Streamers on the Rise: Sydeon on finding fulfillment in streaming

By 08/01/2023
Streamers on the Rise: Sydeon on finding fulfillment in streaming

Welcome to Streamers on the Rise, where we find streamers who are growing their channels, content, and audiences in extraordinary ways. Each week we’ll talk with a creator about what goes into livestreaming–both on and off camera.

Sydeon graduated nursing school just in time for the COVID pandemic.

But, thanks to a Discord community that encouraged her to try streaming, she already had an established Twitch channel and an audience she’d come to view as a genuine group of friends.


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“I decided I had two choices,” she says. “I could get a job in nursing and spend my life with a career that would make me really fulfilled and happy, or I could take a leap of faith and just see what happens in the streaming space.”

She debated, but eventually decided: She couldn’t not take the leap. So, a couple months after graduation, she packed her bags and moved to L.A.

Her relocation (which brought her closer to some fellow, more established streamers) had an immediate positive effect on her audience growth. But behind the camera, Sydeon was struggling. “I had a hard time feeling that same sense of fulfillment” that nursing gave her, she says. “I would get up and I would stream eight hours, then afterward I’d be like, ‘Okay, now I have to do something else to fill the rest of that for me.’ I think that was probably the most difficult change that I went through when I went full-time.”

Things are different now. In the three years since going full-time, she’s grown her “group of friends” audience to nearly 400,000 people and found fulfillment in tackling tough topics–like how Black women are treated in gaming–with her chat. She’s also become passionate about setting aside time during her gaming-heavy streams to just talk to her viewers. And, in June, she launched her first merch line–the product of a lengthy labor of love that included sourcing deadstock fabric and getting everything produced in L.A.

Check out our chat with her below.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Tubefilter: I’m familiar with you and with your content, but if you could just pretend somebody’s reading this and they’ve never seen your stuff, give me a little bit of a rundown about who you are, where you’re from, and what you got up to before you got on Twitch.

Sydeon: Yes, definitely. My name’s Sydney, I go by Sydeon online. I am originally from Seattle, Washington, and I spent my entire life there. I went to school to get my bachelor’s degree in nursing. During that time, I played a lot of games. I’ve been gaming since I was young and I was part of a Discord community that suggested that I try streaming. I tried it and I loved it and it was really fun. It was just a side thing that I did while I was in school. I was in school, I was working and then I was also streaming, so it was really, really busy for me. When I finally graduated college, I decided I had two choices. I could get a job in nursing and spend my life with a career that would make me really fulfilled and happy, or I could take a leap of faith and just see what happens in the streaming space. I decided to go that way and moved down to L.A. a couple months after I graduated.

Tubefilter: Oh, you committed.

Sydeon: Yes. I committed! I just threw it all in. I was like, “Okay, my eggs are in this basket and I have my degree and if it doesn’t work out, my parents are really, really supportive. I always have a place to stay people to support me and a career that I could come back to.”

Tubefilter: When did you graduate?

Sydeon: 2020.

Tubefilter: A perfect time to graduate with a nursing degree.

Sydeon: That was a big part of transitioning into streaming is I spent my last couple of months of nursing school at home because of COVID. It was rough because normally you would do your clinicals in person. You would be working with patients, putting in IVs, practicing all sorts of very practical skills. Then we had to do them all online in a simulation. That was not the main thing, but one of the things that helped push me toward making the streaming decision because I didn’t feel competent enough to go out and just get a job, because I go from working online, and the next thing I know I’m in a hospital in a med-surg unit and I’m like, “I’ve never placed a catheter before. I did it online though.” [laughs]

Tubefilter: “No problem!” [laughs]  How much of an audience had you built up before you graduated? It’s very risky to just go all in on streaming. How were you set up before that?

Sydeon: I would say I had built a very solid core community. I had people who would definitely show up to my streams every day, and that I felt really confident about being able to play whatever or do whatever, even if it wasn’t playing games. I would have those people show up and be a part of the community. They would always be there to chat and push me in a direction where I felt comfortable continuing to stream. I think that at this point I was pretty intentional about other social media too. I definitely posted on Instagram and Twitter, not so much YouTube, and I don’t even post TikTok a thing, then, I don’t know.

I tried to make sure that my audience we were all connected across a bunch of different platforms. I would say I felt pretty comfortable at the time, but also I think that I was willing to take a leap of faith because I knew no matter what I put myself into, I would do my best to succeed. Even if I didn’t have the viewership that I have now, I was like, “I’ll make it work. We’ll figure something out.”

Tubefilter: That’s so scary.

Sydeon: It was scary.

Tubefilter: I’m glad it worked out. That’s an incredibly brave thing to do.

Sydeon: I’m glad it worked out too. I love what I do now.

Tubefilter: When you went full-time, I know you said you moved to L.A. How else did things change for you? How did your schedule change when you went full-time? How did your structure of your content change? Did anything change?

Sydeon: I would say a lot of stuff changed. Obviously, I was streaming really late at night because I was in school all day. I would start my stream from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. and I’d be up until the middle of the night. When I moved here, I’ve always been a morning person, so I switched my stream schedule and I would start around 10 or 11 a.m. I ended up building a European audience because of that.

Tubefilter: Oh, really?

Sydeon: Yes. I would be live in the mornings and I would spend my day doing that. I would say one of the biggest changes for me was actually a very mental game. I was used to having a very hands-on day-to-day and very hands-on career that felt really fulfilling at the end of the day. I think when I first started full-time streaming, I had a hard time feeling that same sense of fulfillment. I would get up and I would stream eight hours, then afterward I’d be like, “Okay, now I have to do something else to fill the rest of that for me.” I think that was probably the most difficult change that I went through when I went full-time.

Tubefilter: Understandably. It’s really interesting that you started building an international audience.

Sydeon: I hope to go to TwitchCon EU at some point in time because I have a lot of viewers who go to it.

@sydeon_ of course tenzin was there to clip it and put it in the group chat #sydeon #trulytenzin #masayoshi #quarterjade #peterpark ♬ original sound – Sydeon

Tubefilter: Everybody I’ve spoken to for this column so far has talked about the difficulty of building an audience on Twitch. I come from reporting about YouTube, and YouTube has very good discoverability tools. Twitch doesn’t really have that yet. What else, aside from changing your streaming time and being able to reach more audiences in different time zones, what else did you do to grow your audience? Was there a trigger point for you where you noticed a lot of people coming in?

Sydeon: It’s funny, I don’t know how it worked this way, but the trigger point was moving to L.A. I think there was so much hype around it because I came up in a streaming area that was very different than I think it was five to 10 years ago. Five to 10 years ago, the meta is, you blow up by yourself, you’re playing games by yourself, yadda, yadda, yadda. I came up in the collaboration era.

Tubefilter: The Among Us era.

Sydeon: The Among Us era, yes. The classic Among Us era. It’s a lot of collaboration, it’s a lot of places for me to showcase my personality and to network and meet other people, which I think I did and it all went well. When I moved to L.A., I was moving in with an already established friend group, and I was moving in with two streamers who are also already established. There was a bit of hype around me coming down. I remember my last stream in Washington was maybe 500 or so viewers. Then when I got to L.A., it was my first organic stream to have like 1500 plus. Then it just kept being that way.

I moved to L.A. and it was like, “Okay, here’s a thousand extra viewers.” I still don’t really understand it, but I just moved to L.A., and then it changed.

Tubefilter: What’s been your favorite part of streaming in general?

Sydeon: I think my favorite part has always been when I hop on, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing for the day, I always try to get at least 15 minutes of just chatting, where I just sit and talk with my community. Some days it’s hard because I have a lobby at 2:00 and I start my stream at 2:05, and I have to roll right into the game. Not to keep my friends waiting but for the most part, I really try to set aside some time for us to just chat because I think one of the things that sets me aside as a streamer is my desire and willingness to connect with my audience. I like to spend a lot of time cultivating the community part of my stream.

Tubefilter: Perfect. I know you play FPS games. Do you squad up with other streamers?

Sydeon: Yes, I would say the game that I play the most is Valorant. And most of the time I have a group chat with my closest friends who all play games and who all stream. Any one of us will be like, “Hey, anyone who want to battle at [blank]?” And then we get whoever is available and we play. I’m oftentimes playing with friends. I don’t like to solo queue as a woman.

Tubefilter: Oh yeah. No way.

Sydeon: In the gaming space, it’s very difficult. Unfortunately, I’m not comfortable with solo queuing. Duo queue is happy as long as I have one person I can rely on. I would say most of the time I’m squadding up in games. I don’t play story games very often because they can’t keep my attention. I’m very, very competitive, so I like that in my gaming, but I like to do solo content that’s more lifestyle stuff rather than solo gaming content.

Tubefilter: That’s fair. I totally get you. I solo queue in Apex, but I have to have my mic off.

Sydeon: Yes, exactly.

Tubefilter: How would you describe your community overall?

Sydeon: I think my community, to me, it just feels like a group of friends. If I’m playing my game and let’s say I haven’t really looked at my chat in a couple of rounds, they’re all talking amongst themselves, which I think is really cool because that’s what I wanted out of streaming was a safe space for everyone. It also makes me really happy that sometimes I have tough conversations on stream and I feel like my community is really mature. I’m able to sit down and say, “Okay, I’m going to have a tough conversation today. Everybody, let’s remember to be respectful,” and we can just talk about it.

Tubefilter: Can you tell me about that a little more? What kind of topics do you talk about?

Sydeon: I think being a Black woman on Twitch is a very specific niche that you don’t see a lot. I don’t like the word niche. It’s a very specific person that you don’t see a lot of. I don’t see a lot of Black women on Twitch, and in gaming in general or this nerd space, nerd culture.

Tubefilter: It’s certainly there but I feel like the population online, there’s not as much attention given.

Sydeon: Yes, not as much attention, not as much representation, and I hope to act as a part of representation for Black women in gaming. I’m often having conversations about more taboo topics. I talk about my hair all the time, which is a very sensitive subject for Black women, Black people, I would say in general. I educate about wigs and weaves and the cornrows and why Kim Kardashian calling her braids boxer braids was such an issue. That kind of stuff. They’re obviously sensitive conversations and I do have a community of Black people who watch me and I know that they feel that relation.

When there’s more sensitive stuff that happens in the news, I always like to take some time to acknowledge those things. I do my best to try and set up a safe space before we go into those conversations because I think there’s a lot that happens every day whether it’s to me personally or to my viewers or in the larger news scape that I think is important to talk about. Even though I like to think of my stream as a bit of an escape, I still think that those conversations need to be had.

Tubefilter: Yeah, spaces like that are vital. Creators in general I feel like are afraid to broach those topics or are afraid to make those spaces for people to ask questions or learn things just because (A) it can attract people who are horrible, and (B) it can be difficult to navigate and manage those kinds of conversations in real-time with so many people engaging and inputting. That’s really admirable that you’re able to do that and lead those kinds of educational moments.

Sydeon: Thank you. A lot of it has to do with the fact that my community is really great about having these conversations. If I tried it the first time and they sucked and everybody was just awful to each other, I’d be like, “Okay, never mind, I don’t want to talk about this anymore.” Every time we have, it’s just been really constructive, and I love when people ask questions. Every time I talk about my hair, people are asking questions. They’re like, “I’m so sorry, I don’t mean to be offensive, I’m just curious,” or, “I don’t know about this,” and I have the opportunity to educate, so it feels good.

Tubefilter: That’s fantasitc. I do want to ask, do you have mods for your chat?

Sydeon: Yes.

Tubefilter: Have you ever had to worry about people coming in and trying to be horrible?

Sydeon: I wouldn’t say I actively worry about it. It does happen and I’m not expecting my mods to be just glued to my chat 24/7. Sometimes messages slip through, I see things, my chat sees things that are not nice, but it takes not five seconds for me to alt-tab and ban someone. I wouldn’t say I worry about it.

Tubefilter: We have a lot of creators who read these columns, and so I’m mostly asking for up-and-coming creators or just creators in general. Maybe they’re Black, maybe they’re trans, and they’re in these marginalized communities and they’re also worrying about, how does someone effectively handle this? When you’re having these tough conversations, when you’re a visible Black woman in gaming, how do you handle this and how could they keep themselves safe?

Sydeon: I think it’s so different for each person. I think what works for me might not work for the next creator but the way that I view things is I really just try my best not to make it about myself. If someone comes in and says something really hateful, the only way that I’ve been able to cope with it for an extended period of time because as long as I’m putting myself on the internet, I am going to get hateful comments. The only way I’ve been able to reconcile this feeling is recognize that in order to spread so much hate, that person has to have some hurt.

I’m like, “They’re coming on and they’re just being really hurtful to me because they’re in pain and it’s not a projection of me. This is not an accurate reflection of who I am and it’s more of an accurate reflection of who they are and how they’re choosing to handle themselves.” If someone comes in and is like, “You’re ugly,” I’m like, “I’m not ugly.” That negative word does not affect me and it’s more an accurate representation of them. I ban them and I move on.

Sometimes it becomes more generalized comments where I know that seeing something like that could affect my entire community. That’s usually when I take a moment. I remember a year ago there were really bad hate raids targeted at Black streamers. I was streaming during that time and my Discord and my chat is full of “kill all N-words,” just really, really crazy hurtful stuff. In those moments, I ban and I take a second, and I’m like, “Hey, is everybody okay? Do we need to talk about this? How are you guys feeling? This is how I’m feeling. Okay, let’s scrub the chat. Everybody type some emote and we we’ll move forward.”

I think it just really depends. I cope with it in a certain way and it might not be the right way, but that’s what works for me. That’s how I don’t go crazy.

Tubefilter: Absolutely. I feel like it really helps to hear from somebody who’s effectively doing this and who is clearly growing and doing really well on Twitch that it’s going to be okay. Do you have any projects or any cool things you’re working on that you want to talk about?

Sydeon: It’s funny. I recently broke my ankle.

Tubefilter: No! How did you break it?

Sydeon: It’s the silliest thing ever. I know I can’t skateboard. My balance is horrible. I’ve tried multiple times. I have a scar on my inner elbow from falling off a skateboard. My friends were skateboarding. They had an extra one in the car and I was like, “You know what, I don’t know. I’m 26 now. Things are different. I can skateboard.” I fell off a non-moving skateboard in a flat parking lot and just broke my ankle. It was crazy. The skateboard came to a stop. This is my left foot, I stepped off with my right foot and the skateboard and my left foot just fly that way, so then my ankle on my right foot landed 90 degrees. I fell to the ground and I’m like, “My ankle’s broken.”

Tubefilter: Was it a clean break at least?

Sydeon: Oh, no. I broke both my tibia and my fibula and I tore the ligament that’s in between the two and I ruptured a bunch of cartilage in my ankle. I had surgery. It’s been a whole thing.

Tubefilter: I’m so sorry.

Sydeon: It’s okay. That’s life. I was like, “I work from home. That’s good at least.” I’ve been recovering for the last month and a half and I still have quite a ways to go, but right before that, I was entering this new content wave. I was so excited. I was like, “I am going to be on my fashion girly arc.” I love fashion and I have always loved fashion. Prior to nursing school and prior to gaming and all of that, I worked as a model for 10 years. It’s always been a part of my life. I was super excited to push fashion, Instagram content, YouTube content, TikTok content.

I had all of these ideas, I was ready to go, and then life was like, “Haha, you can’t stand anymore.” Coming up after breaking my ankle, my hope is to roll back into that a little slowly. I really love sharing personal style and I think it reflects someone so well. I just want to be able to share that. I have in my chat a lot of people, even just yesterday someone asked me, “How do you develop your style?” I’m like, I really want to be able to talk about this kind of stuff. I talk about it on stream and I’d love to have my other platforms have supplemental information in that regard.

I want to lean into fashion content, I would say is one of the big projects that I’m looking forward to. I recently released my first line of merch, which was really fun. I hope to do a second line at some point in time. I’m very picky about clothes. The first one took me over a year.

Tubefilter: That’s a good thing!

Sydeon: I imagine that the second one will take me a while too, but I would say that those are the big things that I’m looking forward to.

Tubefilter: How involved were you in the design and production side of things for this recent merch line?

Sydeon: I would say very. One of the main issues that I had with streamer merch, because I’ve seen a lot of my friends around me make merch, was that it felt very wasteful, as clothing production can be.

Tubefilter: It can be very fast fashion.

Sydeon: Yes, it’s very fast fashion. I went pretty far out of my way to minimize that as much as possible. I think when you’re making clothing, there really is only so much you can do it. At least that’s how it felt like to me. I said, “If there’s only so much I can do, I’m going to do all of that.” We used vegetable dye to dye our clothing. We also used deadstock fabric. All of my clothing was made from fabric that was already produced. I’m not producing anymore, which was something that I felt good about. The thing is, the fabric is so nice. I was like, “I want it to be deadstock fabric,” and I’m like, “Okay, but I really don’t want to compromise for quality.” When I finally got to see the final production, it’s really nice quality fabric. I’m like, “If that’s already there, great, I’m going to use it.” Everything was produced, cut, sewn, dyed in L.A., instead of overseas or wherever else. I felt really, really good about my merch line. Also, one of the things that I’ve noticed is in producing clothes, you get your first one back and you don’t like it but you can’t sell it and you can’t donate it because then it lowers your brand or whatever.

Then you get your second one and your third one and blah, blah, blah. I asked not to see my collection until the very end. I was like, “I don’t want any samples. There’s none of that. Give me the final product.” That’s the risk that I was willing to take in order not to create waste. I felt really good about that. Very proud of that. Design-wise, I’m very picky, so I was a part of the entire thing. It was actually designed by my friend who’s an artist. She’s been one of my best friends. She lives in Seattle for years. We met in college and so she designed the artwork for my merch. It was a very like close to home line for me.

We worked really hard on it. That’s why it took so long.

Tubefilter: When you do it right, that’s how long it has to take. Do you have any goals or plans, anything else you’re working on?

Sydeon: Yes, I grew up playing sports my whole life. I love being active. Obviously can’t do that right now but another thing that I had started pursuing right before I broke my ankle was a sports series. Last year I did a charity field day where I brought a bunch of streamers out and we played games outside and raised money for charity, which was really fun. I want that to be an annual event that I host. More frequently, I like to just do sports streams. My first one was disc golf. I took a couple of streamers out and we played disc golf for the first time. I just liked the idea.

I think people think that being in gaming and enjoying these kind of things are mutually exclusive with getting outside the whole touching grass, haha thing. Am trying to encourage people to maybe find a more obscure sport that they like. During my field day, we played badminton and a bunch of my friends were like, “Oh, my gosh, I’ve never played this before. This is so fun.” I was like, “That could be cool. I’m going to bring four people. We’re going to go play disc golf and the next time we’ll go play pickleball and maybe someone will fall in love with pickleball the way that I love sports.” I hope to do more of those streams once I’m back up and running.

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