I just graduated, just last year.

Tubefilter: Do you plan to go to college or is this your full-time thing?

Piso4: This is my full-time thing. Actually, I was a bit of a sweat in school. I worked really hard in school. I don’t know if it was for myself or it was just the little academic pressure thing, but regardless, I did really well in school. Then it was right before the end of my senior year, just my whole life just took a turn. The summer before my senior year is when Twitch took off. People were writing college essays and stuff and I was like, “I don’t know what I’m going to do. This is so crazy.”

It’s so bizarre to be someone who’s academically driven and someone who’s been set on college for so long and then to just make that decision.

Tubefilter: What went into that decision? Did you have a certain threshold of, “I have this much financial support through Twitch,” or…? What contributed to you deciding not to go to college?

Piso4: I would say that the biggest part of the decision was college is very expensive. If I’m sitting here for even a second and I’m thinking, “Should I maybe not go to college?” I’m not going to go. It’s like if you have a huge purchase and you’re considering not wanting to buy something, it’s like maybe let’s hold off. That was my mindset at first wasn’t I’m not going to go to college. It was like, “I’m going to hold off for now.” I think I’ll continue to say that because I can always go back at any point and that was a thing that I just had to tell myself.

You also have to realize that it’s when people are asked what they regret in their life, they never say what they did. They always say what they didn’t do. I think that not following one of my childhood dreams, or I guess my only childhood dream would be single-handedly the biggest regret of my life.

Tubefilter: All the reasons that you’re giving make a lot of sense. If you’re not 100% committed…

Piso4: I did theater in high school and I did improv, which are two things that I can’t believe I just admitted willingly. I was very into entertainment in general. The thing about the entertainment industry and the space right now is something like what I’m doing right now is much better experience for the entertainment industry and for future jobs than some media degree. Social media platforms for the entertainment industry are becoming new resumes.

The open-endedness that this job provides as well. Like, if you’re a content creator of any sort, you’re wearing a lot of different hats. Unless you’re paying someone else to wear those hats, you’re a writer, you’re an editor, you’re a director, you’re a producer, you’re an actor, you do wardrobe. You do it all. You do everything, and so this is such an amazing place to just get a wide range of experience hands-on. That’s all college is about, is just getting experience for your field, hands-on with other professionals.

Moving to North Carolina, being around a bunch of creator professionals and stuff like that, I feel like that’s exactly what I’m doing.

Tubefilter: Do you have any plans or goals for this year, or for your streaming career as a whole?

Piso4: I do have goals for this year. The big goal for this year are just to really solidify my name. I think it would be just really cool to be just like a name on Twitch, because I just feel like that’s such a huge honor since a lot of the other names on Twitch are people that I’ve just grown up hearing about. It would just be cool to just to grow the community. There aren’t, at least to my knowledge and my side of the internet that I’m trying to think of right now, it’s hard for me to think of a gay streamer that is like, very, very much up there. I think it would be really cool to just grow a bigger community, more and more a nice, positive community, bigger and bigger, that’s the goal. Not for me, but just for finding more people to hopefully be able to make laugh and find a place in a community.

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