Among Us hasn’t just been blowing up on Twitch, it’s dominating. It has been one of the biggest games of the year. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (aka AOC) left no stones unturned to reach the young audience better than most politicians. Yes, by playing Among Us, and proving to everyone what political savvy she is. In the final weeks before the election, Democrats have been pushing extra-hard to encourage people of all ages to go vote. AOC has used her substantial social media platform to do the same. She has gone from posting Instagram videos and tweeting often about the importance of this particular presidential election. The motivation behind the stream, however, was to encourage people to make a voting plan ahead of the 2020 election in November. Where in the election, Democrat Joe Biden and Republican incumbent Donald Trump are vying for the presidency. This brings us to an interesting thought, are mobile games indeed a powerful weapon for accomplishing purposes we could never think of?
How did she begin?
It was AOC’s first time playing a game live on Twitch. She’d started her channel just a day earlier, on October 19. She had casually asked her Twitter followers if they would like to play the multiplayer favorite with her.
There were several Twitch celebs among the nearly 44,000 fans and potential players who responded. And just 24 hours later, there she was, the keyboard on deck and headphones on. AOC’s comrades ran deep, with 12 streamers rotating in and out to play with her. They had millions of fans and followers between them; for example, two of Ocasio-Cortez’s teammates, the Twitch stars DrLupo and Pokimane, average 5 million followers each. Also in the mix was another politician: Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), whose daughter joined the game later in the stream.
At the start of the stream, Ocasio-Cortez directed viewers to “I Will Vote“, a website that aims to help people establish a voting plan. (She also encouraged New York residents to vote for Joe Biden via the endangered Working Families Party line on their ballots.) – source: New York Times
Was it successful?
Absolutely! Drawing more than 400,000 concurrent viewers. That makes her stream one of the 20 most-watched streams in Twitch history. It’s not hard for someone like Ocasio-Cortez to rally big-time Twitch streamers to play a game with her online, as a celebrity playing a popular video game on Twitch is almost guaranteed to rack up an impressive number of viewers.
Has this approach been adopted before?
Although not exactly involving live streaming and playing mobile games, back in 2018, a similar method was adopted by the Chinese government where all residents aged 14 and above are graded by a complex social credit system designed to monitor and shape citizens’ behaviour. This shows how the government used elements of games — such as points, levels, ranking and badges — to encourage civic participation and mould citizens’ behaviour.
Was this the right approach?
She wasn’t just lecturing her fans and constituents about how voting is their civic duty. She was also reaching out to them in much more fun, organic ways — like by offering to play video games with them in an effort to raise electoral awareness. And the idea to leverage a game as big as Among Us on a platform as big as Twitch with participation from well-established Twitch celebrities was tailor-made to get potential voters’ attention. So, it arguably the best strategy she adopted.
So what do you think about the stream by congresswoman AOC? Can mobile games indeed accomplish purposes we can never imagine? Do let us know in the comments below!