ASMR? You Decide
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Anyone with an Instagram of Facebook profile has seen videos of whispering into microphones and touching things to capture their sound. The nature of these videos seems rather odd, so what are they and why do so many people enjoy watching them?
These videos are classified as causing ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) which is basically a tingling, pleasurable feeling on the skin. The sounds and sometimes visuals used in these videos is what sparks the feeling in the viewer. It is the opposite feeling from hearing nails scrape across a chalkboard. The people who create these videos speak very quietly into microphones in a soothing tone. Each video will have a different thing it is focusing on whether it be eating an entire meal very slowly or touching different items. By performing these things so near to a microphone the sound is made clearer. The sounds are satisfying and the whispering is calming. Though the term ASMR was only created in 2010, people have been employing its properties for a long time. There has never been such a large online community for it but people have always listened to things like rainforest sounds or waves crashing as calming methods. These videos won’t have an effect on everyone and even on those that they do, it can still seem odd or uncomfortable. YouTubers like “ASMR Darling” or “Gentle Whispering ASMR” are gaining millions of subscribers by creating this content. Maria of “Gentle Whispering ASMR” has commented on the amount of work that has to go into making one of her videos. She needs to choose her words, lighting, camera angles very carefully to maximize the soothing benefit. Her microphones are placed where a viewer’s ears would be and the camera where their eyes would be. This helps create a very natural and simple viewing experience so the focus can be on the sounds. Her editing after filming is pretty extensive to remove any jarring sound that may have happened. She adds a gentle glow to the whole thing video to soften her features and make it even easier to view. Generally it seems that most ASMR youTubers are pursuing it in order to truly help people to relax and feel pleasurable, not simply for the money. It is a passion, albeit an odd one.
In this video, Maria touches a variety of household objects. The sounds produced by her fingernails against the various surfaces is oddly calming and satisfying. She pays special attention to moving slowly so as not to startle visually either.
In this video, “ASMR Darling” eats a Chick-Fil-A breakfast very slowly. Her style is much more casual than “Gentle Whispering ASMR”. She speaks off topic more often than Maria. Her videos are less controlled with louder sounds sometimes coming through. She opens each box or sauce with care to make sure it is heard. She taps her nails against each box and bag. You are able to hear every bite she takes clearly through her microphone. Her style makes her videos more personal since she will often mention anecdotes about her life while she is performing different tasks.
This phenomenon is so pervasive that even celebrities have been doing it! In these two videos for W Magazine model/actress, Cara Delevigne and model, Ashley Graham both try out ASMR. They both find it odd while they are doing it since it is kind of weird to whisper for so long. Graham talks about herself and also eats different things while Delevigne’s is simply a regular interview that she is whispering.
No matter how you feel about ASMR, it seems to be here to stay on the internet as so many people have gravitated towards it. Though it may seem really odd and sometimes uncomfortable, it can be very soothing if you find the right video for you. So many people have had their anxiety minimized and have found it immensely helpful in falling asleep. Anything that has worked so positively for so many people should be celebrated no matter how odd it seems.