Since the start of her career, Kristen Valnicek (or KittyPlays) always kept her community positive. We talk with her about how she does it.
How did you get started with gaming? How have you turned that passion into a career?
I have been gaming since I was a little girl playing with my dad. When I went to university, I studied marketing and finance, and knew that I could apply these skills to playing video games and streaming. I recognized that you could gain popularity as a content creator not only through your gaming skills, but also your personality. I saw an opportunity and decided to leave university just before finishing my last semester. I moved into my parents’ basement and began streaming from my laptop. Eventually, I started using my brother’s PC. Things kept improving from there with support from my community. I always tried to make a positive impact in the space, and because I influence the meta, it has always served me with new opportunities in both gaming and business. I continue to make content, while working on a couple products for launch. I also have a gaming marketing agency called Radiance Media where we consult for brands, build and execute full marketing campaigns, and connect brands with aligned influencers.
What is your favorite thing about the online community you are a part of?
The three values I always have are: what is the most fun, what provides the most value, and what has the largest impact (and my community absolutely reflects that). I wasn’t focused on being a huge influencer. I just wanted to cultivate a super positive and supportive community where anyone could go and boost their mood and believe in their own dreams. I truly pride myself in having one of the most positive online communities on Twitch.
Have you ever experienced prejudice online? If so, has the community changed for the better, as of late?
I definitely believe the space has changed and continues to change for the better. I always stay focused on what is next and how to improve the space through my actions. I don’t give much attention or energy to trolls or other types of harassment online. Instead, I put my focus and energy into the amazing things different people are doing and the positive change they are making. I have noticed that the more attention you give online trolls, the more they show up. It’s best not to give them the attention they crave. In doing that and treating everyone with love and respect, I have had a lot of people go from trolls or haters to integral parts of my community.
Your positive attitude is infectious. How do you keep it up? What tips do you have for young gamers?
Thank you so much, I appreciate that! A lot of my positivity comes from practice and focusing on what is fun, impactful, and provides value. I am a big believer that on your best days, you will show love to your enemies and on your worst days, you will attack and lash out at your own family, so I always treat everyone with as much love and positivity as I can. You can’t control how other people treat you and you never know what is really going on. Reminding yourself that their actions and attitudes usually have nothing to do with you, especially online, but reflect what they are going through. So, I take my energy and focus it on what I can control, which are my own actions. I don’t take things personally when they are lashing out. I would highly encourage young gamers to keep that in mind, keep having fun when they play, and treat everyone with respect.