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)

Qualities of ASMR: Roleplaying

So — haircut, massage, or … cranial nerve exam?

I know, I know: It sounds like the beginning of a horribly inappropriate joke, but guess again. The fact of the matter is that these words are currently among the trending results on YouTube when providing ‘asmr’ as the search term.

YouTube ASMR Search Results

But if we consider these results for a moment, what exactly is an “asmr haircut”? Might it be anything like a normal haircut? What about an “asmr massage”? At first glance they seem strange.

Welp, to explain the situation: these are various types of roleplays that, in some sense, indicate the content of the videos.

Say, for example, a person’s trigger is hearing a deep sound of scratching something soft. Rather than listen to a person claw an object with no context, a roleplay video of someone playing the part of a barber can simulate a situation in which one would generally hear those types of sounds. In many ways, people that experience ASMR may derive comfort by imagining the environment of the sound, as well as the sound itself.

This characteristic is among the most prominent found in the online ASMR community. One can’t glance at reddit’s asmr page without finding dozens of roleplay videos abound.

To that end, roleplay videos encompass both the sounds and communication one might expect to find in those situations. From the idle chat of a barber, to the ambiguous questions of a doctor — roleplaying runs the gambit of professions and locations in an effort to provide the listener with the most comfortable context possible.

With that in mind; I have absolutely no idea what a cranial nerve exam sounds like.

(Image Source: YouTube + siiiic’ paint skillz!)

Off My Mind: Audio-Only ASMR?

こんにちは!(konnichiwa!) (hello!)

As luck would have it, I was browsing reddit the other day and came across a suggestion that I’ve had on my mind for quite some time.

Specifically, that people creating ASMR videos should begin to consider uploading their content to audio streaming services such as grooveshark, spotify, and sound cloud.  At face value, it sounds like a fantastically phenomenal idea. But it hasn’t happened. So …

Banner Image - SO, WHAT'S THE HOLD UP?

(At the risk of being redundant …) So, what’s the hold-up? Well, I’m of the opinion that there’s a great deal of benefit in this, but of course a couple disadvantages do come to mind. Let’s take a quick tally and consider what we’re looking at.

Reasons FOR uploading ASMR content to audio platforms:

– It shares the content to a wider audience.
– It converts the content into a (much) smaller file-size.
– It allows content creators to remain anonymous.

Reasons AGAINST uploading ASMR content to audio platforms:

– These platforms aren’t as prominent as YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
– These platforms don’t compensate content creators financially.

And if we’re honest, I’m inclined to think that’s the big issue. People creating these videos clearly spend a great deal of time doing so. They’re sampling audio, editing, filming, and distributing content for essentially a brand — they deserve to be compensated in some way, and for the time being, it doesn’t appear as though audio-streaming services can provide that outlet.

(Image Source: WindowsPhone.com)

Qualities of ASMR: An Overview

Good news, everyone!
(I confess: I’ve always wanted to start an article with that line …)

An old guy pointing.

So — good news, everyone!

Today I’ll be playing the part of the professor by outlining several of the prominent triggers within the ASMR community. To that end, I’ll wrap up by discussing how these sounds might affect someone with ASMR.

Quick recap: What on earth is ASMR, and what is a TRIGGER?

Great question. In layman’s terms, ASMR is a calming sensation that occurs in the head when hearing specific calming tones, sounds, voices, or white noise. The sounds that illicit these sensations are known as TRIGGERS. People that experience ASMR often describe it as a “tingling” feeling.

Moving on: What are some of the most prominent triggers?

Although triggers vary from person to person, several seem to have popped up as being ‘especially’ common. In an excellent article by ASMRLab, they’ve outlined the following as some of the most common triggers.

Whispering: The soft, unvoiced communication of an individual on any topic.
Scratching: The sound of scratching one’s fingers to a surface.
Tapping: The sound of tapping one’s fingernails upon a surface or object.
Page Turning: The sound of turning pages while reading.
Touching the Head: The sounds associated with touching one’s scalp or head.

So, what response do these sounds illicit for someone with ASMR?

For someone with ASMR, hearing any or all of these sounds could create a calming sensation in the head. Some people have described it as a light “tingling” or “buzzing” within the head, but rather than describe it, it’s more important to remember that the experience is pleasurable.

In instances where these sounds regularly produce these responses, people may be inclined to listen to them repeatedly for relaxation or meditation purposes. For some people, the sensation is so overwhelming that other noises and sounds literally tune out while these cues are present.

In an effort to produce an analogy, one might think of ASMR as a form of audio-meditation — somewhere between a massage and a deep session of personal introspection. It’s a tool that, when explored fully, allows the participant to feel relaxed and calm wherever they may be.

(Image Source: Operation Reality, screen capped from Futurama)