by Andy Xie
“I am a really bad liar,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says during a late-night Twitch stream. Twitch is a live streaming service that allows millions of people to chat, hangout, and make entertainment live. The game Among Us has skyrocketed ever since late summer. On October 20, a Tuesday night, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez streamed Among Us live after creating her Twitch channel for the first time that Monday, already spiking over 620,000 followers. Her viewership was constant, 430,000 people watching. In fact, Ocasio-Cortez was one of the top five individual Twitch streamers who ended up being the most-watched. Currently, she has over 736,000 followers with only one stream to her name.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, known as AOC, is a 31-year-old American politician serving as the U.S representative for the 14th congressional district of New York City. At the age of 28, she was the youngest woman to ever serve the United States Congress. Ocasio-Cortez took office in 2019 and has been reelected in the 2020 election. She is a member of the Democratic party.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is different from any other politician. In 2019, Bernie Sanders joined Twitch with nearly 160,000 followers, and Joe Biden recently launched a campaign with his own Twitch channel. Even President Donald Trump’s streams on Twitch, campaigning his presidency. Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s Twitch streams peak around 6,000 and 17,000 total views, which is nothing compared to Ocasio-Cortez. Politicians don’t draw in a huge crowd of online audiences as much as Ocasio-Cortez does. Her Twitch channel is unique; she is not streaming any podcasts, speeches, or campaigns. Instead, she is playing the most recent popular game with a group of other random famous streamers and a fellow Democratic congresswoman, Ilhan Omar.
Among Us is a ten player game that includes murder and mystery. Usually, with a group of ten people, there are two imposters or murderers that look like crewmates and try to kill crewmates who are innocent. The imposters would win if they kill enough crewmates until the same amount of imposters are the same amount to the number of crewmates left, or depending on the map, sabotage reactors or oxygen that will deplete after a certain amount of time if the crewmates don’t fix it. While imposters are murdering crewmates secretively, the crewmates are finishing different tasks assigned to them throughout the map, while attempting to eject the imposters out of the game. Crewmates win the game if they eject all imposters or finish their tasks.
The game has increased in popularity especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among Us is a way to have fun and socialize while many people are stuck at home. The game was developed by InnerSloth, an Indie game company. The game was released two years ago, but despite the fact of how old it is, most recent media contains Among Us edits and clips. Among Us recently gained popularity because of another game that InerSloth had created months prior: The Henry Stickmin Collection. Among Us has references related to the Henry Stickmin games.
“When we first started, we found that players couldn't really play when the servers had fewer than 30 - 50 players per hour. But lately we have 70,000 - 110,000 per hour,” InnerSloth says. InnerSloth are devoting themselves to solve the player base problems because of the two year old coding.
Using the player base and popularity that Among Us has accumulated, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hoped to encourage many people to vote for the 2020 presidential election. “Anyone want to play Among Us with me on Twitch to get out the vote? (I’ve never played but it looks like a lot of fun),” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted out, the day before the stream. During the live stream, she encouraged many of her viewers to visit the website IWillVote.com and register to vote, in hopes to remove President Donald Trump from office. “Everyone else, let's vote blue. Let’s get out the vote. Let’s make sure we change this country,” she says.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not just famous for playing Among Us with a group of popular Twitch streamers, but the fact that she is trying to encourage people to get out the vote. She achieves at something that most other politicians could not attempt or fail at. Her viewership is higher than any other Twitch streamers or politicians out there. Ocasio-Cortez, in particular, has grown and established an online presence, engaging with the public online, going where young adult people would go, and that is video games streamed on Twitch.
Even after the stream was over, the following day, Ocasio-Cortez continued to grow, accumulating over five million views on her Twitch live stream. She leaves it off in hopes to give one last push to the viewers, “Make a habit of asking as many people as you can, ‘what’s your plan to vote,’ or ‘what's your voting plan,’ it really helps people figure that out for themselves… Let’s go take back our democracy.”