Welcome to Brain Pick! Where we at Nerd Mentality pick the brains of folks who are more interesting, talented, better looking, or all of the above.
GeekEtiquette: [laughs] Hi! How are you?
Mazzie May: Great! Thank you so much for being here.
GeekEtiquette: No problem!
Mazzie May: May I call your Aimee?
GeekEtiquette: Yeah, of course!
MM: So, we’re gonna start off with the tried and true, Aimee: what brought you to streaming?
GE: Well, at the time it was… say four or five years ago, and initially, I sort of went back and forth between uploading and streaming. What it was, was I found a channel NerdCubed on YouTube and I really liked his stuff. I thought, I really want to make videos! With gaming and stuff. That lead me to inthelittlwood, Martyn, and he was live streaming on Twitch, and I had no clue what Twitch was. So I was like, okay, and I had a look at it. I was fascinated. “Right. I want to do this,” I said.
I had no clue what I needed to set up, or how to get started. But I was obsessed. My upload was really poor, and I didn’t realize that was a key factor in a good stream. So I just carried on regardless and did everything I could to make my stream less potato–which didn’t work [laughs]. I just kept streaming; I wasn’t really working, so I was up really late and streaming through the night. I’d usually start midnight UK time and go until about five or six in the morning.
There was a bit of a break before I created my own channel. I had a channel with my ex at the time. It was tough. It obviously didn’t work out, but I was like, no I still wanted to do this. I just kept doing it. Eventually my circumstances changed, I moved back in with my dad, who has better internet, and I was capable of streaming again. Gone full circle, and I’m more focused on streaming–though I still upload solo videos.
MM: That’s quite the journey to go on, to get to where you are today. You said about four or five years ago is really when streaming was brought to your attention, but how long have you been streaming on this channel?
GE: This channel, only late last year? I didn’t move back in with my dad until June last year (2016). Then, I was still focusing on making videos, but then I saw one streamer in particular on Twitch, that I’ve known for a long time, was streaming on YouTube Gaming. It gave me a kick-start to get back in to it again. So… the latter part of last year.
MM: So really only a couple months?
GE: Very few, yeah.
MM: When you shared your journey to get to this point, many a’ streamer have talked about the struggle of getting started. You mentioned moving back in with your dad, before that you tried to have a channel with an ex-flame. What was your support group like when you threw yourself into this?
GE: It’s funny, because I built an audience on Twitch with my potato streams. Everyone has always been really supportive of my decisions. There’s still some people that I used to interact with back then that pop in and say, “Oh you’re streaming again! That’s great!” Through that whole process there’s old faces and new ones that are like, I really support what you do; glad you’re streaming again, and all that stuff. It’s been pretty much constant. Sometimes, the old faces are replaced with new ones, but it’s incredible either way. But, yeah, it’s been constant. There’s always been someone there. Always been someone to say they support me, I don’t know how else to put it. [laughs]
MM: What about IRL? Your family, physically present friends, your fiance? Are they behind you in this venture?
GE: Oh, definitely, definitely! When I was living with my mom a few years back, my mom and step-dad, they sort of let me do my thing. They supported me. I did a 24 hour stream for my birthday, they helped me do that, let me do that. They probably understand it a little better than the rest of my family. My dad doesn’t fully understand how it works? But, he does really support what I do. He shares posts–he even makes posts himself on social media.
GE: It’s really cool! Even though he doesn’t quite get it, he still shows his full support. My partner, he’s always been there, he’s always encouraging me. Always sharing, he’s there when he can be; the time difference makes it a bit difficult sometimes. He’s constant, though, always there. I wouldn’t be in the same position without them, I don’t think. My brother as well; I think he understands it a little bit more. They’re all so encouraging.
MM: Encouraging is the perfect word for my next question! One of things I find most interesting about you, is that you’re strictly a charity streamer. Your description box is stuffed full of links to deserving charities. What brought you to that idea?
GE: Well… I don ‘t really know where it stemmed from. Seeing other more larger, more established streamers who tend to do charity work. Markiplier, for example, tries to do a charity stream every month. So when I switched to making content, because I couldn’t stream, [Markiplier] was an inspiration to keep making content. At the time, because I couldn’t stream, I couldn’t do charity streams, and was stuck on what to do. As soon as I got the opportunity, I was like, right, I’m gonna try to do one every month. Situations and circumstances permitting, of course. I was just thinking, it’s a free platform and I’m not doing anything I wouldn’t be doing normally, so why not try? Even if I didn’t raise money for these charities, just the fact that I can do something that’s free to do and optional. Rather than donate to me–because I don’t have ads on or monetization, I don’t get any kind of revenue–so I’d would much rather people donate to a good cause than me first. You know?
GE: So that’s pretty much it. I just do different causes each month. I always do a UK based charity and an American based one. So no one has to worry about conversions. They’re usually the same charity, just the US version or the UK one. I try to put in as much as I can.
MM: Having every cent going to charity means nothing is coming to you. How do you maintain your equipment and stream set up?
GE: [laughs] With great difficulty! I’m not working right now, which is also a bit of thing. I do have a merchandise page on SpreadShirt and a Patreon, and a link for donations. But I don’t advertise them. I don’t want to force anyone, or rely on anyone to produce the content that I do.
Fortunately, my fiance, he’s very, very supportive, so if I do need anything, if I’m ever desperate, he would help me.
MM: You’re rising in popularity quickly! Even so, what have you noticed is different about you as a streamer now versus when you started?
GE: To be honest, uhm. I’d like to think there really isn’t much difference. I would say I’m definitely more confident. It’s funny to say this, because I’m a content creator, but I have quite major issues with social anxiety a lot of the time. Online, it’s different. Some days it is more of a struggle; I even struggle to hit the Start Streaming button. I can take hours psyching myself up to go live. But, generally, I don’t think myself personally as changed that much. I know my way around a chat. I’m more lenient with people in my chat. I give people lots of chances, unless they’re a blatant troll. I wouldn’t want to get cocky or anything like that. I hope I’m still the goofball, derpy me.
MM: You mention being lenient with your chat and community. Have you see them change over time?
GE: Again, I think I’ve been very lucky. I have seen channels that grow exponentially and their viewership, it kind of goes up and down on the scale. Sometimes you get really bad days, where you just get troll after troll or idiot after idiot, and other days were it’s quiet as Hell–although Hell isn’t really quiet. [laugh]
You know, knock on wood, but I have been really fortunate that everyone who comes to watch in chat have been really nice and supportive–and not just to myself, but to each other. Getting to know each other. I’ve been really lucky in that respect for the time being, but when the time comes, we’ll cross that bridge.
MM: You touched on something that is an interesting topic in entertainment as we know it today. Internet personalities have been called Isolated Celebrities or Marooned Celebrities, because it’s a person talking to a camera or just a microphone–but they’re alone. Alone in their room, alone in their house. Yet, they’re reaching thousands or in some cases millions of people. What do you think that says about current entertainment consumers, the fans, the community–what is it about us that makes you, alone, talking to yourself so interesting?
GE: I think there are a lot of different aspects. It’s one of those things where, people online are almost perfect strangers. I think in human nature we’re generally quite nosy people. It’s the Big Brother type thing. It’s the same concept with Vloggers; we’re stepping into their lives, to a point, which we can be nosy and find out more about them. I do think it’s fantastic as well, though, and people take it for granted that we have this kind of accessibility to reach out to, as you say, thousands or even millions of people in some cases. I think there’s some kind of comfort there, you know. The online community now is one bit closer to a friend or someone who can be there for you, even if they aren’t physically there.
That’s definitely one thing I really like, and I do really want to try to get that across with my content. Whether it’s streaming or videos, where people can feel like they’re there. If they’ve never had that experience before, like hanging out in a room with friends playing games.
MM: In the same vein as that, of community and getting to know you, streamers walk an interesting line with personalities. With vloggers or hosts, there’s pressure to be a bit of a caricature. I would say the best example of this, this was big news on Twitch, when Ray Narvaez Jr, BrownMan, left RoosterTeeth and went on to become a streamer. One of the things he talked about was he was tired of his of job being the ‘the angry one’, and that he enjoys as a streamer he can be himself. Do you think streamers are more likely to be themselves, or if they notice their audience has latched onto an aspect of their personality they’ll amplify that?
GE: That’s a really tough question. The reason being, behind a keyboard and a camera, everyone exaggerates what they might consider to be their best features. Sometimes, you know, you can get lost in that. Like you said with that example there, he was tired of being the ‘angry person.’ I myself, I’m not an entertainer. I don’t go out and try to be be funny. I’ve tried in the past, to be bit louder or more excitable or more crass. But looking back on that, it’s like no; I’m not that person. I don’t know how people do it, how they have a persona. If it works for anyone else, then great. If you’re happy with that, then go for it.
Boogie2998 is a great example. With Francis. That’s a character, but Boogie is also himself as well. I think other streamers and YouTubers sometimes forget that part, they just keep doing that persona. It’s tiring; it’s really tiring. For me, I try to be as transparent as possible, and I don’t want to be false, I don’t want to create a persona that’s not me. I can’t do it. I’m literally just this derpy girl that enjoy playing games. Not exactly professional [laugh] but I go with the flow.
MM: One of the troubles that streamers face, and I don’t know if you’ve come across this in your own channel but maybe you’ve seen it, when it comes to tips, donations or paid subscriptions, fans can feel a sense of ownership of streamers. Do you feel there’s a certain level of responsibility for a streamer to bend to that in any way?
GE: I think as a streamer or any kind of content creator grows over time, there is that risk of feeling a need to deliver–whether someone pays or not. Donations may exasperate that a bit. But, overall, once you gain an audience and popularity, I think there is that pressure for the streamer to deliver. It’s really difficult to get out of the mind set that you are doing it for them rather than for yourself. At the end of the day, for me, it’s more of, I’ll do me. If people like it, if they want to contribute or show their support via donations or whatever, that’s great. But I’m not going to change drastically, or constantly try to please everyone. You can’t please everyone.
MM: There’s a certain trend in streaming, where series or genre streamers (that only play one game or one kind of game) gather an audience more quickly, but variety streamers (who have a whole spectrum of games) wind up with a larger audience long term. Why do you think that is?
GE: I think it’s because–and this is the risk for any game channel–if you pigeon hole yourself to one type of game or one type of series, and then you deviate from that, the audience you built up, nine times out of ten they don’t like change. They won’t stick around because they wanted that content you focused on. That’s why, I think, they tend to drop off the radar if you decide to change. With variety, you’re trying to cater to as many types of audience as you can.
I think the key thing, to me, is do what you enjoy the most. If you enjoy lots of kinds of games, play lots of kinds of games. That being said, if you enjoy one kind of game, one kind of series, play those instead. I have nothing against those types of streamers at all. It’s whatever makes them happy.
MM: There’s a lot of hubbub going on right now about a certain YouTube personality. As someone with a growing community, how much responsibility do you think the streamer has when it comes to the actions of their community? Or do they have any responsibility at all?
GE: Oh, man. When you become a certain size, you don’t directly have a responsibility. At the same time, you kind of get put in this position, whether its through the community themselves kind of pushing you in there. A lot of people tend to look up to a personality or someone they like, so you kind of–without wanting to or trying–you kind of ARE in that position of responsibility eventually. I think that somebody in that position can try and direct an audience to do the right things, but there’s only so much you can do. At the end of the day, we’re all individuals, we all have our own minds. But, if it starts becoming more of a hive mind or mob mentality, where one person in the community goes to do something that’s not good, others can follow.
There has to be some aspect of control, but as long as you try to lead a good example, there’s only so much you can do.
MM: Is a schedule important?
GE: Consistency, yes. Even if you can’t keep to a strict schedule, like eight o’clock on Monday evening, do something that day. Consistency is key, because people want regular content. They’re subscribing for a reason. If you’re going to commit to something like this, let people know what’s going on. Keep at it.
MM: Do you think it’s more beneficial to cater a schedule to an American audience? Because people play games all over the world.
GE: Right. For me, just over half of my audience is US and the rest is UK. I’m more of a night person, so it makes more sense for me to cater to the US audience. So I stream around midnight UK time, which is great for US views. The US audience has certainly been more active for me. But I do want to be available to everyone, so I post videos as well and have my stream archive available for anyone who can’t make the stream.
MM: Do you have any concerns with a growing channel? A bigger audience means a bigger chance for more toxic individuals. Is that a fear you have, not just as a streamer, but as a girl streamer?
GE: I think that’s something that will always be at the back of my mind. No matter how large the channel is.
My other fear is that I have a bit of an obsessive personality. My concern is that my priorities won’t be straight. I’m always telling my fiance I don’t want to seem like I’m neglecting him in favor of streaming. I worry I’ll lose touch with close friends or even my partner as a I focus on streaming as the channel grows. That’s probably my biggest fear, yeah.
MM: Lastly, any advice, warnings, or tips for aspiring streamers?
GE: Now, in terms of quality, the bar is raised so, so high. On the technical side of things, have everything you can afford. Everyone starts off on the lowest rung in that sense. You’re always learning. You’ll learn new tips and tricks every single day. Grow a community you enjoy. Network with people, and then you can learn from their community. It’s always tough at first; there’ll probably be only one or two people watching, and they’ll probably be your closest friends. Don’t give up! Don’t be disheartened! Be you, be yourself. People are either going to like you or not. You’re putting yourself out there in a public domain, potentially in front of millions of people. You can’t please everyone, so don’t try.
Don’t damage yourself. Don’t do anything unhealthy. You are number one at the end of the day. Do what you do, enjoy what you do, and people will see that.
MM: Good advice for streaming and life. Any final thoughts for our readers, your viewers?
GE: I want to thank every single person who comes across my channel in the dark corners of YouTube and finds it worthy of their valuable time whether it’s for five seconds, five minutes, or five hours. Remember that you’re awesome and as a viewer, you have the power to do great things, and you mean a lot to content creators. So thank you for reading the ramblings of an average geek, and thank you for being you.
Thank you so very much, Aimee, for joining TNM today! What a gracious and charming perspective on growing fame, the concept of an internet personality, and how a community can influence an influencer. Aimee can be found in the following corners of the internet: YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and FaceBook. Mazzie May spends most of her time on Twitter and is always looking for tasteless memes to laugh at.
And if you’d like to learn more about and/or donate to the Charities Aimee is involved with, we have links to all those guys!