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Airman finds voice in virtual world

Airman 1st Class Anthony Webb, a 612th Air Communications Squadron command and control systems technician, reads from an online chat room while streaming a video game at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 27, 2016. Webb said streaming helped him become more social prior to joining the Air Force. He is now set on building a community by streaming five days a week and holding sessions on Sundays specifically to interact with his followers and get feedback. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Nathan H. Barbour)

Airman 1st Class Anthony Webb, a 612th Air Communications Squadron command and control systems technician, reads from an online chat room while streaming a video game at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 27, 2016. Webb said streaming helped him become more social prior to joining the Air Force. He is now set on building a community by streaming five days a week and holding sessions on Sundays specifically to interact with his followers and get feedback. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Nathan H. Barbour)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (AFNS) -- (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series. These stories focus on individual Airmen, highlighting their Air Force story.)

Some people attach a social stigma to video games and the people who play them -- when they picture a gamer, they don’t think of a well-lit room, socialization and a strong sense of community.

Airman 1st Class Anthony Webb isn’t the stereotypical gamer. His dorm room is set up as a small studio, complete with a green screen, a professional microphone and three high-definition monitors.

An entertaining hobby

Webb takes his hobby a little further by broadcasting his gameplay and his personality to his online followers around the world. By using an online streaming service, he transmits his face in the bottom corner of the screen so his viewers can watch and listen to his reactions as he traverses virtual landscapes.

“I would consider myself an entertainer,” said Webb, a command and control systems technician with the 612th Air Communications Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. “The entire platform is made to entertain. Some people go on there to learn from it, which I guess can be looked at from that perspective, but I like to be more of an entertainer than a teacher.”

Webb can see the reactions from his viewers coming in through a chat room shown on a monitor that he continually checks.

“I used to be completely antisocial and introverted,” Webb said. “I wouldn’t talk to anybody -- whether it be online or in person. When I began streaming, I started actually having to talk to people and become a little more open.”

Opening up to others

Webb said he had thought about joining the military ever since he was 6 years old. When his uncle, an Airman, returned home for the first time and told him about the opportunities available in the Air Force, he said, that sealed the deal.

“I realized I needed to open up, especially because I was going to join,” Webb said. “I knew I was going to have to get out of my own bubble.”

Interaction with others became easier, he said, as he continued streaming. He is building a community by streaming five days a week, four to six hours each day, and he even holds sessions on Sundays specifically to interact with his followers and get feedback.

“Now there are a lot of people who actually wait and anticipate watching the stream,” Webb said. “It makes me feel good just knowing I could make someone laugh, smile or even just chuckle a little.”

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