Despite myself, I feel a rush of excitement, the thrill of having another human perform just for me.

"The broadcaster is not the only content creator in the room," says Sideman.

"Smartphones provide all the critical pieces for these new services.

"I was running a media technology agency for a while and trying to shove this down the throat of every client, but nobody wanted it," Sideman says.

Watching a You Now stream can be an overwhelming experience.

Tayser Abuhamdeh doesn’t have what most people would call an exciting job. “Eventually I started opening up, saying random things, telling jokes and laughing at my own jokes.

He works behind the counter at a deli in Brooklyn, a small shop that does a brisk business in snacks, coffee, and cigarettes. I started to act like people were there watching, and that’s when they showed up.” Abuhamdeh’s routine was subtle.

Along with broadcasting, Abuhamdeh texts and talks on the phone with his followers. Then in May of last year it suddenly clicked, exploding from less than 10 million monthly visitors to more than 100 million in the span of just four months.

More than 35,000 hours of live video are now streamed on the service each day, and more than a million dollars in tips flow through its platform each month.

These cost coins, which you earn from spending time interacting on You Now.

Users can also give premium goods, which cost money to acquire.

In June of last year, on a whim and mostly out of boredom, Abuhamdeh mounted his phone next to the register and began to broadcast his day on You Now, a live streaming service. People would walk up and pay, he would ring them up, and then as they left, nail them with a zinger spoken to the camera.

But I was nervous, I felt like there were people watching. It was weird.” After a few weeks of broadcasting he began to find his rhythm.

This growth is part of a broader boom in live streaming services.