Wrap-Up: Knowledge+1

Welp, that’s all folks.

It’s always tough to write those words, but it seems that another semester has come and gone. This time around, the project entailed creating a blog on the topic of our choice, and no surprise, this was the result of my efforts. Over the course of the semester I’ve come to learn a lot technically about the web, but more importantly, I’ve come to the realization that putting out interesting content worth discussing is always more important than brute knowledge.

I’ve been fortunate enough to make some friends through this platform, receive comments, conduct interviews, and share it across the better part of a dozen social networks. It has been a tiring, yet rewarding experience. With that in mind, I can’t help but want to take a moment and extend my personal gratitude to you, the reader.

Once again: Thank You for reading. Without you, with your comments and advice, without your resources, this wouldn’t have been such a rewarding experience. More than wordpress, facebook, twitter, and at least a dozen e-mails: your correspondence was what made this project such a blast. I hope that you’ve gotten as much out of this blog as I did from your contacts, and likewise: I hope that you’ve learned a few things about ASMR, and its modern applications.

Although I won’t be updating the blog anymore, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an e-mail with questions or concerns regarding the content here. I’m never too tired / famous to help (or receive help!)

So that about wraps things up. Thanks again, and for all you out there — may all your dreams come true.

Best Wishes,
Jesse Witt

 

Updates: New Page & Widgets!

Howdy-Howdy!

Quick update: I’ve gone ahead and added two additional widgets for readers to get around, [1] a search function, and [2] a contact information text block with my e-mail address. Feel free to take advantage of these platforms and let me know how the blog can be improved. :o)

Likewise; I’ve created a ‘Navigation page’ for additional information and background material on the blog. Hopefully it provides a place to start, and some directional flow of the content.

Until next time!
Jess

Qualities of ASMR: Tapping

It’s time for yet another ‘quality of ASMR’! This week we’ll be taking a look at one of the most widely reported qualities, more specifically, ‘tapping’.

Admittedly, I initially wanted to record and post a video of my efforts to induce this particular quality. Needless to say my phone’s camera was not compliant, and, despite my best efforts, was unable to bring one to light.

Rather than bemoan my phone’s troubles, I decided it would be best to locate a relevant video and discuss it. Without further ado, I’ll be taking a quick look at 「ひたすらネイルタッピング」by King Hiro.

First and foremost: it’s important to point out the use of ‘3d’, also known as ‘ear-to-ear’ sound. It’s a production type that dramatically increases the quality of the sound, and provides a stereoscopic effect for the listener.

Simply put: binaural recording uses two microphones to create authentic audio output, as if you were standing in the room listening to the sound itself. It’s neat, but what about the tapping?

The tapping, as is common with ASMR videos, is the effect of any type of tapping on a surface. Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s soft, sometimes loud, sometimes quiet — this quality comes in many forms and many types.

Here; we can see from this particular video that there is no set pattern. It’s King Hiro simply tapping on a table, with close microphones for recording. It’s erratic, tonal, and simple. There isn’t extraneous sounds to distract us from the meat and potatoes: the tapping.

Although some videos combine multiple elements, many if not most simply pitch each unique quality for the single video, letting the listener know what content can be found within; without distractions.

Off My Mind: Behind ASMR

In considering what exactly are the primary causes and elements of ASMR, I find myself of several opinions. Today, I’ll be question some questions about the nature of this process, and likewise; I’ll be using a slideshow (seen below) to help illustrate some of these points.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Listening – Is ASMR simply a matter of listening? Does ASMR take place in other ways for other people, or is it only auditory?

Focus – Are the effects of ASMR a result of focus? Is it deliberate, or simply an impulse? How does focus on content or stimuli affect people experiencing ASMR?

Relationship – Does the content depend on a type of relationship, or is it entirely unrelated? Specifically, is intimacy with the content a requirement for ASMR to take place?

Whispering – Why does whispering and unstressed voice such a large component of ASMR? Is this a requirement of the material, or an afterthought?

It seems that, regardless of the material, there are a number of running themes within the ASMR community’s content. Needless to say that as the research continues to evolve we’ll be better to able understand this material, both online and off.

App Pitch: ASMR Aggregator

In considering how much technology has changed our lives over the last two decades I’m honestly at a loss for words.

In a matter of years we’ve made the leap from large physical devices that connect to the web from home, to handheld mobile technologies that do it anywhere at anytime. As our technology upgrades, so must we. As our methods of medically researching this phenomenon update, so should we upgrade our methods of expanding public awareness.

And so, today, I’ll be outlining a creative draft for an application that would seek to aggregate ASMR content from all over the web into a single, standalone application. No longer must we scour the web from site to site seeking exceptional content from passionate creators. We can, as some might say, enslave an algorithm to do that work for us.

And on that note; I’m proud to introduce an early draft of the ‘ASMR Aggregator‘.

But — BUT, before we take a look at it, let’s take a quick moment and consider the current model. What does it look like searching for ASMR content today?

[WEB] > [CONTENT] > [FOLLOW-UP]

Seems pretty straightforward. A user hits the labyrinth that is the web, running from site to site until they’ve found content that works for them. After viewing it they’ll bookmark it or share it via some third party service before moving on. It’s unlikely that — unless the user is compelled to — that they’ll connect with the content creators before moving on. When they want to see another video the following day they’ll rinse and repeat the process.

But how might things look under a different model? I’m inviting you to consider the use of an application to streamline the whole process.

[DEDICATED PLATFORM] > [CONTENT]

Notice anything different? No more searching from site-to-site. No more sifting through irrelevant videos. Under this model, the user relies on the fact that the content is aggregated from a wide variety of outlets and pre-screened on the platform.

[The Need] An application of this nature would save users time and energy. In a sense, it would expose users to a much wider variety of content from a large selection of audio and video platforms on the web. It would allow creators to share content without the hassle of dealing with dozens of different services, and perhaps most importantly, it would enable them to easily connect with their viewers, receiving valuable feedback as a result. In some sense, everybody wins.

Let’s start by looking at what several of the screens might look like within the app.

ASMR App Image - Homescreen

At the home-screen we’re greeted with the title, ‘ASMR Aggregator’, atop the menu bar. The four buttons listed horizontally entail (1) a link to the initial screen, (2) a link to the recently viewed content page, (3) a social page to share app details across networks, and (4) a saved content page for favorites.

Below that, at the center of the screen, we’re confronted with the focus of the content: the search. We’re wanting to find ASMR content reliably fast. From top to bottom the buttons are as follows.

[1] Search Categories. In layman’s terms, this is the refined search we’ve been talking about. This isn’t searching just youtube or just vimeo, this is searching everything for the specific content the user wants.

[2] Search Authors. Type in the name of a content creator to browse their recently uploaded content across each of the biggest platforms.

[3] Submit Content. Upload content for the web to enjoy straight from inside the application. Audio and video files are to be hosted on ASMR Aggregator’s own servers, enabling the user complete control over the content as it goes out.

[4] Submit a Request. Let the web know what you’re looking for. This allows users to connect with content creators in ways that enrich not only the viewing process, but for creators looking for feedback as well.

Now, let’s consider what it might look like to *submit* content.

ASMR App Image 2

Sure enough, the standard fields that we might find elsewhere apply here; selecting the file, describing the content, and indicating who the content creator is. Likewise, the user would be required to accept the terms of service before being able to upload any material. It’s intended to be simple, fast, and intuitive.

Fortunately, this type of application would be simple to implement across a wide variety of hardware: phones, tablets, and mobile computers being the initial launch targets. It’s important to keep in mind that the overall objective is to allow users to find content easily while giving them an opportunity to share it should they like.

And so it appears that we’ve come full-circle. I can’t help but feel that just as our technology continues to evolve, so must the ways that we interact and search, too.

(Image Source(s): Proto.IO)

Qualities of ASMR: Whispering

Welcome back for another entry into the ‘Qualities of ASMR’.

This time, we’ll be exploring what many report as the single most common trigger within the ASMR community: whispering.

And indeed, if we’re using YouTube’s metrics, I think there’s a fair argument to be made that this trigger is trending. A simple search reveals that it outranks ‘roleplays’ on several huge platforms. Let’s take a look at two of the most important, Google and YouTube.

YouTube Search Results for ASMR Whisper and ASMR Roleplay

Running a search today for either of these terms returns a massive amount of results. If it wasn’t clear from the little blue boxes, ‘asmr whisper’ returns about 100,000 more videos than its (rather prominent) counterpart. But how did we get here? Is this a slow growth over many years, or an exploding phenomenon?

Of course, Google has the answers.

Google Search Results for ASMR Roleplay and ASMR Whisper

I’d have done better to enlarge the years at the bottom, so bear with me. Essentially: both the terms ‘asmr whisper’ and ‘asmr roleplay’ received zero searches up until 2012, and since then, they’ve exploded all over the internet. In the span of a year and half we’ve reached over a million combined videos between these two terms. Fancy that, eh?

So the point has been made: ‘whispering’, in some sense, outranks ‘roleplaying’ when it comes to creating content for the ASMR audience. People that are watching these videos apparently enjoy whispering, and they enjoy quite a bit of it.

So, then, what exactly does whispering constitute, and why might one seek out ASMR videos with it?

In its simplest terms, whispering is exactly what it sounds like: someone whispering into a microphone to produce a quiet message for the listener. It’s effects are intended to be calming, often reassuring. It’s a lot like Bob RossIt’s soothing, sedative, and hypnotic all at once: but why? What’s so special about the sound of whispering?

I’m inclined to think the answer lies in the universal language known as “Motherese” also known as “baby speak”. Woah. The answer is … babies? Stay with me — we’re going somewhere with this.

When children are born, the parents of said kiddo’ typically speak to the child in ways that are, by normal standards, exaggerated. (What BIG EYES you have!) They elongate certain sounds, speak quietly, slowly, and shower children with attention. As infants, we grow accustomed to these sounds, and in many ways, the calming effects of this communication stick with us for the duration of our lives.

Think about it: when we want to relax, do we crank up KISS and start kung-fu fighting? Probably not. We’re more likely to find a dim, quiet place, take some deep breaths, and listen to something calming to center ourselves. Apparently, some of us simply prefer to listen to Bob Ross while we’re at it, too.

(Image Source(s): YouTube, Google Trends)