If you have been active on any major social media platform over the past 3 years you have probably seen an ASMR video of some kind on your feed. Weather this is in a satisfying slime unboxing, the calming whispers of a teen YouTuber or the oddly relaxing sounds of a soap cutting video, ASMR is everywhere. It’s the internet trend that no one could have predicted but everyone is very much here for.
If at this point you are feeling confused, don’t worry, we all were the first time we saw an ASMR videos. I am about to delve into this weird world and hopefully provide some clarity on how it has become one of the biggest internet trends of 2018.
What is ASMR?
ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. This is just a fancy term used to describe our body’s response to being exposed to certain visual and auditory stimuli. People have called this response a “brain orgasm” (although ASMR is not sexual) and describe a unique tingling sensation that runs down the back of their head and spine. Others have described a feeling of deep relaxation, often causing them to fall asleep.
People’s responses to the stimuli can be completely different, with many people claiming to not feel anything at all. Currently there is no real scientific research into the phenomenon and so I don’t really have any explanation as to why people respond in these ways.
To keep this in simple terms, an ASMR trigger is a stimuli that induces this tingling response in your head. There are many types of ASMR triggers and the response to each usually depends on the person. However, some triggers create a stronger ASMR experience when compared to others. Things like frequency, volume and intensity will also affect the ASMR experience.
Some common ASMR triggers include
- Role playing
Hopefully at this point you are a little clearer on what ASMR is. However you are probably still wondering: how did they trend become so big? Why is a video of a women eating pickles into a microphone gaining 18 million views?
(This is personal favourite of mine)
The term ASMR was coined in 2010, and was originally circulated around a small niche community of people seeking a sensory response from videos posted on YouTube and within a small Facebook group. The more content that was posted, the more people who became interested and this small community grew quite steadily until 2015 when the ASMR trend really blew up.
How did it become so big?
Like all social media trends. Popular influencers saw this niche content growing and decided to try their hand at it. Popular Youtubers like Jeffree Star and Trisha Paytas introduced this phenomenon to their millions of followers with videos reading their hate comments in a deep whisper and kidnapping roleplays (Thank you for this iconic video Trisha).
Suddenly there is huge interest in ASMR, giving ASMR channels a gateway to increase their followings as they feed this new interest. Since 2015 ASMR has sky rocketed, with hundreds of hours of content being posted everyday across all social media platforms. In 2018 YouTube channels dedicated to ASMR now have millions of subscribers, Instagram slime video receive hundreds of thousands of likes and snapchat stories receive thousands of daily views. ASMR has well and truly blown up.
With human stress levels constantly on the rise people have a higher need for relaxation. More and more people are now turning to ASMR for this outlet of relaxation. ASMR is an incredible effective way to shut down your mind and relax. People who suffered from high levels of stress, anxiety and panic attacks have claimed that ASMR has helped then to reduce the effects of these issues.
There is clearly a need for ASMR within today’s society whether that is purely for entertainment purposes or for the relaxing sensation that many people have benefited from. And with constant technological improvements and new triggers being found every day I see this trend continuing to grow over the next few years.
Cathal McCaughey is a final year student on the BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations at Ulster University and a Study USA alumni of College of St. Benedict / St. John’s University MN. He can be contacted on: Instagram – @Cathal_10 / Twitter – @Cathal__10 / Linkedin – http://www.linkedin.com/in/cathalmccaughey
ASMR Snapchat Channel: OctoberASMR