Setting boundaries as a streamer are extremely important. Let’s face it, There are some pretty screwed up people in the world and having a stalker is an all too real thing out there. How much you share with your community is ultimately your choice. However you don’t want to say too much. Remember, It is a lot easier to not over share then it is to over share and regret saying too much. I will also tell you how much I share with my chat and why I don’t share certain things with them also. There really is no right way or wrong way with how much you want to share with your viewers it all goes on personal preference. I know I have watched streamers share a whole lot and others not even share their real name!
DO NOT SHARE YOUR LOCATION!
I swear you would be surprised how many people do this. For myself I do not mind sharing a VERY rough location. ie: I live outside of Halifax. This is a huge city and if someone wants to find out where they will have a very hard time trying to find out where exactly I am. You would be surprised and a bit unsettled when you see and hear of streamers getting swatted (Police called to their residence) or having followers/viewers randomly show up at their homes. This is a complete invasion of privacy and can be extremely alarming as well too. Our homes are our space and there is a reason why we need to be careful for this. I would also suggest that this includes where your camera (If you use one) is facing. If you say live near a very easily figured out location, and your webcam is facing a window people can find out where you are located simply in a few clicks or searches. I don’t have anything by the homes that I lived in that would really show where I live but I know just as I have done if there is a window behind me chances are there is curtains that are always closed. Not that I really think about this when doing streams and where my cam faces just that I always had my curtains closed even in other rooms of the house.
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This one can be tricky. For me personally, I don’t advertise my last name however I believe if you tip I do think it shows up and I’m okay with that. Chances are if you are tipping a streamer most times people are supporting the person and aren’t going to spill their name to people. That being said this can also be pointless if you are say a pro e-sports player because more often than not your name is already out there when you compete for your team too. If you have a lot of trolls then you might not want to share this also too. However remember if you are making a username or email and you use any part of your name that can kind of defeat the purpose. I know a few folks on twitter who have their full names there which can be a bummer. Especially if they want to keep that side of their real lives personal.
Any type of personal information can be used to trace where you are. Therefore it is extreme important especially as you grow to manage what you say to your community. It can easily slip out and once it’s out there it can be extremely hard to get it back. If you have a few viewers it can be easy to forget and as you grow that not all viewers can be kind. Or if you have the same bunch of folks in your channel regularly you can easily grow close to them that when new people come in to chat it can be hard to adjust what you have said or shared.
It is also important to know, the more personal you are with your chat the easier connections will be. Chats love when a streamer makes them feel like a friend even if they are not that friendly. Making a streamer seem real with real issues and stories is a lot better then a streamer who is a wall and has no connections with them. For me, as a viewer I will watch streamers who connect more on a personal level then ones who don’t. Why? Because if I wasn’t looking for a personal level connection I would simply watch youtube videos. I like the real time interaction of Twitch and a streamer who is personal even without spilling all of their personal information. It also seems that (From what I can see) The more personal a streamer is the better success they have. If someone is all robotic, shares very little, starts stream and just playing games, a person cannot connect it will be hard to bring new people in for sure.
For me. I would like to think that as a streamer I am a personal one. There are things I never mention though have slipped up before. My Bf for example does not want me to say his name on stream. We refer to him as “Space” Mind you there have been times that I have slipped up and said his name but that is not a HUGE deal though. There are also times when I tell stories about my family or friends and most times especially when referring to my brother and sister I don’t say their names either. My camera is pointed at a wall and not a window so that folks cannot see anything outside of my house. Not that I live near any landmarks but it is better safe than sorry in these types of situations. I want to be open and honest with my stream because I treat them as I would my friends. Even if we are a streamer/viewer relationship I want them to feel like it is a safe space. If I wanted it to be a production and totally planned out then I would have a green screen, keep chatter to a minimum and not connect at all.
Be safe out there and remember, setting high boundaries in the beginning is okay, because when you set them low and want them higher, It may be a lot harder to reign them back in if you want to change them!