NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There is a new way to connect on social media: Watching people eat.
Social Eating is a live streaming platform on Twitch, which is more commonly known for gaming.
Twitch’s public relations director, Chase, told CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock that social eating has been a popular part of South Korean culture for years. Twitch recognized the growing interest through its gaming community and launched this new platform.
“You go out to dinner with friends, you watch them eat and you talk. It’s really no different,” Chase said. “It’s just on a screen and not across the table.”
Broadcasters stream their meals live online or via a mobile app, and viewers can tune in to chat. The broadcasters can even make money while munching.
“They’re able to monetize by ads running on their channel, offering subscriptions to their viewers,” Chase explained.
He confirms people do pay to watch.
“They want to pay to support their favorite broadcasters. That’s the heart of our platform,” Chase said.
In addition, there are third-party apps that enable viewers to send tips.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Judy Kuriansky says she loves the idea.
“Eating is a great way to lower your anxiety about communicating and to create a conversation,” she said.
New Yorkers had mixed reviews.
“Oh that’s weird,” Fahad Gilani of East Harlem told Murdock. “Maybe I would think about it,” Lauren Burgess of Stamford, Connecticut said.
“I wouldn’t pay to watch anyone eating,” Jennifer Chakrabarti of Astoria said.
“If I had time to, yeah I would watch,” Eric Bobak of Chicago told Murdock. “It’s interested and it’s something new for technology.”
There are rules in place to protect the integrity of the live streams, including no drinking, no binge-eating for shock value and no eating contests.
All of the channels are free to watch, but those who subscribe get perks like no advertisements.