Nothing to be hyped about

Livestreaming platform Twitch removes PogChamp emote


Photo by Allyson Smith

Twitch users mourn the removal of PogChamp emote after its untimely demise near the peak of its internet fame.

Story by Phoebe Neff, copy editor

Following the events of the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riots on the Capitol building, livestreaming platform Twitch made the controversial decision to ban the vastly popular emote PogChamp which was used in in-stream chats to show hype from the viewers to the streamer. Streamers, YouTubers and just regular internet users united against the move. PogChamp has become a massive part of internet culture, spawning many memes and also became a symbol for hype, excitement and positivity on the platform and even internet as a whole.

This move was a result of the fact that the face of the emote had made statements that could be interpreted as encouraging violence as well as a more extensive history of debatably insensitive comments. While the move did see some positive reactions, the vast majority of the responses seem to be either negative or at the very least disappointed.

“I don’t know, I mean, personally it’s just disappointing. [It’s] not a huge deal, but I know a lot of people use it. It’s like removing a word from the English vocabulary, and many streamers even have it as a part of their brand and a large part of their channel,” junior Mathew Windes said.

Windes uses Twitch to watch some of his favorite streaming personalities. He feels that while it seems somewhat insignificant, it can have a larger impact than anticipated from such a minute topic.

“That’s [the streamer’s] job, not just a channel. It is directly affecting the way they make a living and the interactivity with their chat, which is one of the most important things, especially for growing streamers,” Windes said.

The tweet from the face of PogChamp, Ryan Gutierrez, that caused the emote to be removed from the site was “Will there be civil unrest for the woman who was executed inside the Capitol today or will the #MAGAMartyr die in vain?” While most, including those critical of Twitch’s decision, agree that the statements made by Gutierrez were uncalled for and wrong, much of the internet still feels that it was the wrong move on Twitch’s part.

“It has become a symbol more than the creator and has almost no link to the creator, most people don’t even know who he is, so removing such an influential part of [Twitch’s] culture is wrong,” Windes said.

Twitch has since rolled out a replacement for PogChamp in which every time a user types “pogchamp” in chat, a new emote is randomly chosen from a database of faces with a similar expression to the original. A new emote is said to be added every 24 hours to said database, and the faces that make the emotes will originate from creators on the site. Sean Plott from Day9TV, the proponent of this idea, said that it “Would give a really nice crowd feel to a chat spamming PogChamp and allow the meaning to be tied to all of us instead.”

“The replacement is wholesome but doesn’t ever hope to capture the same energy and hype pog did,” Windes said.

While the original face may have been shunned from the platform following his controversial statements, the spirit of what he originated on Twitch will hopefully stay alive for years to come. What was the birth of many exciting moments and memes will not soon be forgotten.

“Pog was sick,” Windes said. “PogChamp spread positivity and hype even outside of Twitch where it originated, and it will undoubtedly forever be missed.”