My first experiences with video games came from watching my dad play Sega and Playstation games. I was never brave enough to try them but I loved watching him play Doom and Resident Evil. Once I got a little older and Pokemon became a huge craze in the US I decided to ask for a Gameboy Color and a copy of Pokemon Blue for my 9th birthday. From there I was obsessed with the franchise and the system. I graduated on to a Game Boy Advance and the various iterations of DSs along the way, finding new favorites like Castlevania and Professor Layton. I’ll never try to claim I was ever any good at it (and I still won't) but that didn’t stop me from playing and Nintendo has been my go-to for gaming ever since. I still have all my handheld systems that I got when I was younger and those games hold a special place in my heart.
Overall I think gaming has been a way for me to get lost in fantasy, much like reading. I love to read, I love experiencing the worlds authors build and the characters they fill them with and I think games accomplish similar things. Games are art but in an immersive form that allows us to be a part of everything that’s been created. Even when spectating there is a story being told and a sense of adventure and community.
My introduction to streaming came about like many people’s did, during the pandemic in early 2020. I started watching streams while I was working from home, sometimes big streamers and sometimes small ones but Twitch was almost always on to keep me company. At night I would watch ASMR to relax and unwind. Given that I was spending so much time watching Twitch as the months went on my fiance suggested I try streaming for myself, insisting that I could use his microphone and camera to try it out. My biggest obstacle was definitely myself. Having dealt with social anxiety for quite some time it felt very intimidating to put myself out into the world like that.
As the year came to a close I unexpectedly quit my job and found myself with lots of time on my hands. It was then that I decided to gather up the courage to really give streaming a try. I had some money saved so I did a little research into what I needed to invest for my own microphone and camera for ASMR streaming. I also spent a lot of time looking into how OBS worked, how to set up my bot and overlays and all the little details that go into getting things set up. Some of the setup and research was definitely a distraction from the nervousness I felt trying something so new and unusual for me, but eventually the time came where there was little left to plan and I knew I just had to jump in.
I feel fortunate to have met many kind people on Twitch so for my first stream I invited some of them to be there because I was so nervous! Having familiar names in the chat helped so much to make things a little better. And as time went on I became more and more comfortable in front of the camera and talking with chat. I find myself in a place now where I hadn’t imagined I would be in my life. I’m not a person who is extroverted or ever thought I could do something performative and yet here I am. Streaming has become something so much more satisfying than I thought it would and I’m having so much fun doing it.
My channel content is almost entirely ASMR. It’s what I love to do and I find it very fulfilling, however recently I have been experimenting with other content. I played The Sims 4 and did some ASMR gaming which is something I definitely would like to do more of and find new ways to present. I would also like to play games with my fiance on stream at some point and I think it would be nice to have a community game night, playing Switch games with viewers. And any games I might play are things I would be playing outside of stream. Not only do I think it makes things more fun to play something I genuinely enjoy, but I also think it takes some pressure off since it’s a game I already know how to play. But 90% of my content will always be based around ASMR, it’s where my heart is and something that feels natural for me to be doing.
As for my community it’s part of what makes the stream so great. Everyone is incredibly kind and welcoming. Although there is a lot of silliness, when someone comes in saying they are having a tough time or needing encouragement, chat rallies together. We always have kind words and love for whatever someone may be going through whether that person is a regular or someone who just followed 2 minutes ago. I am incredibly proud of my community and happy to have such a loving and supportive bunch.
I didn’t intentionally create a brand persona and how I act on stream is fairly genuine. I do believe that every streamer has a stream persona to some extent but at the end of the day I am not an actor so being myself as much as I can is the easiest way for me to be. It also helps to create the type of place I want my stream to be for people. Ultimately, the goal I have for my stream environment is to create a cozy safe space that is consistent and welcoming. The best way I think I can do that is by just being myself. And viewers have said they like that, that it’s nice to have streamers that are themselves when they’re live and that they appreciate that I’m not trying to be some other person for them.
I think growth for my channel came from a few places. The first and possibly most important thing that helped me grow was consistency. I found a stream time and days that worked for me and stuck to them. For the most part. There was some flexibility as I streamed and decided on what days were good and bad for views and I did move my start time up by an hour from what I originally began with. But if you look at my schedule now compared to what it was when I started it’s very similar. This isn’t always going to be possible for everyone but any kind of consistency in scheduling (and content) is going to help people know what to expect from a streamer. The content aspect of consistency can also be tough but I do believe that part of my growth came from sticking to the same category on Twitch. Jumping around too much and dabbling in a bunch of different things can be fun but also means that less people may see what I’m creating if I’m in a different category every single day. Finding something I truly enjoy and doing it consistently definitely helps the content shine and the channel grow.
Another thing that I think contributed to my growth was simple networking. Just hanging out in other streams and getting to know other streamers helped them to know me once I started streaming myself. And lastly, one other thing that I think really helped was raiding other channels at the end of every stream. As much as it’s fun to raid my friends, I really try to raid someone different each time as much as possible and I’m not afraid to raid people who have a bunch more viewers than I do! And after raiding I try to stick around and say hi to the streamer, let them know how my stream went, and see how theirs is going too. This may seem like basic networking type stuff but I really do believe it makes a difference to get to know people in the community you’re a part of.
In the end my biggest obstacle in streaming has always been myself. Being able to somewhat overcome my own insecurities and anxieties has gone so much farther than any tool or strategy in helping my channel be what it is and continue to grow. I’m having fun with what I do and worrying less and I think that shows through in the content I put out. It’s a long road and always going to be a work in progress but confidence is something that I think ends up making the biggest difference.
The best feedback I get is when people tell me my streams help them with their anxiety or to fall asleep. As an ASMR streamer I consider those to be the best compliments and help me know I’m doing a good job with my content.
I don’t know if I would call it an opportunity so much as an idea. Streaming ASMR has helped me discover a new set of interpersonal abilities I didn’t realize I had before. A couple of people I know have suggested that I take those skills that are so valuable for my stream and use them for something like life coaching. This is never a thing I would have imagined myself doing until I started streaming but now that I have it’s like a new world of possibilities in paths I could take my life down.
I feel very fortunate that my full time job right now is streaming so my days mainly revolve around doing just that. Pre-stream I take care of things like responding to emails, setting up new software or equipment if I have any, and making sure all my stream things like title, channel points, sub goals, etc are all ready to go. Another important thing I do before I stream is make sure I have a filling meal about an hour before I go live. I am not a person who functions well without food so I need to have an actual meal, not just something like a bowl of cereal. I try to cook a real meal but also probably rely way too much on frozen foods sometimes. Regardless, I make sure I’m getting enough protein to keep me full for the 4 hours I stream. After stream the first thing I usually do is feed the cat, since he will be yelling at me! I also will get myself a snack, change into my comfy clothes, catch up with my fiancé on how his day went and then either play a game on my PC, or mod for a friend’s channel. I also will take a look at my stream numbers for how I did that day.
On average I stream about 20 hours per week but with the time spent working on things related to the stream I work about 30-40 hours, depending on what may be going on with the stream. For example, I will spend more hours working in a week if I have a special event planned that needs to be set up so I can know everything will run smoothly when stream time comes. My days off consist of general house work like laundry and grocery shopping and even though I’m not streaming I still may take some time to tweak things related to it. Streaming is definitely the type of thing that takes constant work, especially when creativity strikes and something needs to be done before an idea is gone.
As for the more solitary nature of streaming, I am a natural introvert through and through so being able to stay in and work from home by myself is my normal state of being. I love being in control of what I do, of the content I make and being able to have my own schedule. This is the first time I’ve had a job like this where I have so much agency over my actions and it is refreshing. Although I don’t know if streaming will be a “forever” thing I hope to do it for at least a few years and when the time arrives for me to stop or cut down on streaming hours I hope I can find some way to work for myself or something that will let me have the kind of control I do now.
The software I use for streaming is OBS.Live, which is integrated with Streamelements. Not only do I find OBS to be very customizable, the inclusion of Twitch/Streamelements makes everything smooth with it all being in one place. I use Streamelements for my chat bot, donation service (routing to my Paypal account), and to create all my overlays and alerts so everything really is all there.
I’ve found the Streamelements chat bot to be especially useful in terms of creating custom commands and using timers to remind people to follow my stream and socials. Learning some basics of variables within the commands has also helped in putting them to their full use.
Twitch’s automod is also a really valuable tool to use when streaming. It allows you to block specific words/phrases and even hyperlinks from ever being said in chat, and there are different categories of filtering that allow you to decide what is and isn’t acceptable in your chat. It’s definitely helped me avoid having to deal with trolls and spam bots on more than one occasion.
My channel doesn’t have a ton of graphics. I created my alerts and overlays to be text-based, fairly simple and unobtrusive. My alerts are silly gifs that give the stream some personality and any static graphics I have are my sub emotes! I found my first emote artist through a streamer friend and the one I’m working with now is an art streamer I found through yet another stream. Networking is definitely the way to go for finding artists you trust.
I feel like analytics have been very important in helping me plan out a stream schedule. Although it’s similar now, my schedule has changed since I started streaming. By paying attention to which days did better than others in terms of average viewers I was able to decide when I should and shouldn’t stream. It also helps give an idea of the ebb and flow of viewership, because there are always ups and downs in content creation. These may not always have anything to do with the content either, but things happening outside of Twitch.
There are two big things that I think help to keep in mind when going for Partner. The first is to be consistent, with a regular schedule and content. People like to know where and when to find you and what you’ll be doing. That’s not to say you can’t tweak here and there because life happens, but overall things should be mostly the same. The second thing is a lot harder to achieve, but try not to compare yourself to others too much. Having benchmarks is fine but once you start intensely stressing about your performance and numbers compared to others it takes the fun out of what you’re doing. Remember the reason you started streaming and if you need to for a little while turn your view count off. Once I turned mine off I was much more relaxed during stream and things felt way more organic.
This is something small in the grand scheme of things because it doesn’t affect every category but it would be nice to see reruns sorted into a separate tab when users are looking at live channels. I understand why streamers do reruns but at the end of the day Twitch is a live streaming platform and it makes sense to ensure that actual live content is at the forefront of what people are browsing.
I don’t have solid plans for the future. I’ve never been the kind of person to have a 5 year plan or to have everything mapped out. All I truly want from life is to be content and comfortable. Right now streaming allows me to do that. If some day it doesn’t I will have to turn to something else. But for the time being I am happy, and that’s what’s really important to me in the long run. To enjoy myself and enjoy life and find satisfaction in whatever I end up doing.