Circe – Twitch Streamer Who Places Value on Connecting with Others

Circe – Twitch Streamer Who Places Value on Connecting with Others

Circe's streaming career started back in 2013, right after she graduated from college. She was shy back then, so she decided to take up streaming as a way to work on her social skills and build friendships with people who also love to play video games. Since then, she switched from streaming on PS4 to PC, which was quite the learning curve.

Let's dive in to learn more about her background and why she loves to stream.

Tell us your history with video games in general

I was first introduced to gaming by my childhood babysitters. I was probably around 6-8 years years old. We played games like Duck Hunt on NES and Mortal Kombat on SNES. My family bought a PlayStation shortly after. My most favorite game was Tomb Raider. I loved the exploration, the puzzles, and Lara’s character. It felt so special to me because it was the first game I’ve completed by myself. I also felt a strong connection to Lara. I found her confidence, intelligence and independence to be so admirable. I looked up to her.

Growing up, I played games with my two sisters. We played on NES, SNES, Sega, N64, and PlayStation 1 & 2. I no longer play games with them because they are no longer interested.

Cvw220 is my gaming name. CVW are my initials and 220 is a name of one of my favorite songs by a Russian group called tATu.  

I believe Tomb Raider was the main spark for my interest in gaming. I just loved feeling like I was on an adventure and wanted to see where the adventure takes me.

What’s your backstory and how did you get into streaming?

The year was 2013. I just graduated college with a degree in archaeology. I just finished getting the platinum trophy in every Tomb Raider & Lara Croft game on PS3, while my boyfriend had StarCraft tournaments playing in the background. I never thought about streaming. Never thought about upgrading to a PS4. Because of being extremely shy and awkward, I didn’t really have a social life. So I spent a lot of time gaming. Then PlayStation announced that the PlayStation 4 was going to have an easy-to-stream feature. It was also announced the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition would be released January 28th. Of course this obsessed Tomb Raider fan became excited to have an excuse to replay the game and I could use this opportunity to do a platinum trophy tutorial stream!

I began my journey on Twitch trophy hunting on Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, (streaming live on PlayStation) throughout January 2014. It was slow growth. I had more viewers when I branched out to other games. It felt so good to make friends that I could actually connect with and I felt myself become less shy.

For the majority of my stream “career” I streamed live on PlayStation. I made the switch to stream exclusively via capture card/PC April 2020. I am not tech-savvy and had no prior experience with streaming until I started. It has been a challenging journey filled with learning and growing. It was scary making the switch because streaming on PS4 was convenient & the discoverability was just better (because of PlayStation live app). One day watching my VODs,  I realized that if I want to grow, I should improve my stream’s quality. (Mic, camera, game recording, etc.)

I lost my history associate position back in April 2020 due to the pandemic. I decided to stay home, take care of family and give streaming full-time a shot. For the first time I was able to have a consistent streaming schedule, make time to network, and became more active on my social media. For the first time in years, my stream actually grew.

Tell us about your channel and community

I have a very friendly and welcoming community. It is a profound feeling seeing so many people connect and build friendships after meeting in my channel. That is the space I strive to have on my channel, “Friendship.” Streaming has made me feel comfortable, accepted, and supported. I want my community to feel the same way when they come to my stream. I want them to feel they are amongst friends. This is why I encourage people to support each other not just as friends but as content creators too. My most active mod, Becky, works extremely hard. She comes to every single one of my streams and greets every single chatter. My community and new chatters absolutely love her.

I am a variety streamer. I enjoy adventure games, shooters, but most of all I stream horror games. Especially indie horror. This year I streamed a lot of Minecraft, Call of Duty, the Resident Evil series and other horror games. For the past 3 months, I’ve experimented with a podcast that took place every other Saturday. The cast consisted of small streamers who discussed their Twitch journeys and expertise. The purpose of the podcast was to “Connect. Share. Learn. & Grow.”

It was pretty successful. However, I like experimenting with unique collaborations that provide mutual growth. This includes being on TheOnlyGameShow, which is a Twitch game show where streamers compete for prizes, collaboration with my twin sister who has an educational background in horror films, and now I am about to experiment having a Just Chatting series where I interview other horror streamers on their love for horror and their Twitch journey.

If I took streaming out of the equation, I would definitely still be playing games. I would probably play more shooters/competitive games or learn more RPGs. Both genres are extremely hard for me to play on stream due to multitasking on top of trying to teach myself how to play.

I do play games with my community. Especially if they set plans with me in advance. That just makes it easier for me to prioritize playing with those who have been following me longer or have been supporting me. It also takes away the anxiety of playing with “randoms.” I’ve had my fair share of bad experiences in the past playing with people I just met. It’s also pretty risky to play with people you do not know live on stream because they could troll or break TOS.

Tell us about your brand and how you’ve been able to obtain success

I did not purposely create a brand person. I love being my true self. I even reveal my true first name. I love being my true self because it feels good. I don’t want to be fake. I don’t want to lie. I want genuine connections with my community.

The majority of my stream growth is because I have a consistent schedule, using social media, and making friends on Discord and other streams. My current schedule is Tuesday-Saturday at 11:30 PM EST. I use Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and TikTok. My Twitter is mostly for posting updates and I interact with other streamer’s posts, especially those within my community or within my niche. Instagram, I post game clips and cosplay. Cosplay is another passionate hobby of mine and my community enjoys seeing that happy & creative side of me. I just started using YouTube and TikTok a few months ago. My YouTube, I post a lot of my horror related gameplay clips and my collaborative projects. TikTok, I am posting game clips, streaming tips, and cosplay. TikTok has definitely contributed to my growth the fastest. There are so many supportive TwitchTokers on there and it makes it easier to be discovered. I often look for creators in my niche by searching through Twitter or under recommended channels on Twitch. I would chat and follow their social media. Naturally, they follow back and also check out my streams. This is networking but to me, I see it as building genuine, supportive friendships.

There were definitely a lot of challenges. In the beginning, I learned the hard way to be cautious and set boundaries, especially as a female streamer. The best way to deal with trolls is to cut all ties and ignore them. Eventually, they get bored and leave you alone. Another obstacle was that the majority of my streaming career I’ve struggled with having a consistent schedule until now that I am not working or in school. The biggest challenge might have been the transition to having better quality streams. It took a hit on my average view count. (No more being on PlayStation live app) I felt like I was starting over and it was a slow, learning process to use new equipment and software.

The Twitch Affiliate program started in 2017, I was able to get affiliated pretty quickly due to already having an established community. My biggest challenge was my stream schedule. I am currently on the path to reach Partner. I will complete the path when I average 75 viewers. I am currently averaging 30-50 viewers.

I started streaming 5 days a week back in April 2020. Streaming has always been something I’ve been passionate about and it felt good to finally have the time to do it more after 6 years. My goal is to apply for Twitch Partner so I can create my own Twitch team and help the hard working streamers in my community and do great things with them like fundraising for charity. In order to be Partner, I need to bring my average view count to 75. I will do this by taking advantage of Twitch’s Channel Boost whenever it's available, I will post more content on my social media with content that includes stream clips and cosplay. This is a good way to promote what you can expect from my stream and it’ll showcase my interest and personality. I will also continue to collaborate and make friends with other creators within my niche. You make friends in other Discord servers, visiting other’s streams, and by interacting with others social media posts. Because when you support people, they usually support you back.

How do you balance streaming and life?

Pre-stream: During the day, I take care of my child. I wait between 10-11:30 PM EST, when he’s sleeping to ensure I don’t get interrupted. The first thing I do to get ready is my hair and make-up, I then get a drink ready, and finally I set up OBS and my game. Before I can hit the “start streaming” button, I make sure my green screen looks ok and then I do a quick audio test.

Stream: For the first 15 minutes I do a “Just Chatting” stream. This allows time for the going live notification to be sent out to people. It also allows me time to make a personal “Going live” tweet usually accompanied with a selfie or short video explaining what game I am playing. I also post this on my Instagram stories, Twitter fleets and occasionally TikTok. I have a bot that automatically posts in Discord when I’m live. I make sure my online status for Discord is on, so that people can see my activity. I also make sure my steam or PlayStation status is online so that friends can see when I’m streaming. Just Chatting is extremely important for building deep connections with chat because your main focus is on chat and not a game.

Post-stream:  I usually give stream a 10-15 mins heads up before I end stream. About a minute before I end stream I look for someone to raid. First I look at my follower list to see if anyone is playing a similar game or game genre. If not, I look for someone random while I display my schedule and social links to chat. After stream I go through my activity on my dashboard, to help me make a thank you tweet. I thank people for stopping by and for the support and update of what we did on stream. For example if we finished or progressed in a game, or if we were working on trophies or achievements. I then say “Special thanks to…” and then list all those who subs, cheers, and other generous supporters as well as raids.

My days off:  I do not stream on Sundays and Mondays. This gives me time to reflect on past content and plan my future content. Also, if I have any recurring tech issues or new features I want to add to my stream, this is when I do it. I also use this time to edit video clips for social media, create thumbnails or promos on Canva, produce TikTok content, collaborative content or take cosplay photos. Furthermore, I use this time to visit other streams within my community or niche. Supporting the community, helps you strengthen it. Visiting those in your niche, helps you grow. Once in a while, I will research tips or ideas to improve my content on Reddit or YouTube.

Streaming fulfills my social need, especially during the pandemic. My IRL interactions are a lot better than what they used to be because I am less shy, more comfortable and confident, streaming has definitely helped me to learn how to love myself and be kind to myself. I love my community because they accept me the way I am, they like hanging out with me and I connect with them better than IRL friends due to me having more in common with them. Most of my family and close friends are extremely supportive and happy for me. It took them a while to understand it, especially the part where I can make money. I don’t blame them, it is a strange concept to comprehend at first––why people would financially support me for doing something I’d do for free. My husband, dad, and sister are extremely supportive. They visit my streams and during the holidays, they gift me stuff I can use to improve my content. For example, this Christmas I got new cosplay, a PC case, a SSD, and mic for my phone.

I do see streaming as a maintainable lifestyle. I’ve always been passionate about streaming and I will always be a gamer. I am extremely goal-oriented and have always strived to improve. If I ever decide to pursue a different career, expand my family or make other life-changing decisions, I can see it causing me to stream less but I never see myself stopping anytime soon. I am approaching my 7 year Twitch anniversary. I think I have proved to myself that this is more than a hobby. It’s a lifestyle.

Tell us what tools you use for your stream

I recently made the switch to OBS Studios from Streamlabs OBS. I found it to run better on my PC. Streamlabs took a lot of CPU & GPU usage, causing my stream to crash a lot.

I still use Streamlabs for my alerts, chat bot, and donations (because it’s easy to set up and use). However, I would like to find a new cloud bot that does everything I want it to do. Such as tell me when someone is hosting me.

I use my Discord server everyday to connect to my community but also to provide updates. I use IFTTT to have my tweets automatically posted under updates channel and I have MEE6 Raider that posts when I, or active members in our community, go live on Twitch. It also automatically posts my YouTube videos.

My emotes are from two artists I’ve found on Fivver: Lyadine and rckybud. My panels are from Etsy. I make my overlays using Canva. I also use Canva or GIMP for stream promos or YouTube thumbnails. My young friend, who is an artist, made my logo. When I edit video clips I use Sony Vegas or InShot app.

I am currently not using any extensions. However, I do like to use the Twitter and Instagram feed because it promotes socials, displays my updates, and gives a taste of my personality/interest/hobbies outside of streaming. I'm also thinking about adding a closed-caption extension because your stream should be accessible to all. The reasons I am currently not using extensions is because I like to have my panels simple and clean. However, any extension that provides extra interaction or encourages more engagement is a good extension.

I will occasionally look at stats via Twitch dashboard, SullyGnome, or TwitchMetrics. However, I don't really make decisions based on them. Because I am a mom, I can’t really be more flexible with my schedule. When it comes to games, I stream what I enjoy and make me happy and I think that's what people enjoy to watch me do the most. Occasionally I will try a new or popular game but the most growth I experience is when I am enjoying myself. I also do not rely on Twitch for discoverability so I never worry about playing something that is “saturated.” If a particular game got low views/activities I will choose to do those things less. For example, I stream less Call of Duty and more Phasmophobia.

What are your top 3 streaming tools? 

  1. My PC, of course, is essential for streaming.
  2. My mic because it’s how to communicate with chat.
  3. My dog. She’s my stream mascot and is always by my side. Chat enjoys seeing her too.

What advice would you give to small channels trying to reach Partner? 

I encourage people to be patient. It takes time to build a community so don’t be hard on yourself. Keep striving, enjoy the journey and make friends. Promote yourself on social media and experiment with collaborations and other creative projects to get yourself out there. 

If you could change one thing about Twitch, what would it be? 

I wish Twitch would have a better discoverability algorithm that could help smaller streamers. I also wish they would take more action to protect its users from harassment and discrimination. 

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