Why videos of people whispering got so popular?

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), as described in the dictionary, is “a calming, pleasurable feeling often accompanied by a tingling sensation. This tingle is said to originate in a person’s head and spread to the spine (and sometimes the limbs) in response to stimulation. The stimuli that trigger ASMR vary from person to person. Some of the most common ones include whispers, white noise, lip-smacking, having a person’s complete attention (as in having one’s hair cut by a hairdresser), as well as brushing, chewing, tapping, scratching, and crinkling.”

A brief history

The concept itself has existed since 2007, when a user created a thread titled “Weird Sensation Feels Good” on steadyhealth.com. In 2008, one user within that forum thread called the sensation Attention Induced Head Orgasm (AIHO). In early 2010, another forum user called it Attention Induced Observant Euphoria.

However, the term ASMR is believed to have been coined by a woman named Jennifer Allen. She loved watching space videos that would sometimes give her a weird, tingly-like sensation, starting from the scalp, falling down her spine and spread, subtle, in the entire body. The term as we know it today appeared when, in 2010, she discovered a group of people on a site called steadyhealth.com where they described the same feeling, but no one seemed to know what it was. “People had been told they were on drugs or that they had lice — things like that,” Allen says. “And then there was the factor of people calling it a ‘brain orgasm’ and it sounds like some sort of erotic fetish kind of thing.” As Jennifer couldn’t find any concrete details about this topic, she created her own Facebook group called Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response Group, having the key characteristics of what’s today known as ASMR, around which, not long after, worldwide community – and future phenomenon – began to shape.

Best 5 ASMR YouTube channels

Best five ASMR Youtube channels

SAS-ASMR (8.65 million subscribers)

ASMR Darling (2.49 million subscribers)

Gibi ASMR (2.26 million subscribers)

ASMR PPOMO (2.17 million subscribers)

Gentle Whispering ASMR (1.87 million subscribers)

A look behind the curtain

Menka ASMR is what people call an ASMRtist (a person who creates ASMR audio-visual material), and she joined the community two years ago. When asked what made her want to be a part of this phenomenon, she said that she always enjoyed making videos and talking to people. “In the beginning, being passionate about cars, I made videos regarding tuning and JDM events. But I felt that it didn’t give me particular joy, because I couldn’t help others in a concrete way. I had been an ASMR user for about 2 years, and I felt the benefits that ASMR gave me, so I chose to take this path.”

Menka on her YouTube channel

But moving from making videos about cars to whispering gently to people seems to be quite a change. Well, Menka states that she was able to do this with the help of her fans and the positive feedback and comments she received over time. “My husband, being passionate about music, already had the appropriate equipment for ASMR, so from this point of view it was not too difficult to start. Also, even today, when I read the beautiful comments under my videos, I still get all excited and understand that I’ve taken the right path! Knowing that my videos are useful to others, to relax and to relieve stress just… gives me joy.”

When asked what else she thinks influenced the ASMR sudden growth, she put it on the basis of a stressed society, which finds refuge in ASMR, in soft talking and personal attention “… I think those who take refuge in the ASMR are more sensitive to some visual and auditory stimuli. It is a very subjective sensation, in fact, the sensation that you feel during an ASMR video is different from person to person. With the takeover of ASMR videos over the internet, it has become easier for everyone to approach these sensations. With ASMR, we try to approach these in one way or another, every day. Many find themselves, unconsciously, relaxing with the sound of the moving car, the waves of the sea, the teacher who speaks in a low tone of voice. Then there are cerebral sensations that connect us to when we were young (such as our parents who read bedtime stories); these sensations can also reoccur in adulthood, feeling pleased, relaxed when someone whispers something.”

As a beginner in this community, which can be seen as something strange and weird by others, it can be difficult to make them understand the intensity or complexity of the content you create and share globally, so Menka said she has not yet told the family.  “I never told my family, to be honest, for personal reasons. To my friends, yes, and after some short time of teasing and jokes, as expected, they were all happy. They are not very interested but they support me anyway.”

Menka hopes that one day she will be able to do this as a job, but she knows that the internet industry and that the complexity and diversity of YouTube can be difficult to break “I’d like it to become a job, but I also know that in the world of the Internet it’s not always that simple. So, for now, it’s my favorite hobby, and in addition, it gives me a lot of satisfaction. If it is to become something really big in the future, I would be really happy, but for now, I am really satisfied with what I have!”

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