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Tingle Tuesday: All the Bells and Whistles

Violet      One of the challenges ASMRtists face is to come up with new and creative ways of presenting ASMR triggers without sounding like they are on repeat. I have heard several ASMRtists say that their fans write to say they want something exactly like the previous video…but completely different.

While viewers may want another ear examination, tapping or scratching videos, ASMRtists strive to offer something more. The more experience they have in making ASMR content, the more they want to do something new and fresh. As I am sure many of you have seen, some of them have really gone to the outer limits ad have pushed the boundaries of what ASMR content is and what it can be. I applaud these efforts and I can’t help being impressed by the filmmaking skills of these people whose original videos began with nothing more than a camera phone.

Unfortunately all of the bells and whistles don’t work for me. A few months ago, one of my favorite ASMRtists created an amazingly unique video that I watched from start to finish but could not be triggered by. I consider this person an acquaintance so I mean no disrespect to their work when I say this. (And before you ask, no, it wasn’t Violet…I used her pic because it WASN’T her.) I actually wrote them and congratulated them on the video saying “I was so impressed I kept watching to see what you would do next and couldn’t succumb to the included suggestions.” (I am pleased to say that they took that comment as the compliment I intended it to be.)

Bob ross           I suppose this is why Bob Ross does not trigger me. I know, I know…I have just dissed the unofficial patron saint of ASMR. But honestly, I have to try so hard to be triggered by him! I totally get why he triggers people. He certainly has a soothing voice, but I typically get so into the painting that I become mesmerized by what he is doing and the triggers come secondary.

I have discovered that in addition to people having a wide variety of triggers, there is also a difference in the way they prefer to receive those triggers. For some, it is all of the bells and whistles and special effects. For others, it’s the unintentional ASMR effect. For me, I am a middle of the road kind of person who, if I had to try and make a laundry list of what works for me, I’d sound like a nut job. Generally speaking, I like organic triggers, not something overly fanciful. Whispering works for me, but not random whispering…one has to be actually talking about something or walking me through a process. I love some special effects, but I prefer they be an unexpected surprise in the video rather than a full hour of them. See what I mean? I sound weird!

I suppose this is why I don’t make requests of ASMRtists. I feel that they have to be true to their art and do what they want to do. If it’s the big productions, that’s fine with me. I’m sure they work for a lot of people and who am I to complain. If they do something small scale that works for me and not others; that’s great too. I think it is important to always remember that these amazing artists provide free content for our enjoyment and I for one will not look a gift horse in the mouth!

Untile next time, tingle on!

J-

Follow Julie Young on Twitter: @JulieYoung14

Follow Julie Young on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorjulieyoung

Join INDY ASMR: https://www.facebook.com/IndyASMR

Read this blog post at: www.thewaterwhispers.com

Read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to ASMR: http://www.amazon.com/Idiots-Guides-ASMR-Julie-Young/dp/1615648186/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432674500&sr=8-1&keywords=Idiots+guides%3A+ASMR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tingle Tuesday: ASMR Dependency and Immunity

ASMR image1      Is ASMR harmful in anyway? Can you become addicted to it? What happens when it stops working? These are all questions we have seen on various message boards so allow me to put a few concerns to rest. When the whisper community/ASMR community began, it was all about helping people relax and get to sleep at night. This remains the primary goal of ASMRtists everywhere; therefore ASMR is not intentionally harmful in any way.

That being said, safety is always the key word when indulging in any practice that operates on a subliminal level or has the ability to put you to sleep or in a hypnotic trance for a period of time. If you are knew to the ASMR phenomenon, here are some top tips and rules to keep in mind:

  1. Do not try and trigger your tingles while operating a car or heavy machinery.
  2. Screen all videos/audio content prior to using them for ASMR purposes.
  3. Use foreign language content judiciously. (Hey, I am triggered by it myself and most ASMRtists are just offering something different, but keep in mind although YOU may not know what is being said, the subconscious might and I am aware that there was one ASMRtist who was being very derogatory in their FL content. So, just be aware. )
  4. Screen content prior to allowing your children to watch it. This seems fairly obvious, but it bears mentioning.
  5. Discuss any concerns you have with your personal physician.

As far as we know, it is not possible to become “addicted” to ASMR however; it is possible to develop an unhealthy reliance on it. Allow me to explain. If your love of ASMR content is preventing you from enjoying a full life outside of a computer screen, then you may want to do something about that. Any psychologist will tell you that substituting a real life for a virtual one is not healthy, but be assured it’s your behavior not the content doing that to you. I am of the opinion that although ASMR can help you get through the rough times when you are in need of a good night’s rest, it is often most effective when you are doing everything you can to have a normal, happy, healthy life. Remember, it is a supplement, not a way of life and you lesson the chances of ASMR immunity when it does not become an everyday occurrence.

ASMR immunity is something that comes up frequently and essentially refers to those moments when your go to videos stop working and no matter what you do, you cannot seem to get the ASMR tingles to occur. Rest assured this is very normal and typically comes from over exposure to the same video and ASMRtist. When we get used to their voice, their actions or if we have watch the video so much we have it memorized it can negate the effect. For some, the solution is to find a new ASMRtist while others take a break for a while and then come back to it. If you have experienced this yourself rest assured there is nothing wrong, and more importantly, the condition doesn’t last forever.

Untile next time, tingle on,

J-

Follow Julie Young on Twitter: @JulieYoung14

Follow Julie Young on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorjulieyoung

Join INDY ASMR: https://www.facebook.com/IndyASMR

Read this blog post at: www.thewaterwhispers.com

Read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to ASMR: http://www.amazon.com/Idiots-Guides-ASMR-Julie-Young/dp/1615648186/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432674500&sr=8-1&keywords=Idiots+guides%3A+ASMR

 

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Tingle Tuesday: Fission and ASMR

Fission   This is another debate that comes up frequently on ASMR message boards and in social media. Is it the same thing as goose bumps or the feeling you get when you hear a really great song on the radio? I have a feeling I am going to tick a lot of people off with my assessment on this subject, but I’m just going to go for it: it’s all in the same family of feelings.

It distresses me that as a community, members frequently bash one another because of their goose bumps or fission feelings that “aren’t” technically the ASMR feelings we have accepted as our own criteria. If I may step on a soapbox for a minute, these feelings are very valid and can help folks discover their true ASMR triggers. Telling someone “no, it’s not the same thing” essentially shuts them off from that discovery and is a disservice to the continued understanding of this area of the mind.

We tend to accept on premise that ASMR probably has something to do with a release of dopamine and we know that the chills experienced during music illicit the same brain response. We also know that ASMR often feels like goose bumps without the raised skin effect so are we not shooting ourselves in the foot by alienating other conditions rather than learning from them?

When I began writing the ASMR book, I spent a lot of time reading about things that are seemingly unconnected to ASMR. For example: “Why do people watch things?” “Why are certain sounds more pleasant than others?” These queries did not always lead me to relaxation sites but often led me to education sites such as “How do people take in information? Sight, sound and touch” and audiology sites that explained head space, the inner workings of binaural sound and biological concepts that I should have memorized way back when.

Because we still know so little about ASMR, it is vital that we examine as much information as we can from a variety of fields of study without prejudice. Finding similarities as well as differences will lead us to better information that will help researchers develop more ways in which to study the phenomenon and give it widespread credence throughout the entire scientific community.

Until next time, Tingle On,

J-

Follow Julie Young on Twitter: @JulieYoung14

Follow Julie Young on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorjulieyoung

Join INDY ASMR: https://www.facebook.com/IndyASMR

Read this blog post at: www.thewaterwhispers.com

Read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to ASMR: http://www.amazon.com/Idiots-Guides-ASMR-Julie-Young/dp/1615648186/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432674500&sr=8-1&keywords=Idiots+guides%3A+ASMR

 

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Tingle Tuesday: Could there be an ASMR therapy center?

ASMR Angel    This is a question I see asked online frequently and one that is often eluded to in ASMR role play videos: Could there ever come a day when there might be a real life ASMR center where people could go and get their tingles on through the services of an ASMRtist? (Note: I can only answer as someone who lives in the United States. I can’t vouch for the possibility in other countries.)

Technically speaking, we already do when we go to a spa or a salon and have our tingles triggered by a professional aesthetician, but if we are talking about a traditional branded storefront with a menu of ASMR services and a handful of ASMRtists ready to perform them…well, I think that is still a long way off. Don’t get me wrong. There are ASMRtists who offer personal consultations through Skype and I think in time, there may be more ASMRtists who will offer live ASMR demonstrations and book one-on-one appointments through a network of referrals in order to meet a demand for this kind of service, but an actual center? That could take a while. (In the meantime, we may have to contend ourselves with some online storefronts such as ASMR Angel’s “Penny’s Posh Picnics.”)

The primary reason I say this is because there is no way to regulate it and it will not take long for someone to shut it down, someone to get sued and a myriad of other problems to arise. I’m not trying to be a “Debbie Downer” about this, in fact…I think it’s a great idea, but from a practical standpoint, there are problems with the business model.

Years ago I was watching a segment on ABC’s 20/20 in which reporters were looking into “hair braiding” salons, which were being shut down left and right because the stylists were not licensed cosmetologists. Now these people were not cutting, straightening, or dying anyone’s hair. They were only braiding it and yet some entity wanted to shut them down or for the individuals to invest several thousands of dollars to get a license. While this rule varies from state to state and I am speaking in generalities here, I can only imagine what people in power could do to an ASMR center.

ASMR not only continues to be widely misunderstood by some, but as of this writing it has not been accepted by the clinical community as an official “alternative therapy.” With no research on it and the various practices used in the ASMR video segments, can you imagine anyone in power allowing this to go on as a legitimate business? Many ASMRtists fake real medical exams ands other services that require very real licenses in the real world. Sure, we could argue that people could sign a waiver and must acknowledge that the ASMRtist is not a medical doctor, but I just see too many people having BIG problems with this.

Of course there are those make up people at the mall who seem to be able to get away with helping clients apply products without a license and no one seems to mind them, but somehow I suspect that they would look at an ASMR center differently and have issues with it until someone creates some kind of training and certification program that can be offered, standardized and regulated. There may still be some raised eyebrows, but it would be a start toward creating the mainstream ASMR storefront in time.

Until Next Time, Tingle On!

J-

Follow Julie Young on Twitter: @JulieYoung14

Follow Julie Young on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorjulieyoung

Join INDY ASMR: https://www.facebook.com/IndyASMR

Read this blog post at: www.thewaterwhispers.com

Read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to ASMR: http://www.amazon.com/Idiots-Guides-ASMR-Julie-Young/dp/1615648186/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432674500&sr=8-1&keywords=Idiots+guides%3A+ASMR

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TingleTuesday: Studying the Sensation

Studying      In the movie The Sound of Music, the nuns of the abbey contemplate what to do with a problematic postulate in the song, “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” The lyrics compare taming the young woman to a variety of impossible tasks such as trying to catch a cloud and pinning it down, or attempting to keep a wave upon the sand,. However, those same words could easily be used to describe what it was like to try and write about the ASMR phenomenon.

ASMR is a feeling. It is real, but intangible. It affects a diverse group of people all over the world through a wide variety of audio, visual and tactile triggers in real time and through suggestion. It has been described as brain tingles, a brain buzz, a braingasm (but we’ll hold off on that term for another post), sparks, shocks, etc.…but somehow, it has escaped scientific inquiry until recently and at the present time, any research which has been done has not been published.

The reason for this may confuse a lot of ASMR experiencers who wonder what is taking so long, so let me explain. When someone decides to conduct a scientific study, they must first seek permission from an academic board of some kind. The researcher outlines the problem that they have identified, shows past studies into the same field (or comparative fields) and shows the board the processes they plan to follow in their own work. The board may or may not ask for clarification on the proposal, but once their permission is obtained, the researcher can begin to call out participants for the actual study itself.

After the participants give their consent to be part of the study, the actual experiment commences. This can be a long process depending on the scope of the research – sometimes even years. Afterwards, the results are charted, the data is analyzed and the entire project from conception to conclusion is compiled into a large document that few people outside of the research community can understand. (This is why many published studies are “bottom-lined” in press releases.)

Once the full paper is written, the researcher submits it to an academic journal in hopes that it will be peer-reviewed and published. This is not as easy as it looks. When the editor of the journal receives a paper for possible publication, it is forwarded to experts in the field for examination. These experts are charged with evaluating the quality of the submitted manuscript, requesting revisions or outright rejecting it if they conclude that the findings are flawed or that the science is invalid.

As you may imagine, there are few people who qualify as experts in the field of ASMR and even less who have conducted traditional research into the subject. Naturally this means that any paper would be subjected to those in the fields that the study pertained to (e.g. neurology) and as a general rule, traditional medicine has always had difficulty accepting alternative techniques (though they are getting better) which is why it may be a while before we actually start to see some authoritative work published in the field of ASMR.

With little to go on outside of conjecture and accepted beliefs, no access to specialized equipment and a two-month deadline to write a 275-page book about it, I had no choice but to break ASMR down little by little in order to try and determine what it is, where it comes from, how it works, why we need it and whether or not the scientific community really does know about it.

No doubt, I was grasping at straws, but hey, it’s a whole lot easier than trying to hold a moonbeam in your hand!

Follow Julie Young on Twitter: @JulieYoung14

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Join INDY ASMR: https://www.facebook.com/IndyASMR

Read this blog post at: www.thewaterwhispers.com

Read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to ASMR: http://www.amazon.com/Idiots-Guides-ASMR-Julie-Young/dp/1615648186/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432674500&sr=8-1&keywords=Idiots+guides%3A+ASMR

 

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Tingle Tuesday: “What’s an ASMR?”

asmr    The first time I saw the term, I had no clue what it meant, how to pronounce it or what to make of it. After months of watching my happy little tingle videos, seemingly overnight their titles all contained a four letter…something: ASMR. Now, I didn’t know what an ASMR was (read: azzmer) but I avoided the term like the plague. At first I wasn’t sure if the term was used to distinguish the type of video I had been watching with something completely different (like something more sexual in nature.) However when it became so prevalent, I eventually looked it up.

It was then that I learned that Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) was a semi-scientific term to describe a perceptual phenomenon characterized by a tingly feeling that begins in the head or scalp and flows through the body causing it to relax. It was a term that was more or less made up in 2010 by healthcare IT worker Jenn Allen and promptly dismissed by the clinical community as nothing more than “pseudo science with a medical sounding name.”

While it was nice to have an “official” name connected with the sensation, I have to admit, I was a little confused by the lack of knowledge surrounding it. It wasn’t new. I knew that much having experienced it since I was seven, but if it wasn’t new then where was the research to back it up? If it was a type of biofeedback response that was elicited in medical practices as way to help people relax and cope with pain, why was the scientific community so keen to deny it or act like it wasn’t real?

As someone who had worked in the medical field for nearly a decade and continues to write about a variety of medical subjects, this made no sense to me. I couldn’t help wondering if the phenomenon that YouTubers were calling ASMR had another name at some point, one that was recognized by science but no one knew what it was. Was there some fundamental piece of the description missing that would cause some researcher somewhere to say, “Oh, you mean…” and fill in the blank with a well-thought out but obscure Latin term that no one had ever heard of before or was the real problem the fact that people were turning to YouTube to get a good night’s sleep?

I suspected it might be the latter and thus began my quest for answers. In September of 2013, I wrote my first article on ASMR, it was a local piece that simply introduced the phenomenon to those who may not have heard of it before. I began following the social media feeds of several ASMRtists and learned that several of my friends were already familiar with the sensation as well giving us permission to discuss it in the way that only “tingle heads” can.

In the months that followed it became obvious that the ASMR phenomenon was moving more into the mainstream, but I was still irritated by the fact that few reports I saw went beyond “tingle tales” or the connection between ASMR and Bob Ross. I watched well-regarded physicians offer possible explanations for the sensation with a shrug as if they really had no clue as to what was going on and commentators who acted like the whole thing was a big joke. Oh my Lord, people this can’t be that hard, I thought to myself. Someone is going to have to track this thing in and figure out what is going on.

Little did I know that I would become the “someone” who would do it.

Until next time, tingle on,

J-

Follow Julie Young on Twitter: @JulieYoung14

Follow Julie Young on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorjulieyoung

Join INDY ASMR: https://www.facebook.com/IndyASMR

Read this blog post at: www.thewaterwhispers.com

Read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to ASMR: http://www.amazon.com/Idiots-Guides-ASMR-Julie-Young/dp/1615648186/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432674500&sr=8-1&keywords=Idiots+guides%3A+ASMR

 

 

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Tingle Tuesday: A Biofeedback tape leads to a discovery

outdoors-woman-headphones    Connie was a colleague at hospital who became a dear friend and mentor of mine. In fact, if I had a list of women who have had a profound impact on my life, her name would definitely appear somewhere in the Top Five. She had a way of opening my eyes to new concepts and in an indirect way she was directly responsible for my discovering ASMR. (In fact, if you look closely, I dedicated my portion of the ASMR book to Connie!)

One spring, I contracted an irritating cold that hung on longer than necessary and as a result turned my days and nights around. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I were still on night shift, but I was working in the mornings and was dragging throughout the day only to find myself wide awake at night. Frustrated, I said to Connie, “How am I ever going to get my body’s schedule straight?”

She thought for a moment and then said, “Have you ever heard of biofeedback?”

I shook my head.

She went onto explain that that after injuring her back, she too had a lot of trouble getting to sleep. In order to help her out, her doctor made her a tape of biofeedback suggestions to help her relax. She promised to bring me a copy of the tape the next day in hopes that it might help.

From the way she described it, it sounded a lot like the guided visualizations my professor had used on my self-hypnosis class and at that point I was willing to try anything so I agreed. The following day, she brought me the tape and made me promise not to listen to it while driving. “I’m serious,” she cautioned. “You could wind up in an accident.”

I thought she was being a little overly cautious, but agreed to wait to listen to it until I was at home. That night, after getting the kids to sleep, I lay down, slid the cassette into my Walkman and put the headphones over my ears. There was that hum of white noise that occurs when someone records himself outside of a professional studio and then I heard the doctor’s voice, which caused my brain exploded in those familiar tingles I hadn’t felt in quite a while.

“Is it possible for you to become a little more relaxed?” He asked.

There was nothing special about his tone. It was just…calm and over the next 10-15 minutes, he led me through a variety of deep relaxation exercises as well as some guided imagery to help ease my mind and urge me into a peaceful slumber. Some of the suggestions were obvious such as imagining a babbling brook or picturing the branches of a tree spreading out above me, but others were a little…well, weird and caused me to throw all of my energy into places I’d never put it before.

“Can you feel the corners of your mouth touching?” He intoned. “Can you imagine the space between your eyes?”

Although I knew it wouldn’t make sense to a lot of people, I was hooked. When I built up a resistance to the doctor’s voice, I sought out guided meditation tapes at the local library hoping to find that perfect blend of vocal timbre and suggestion. It wasn’t always easy. I didn’t care for a lot of the background music included in some of the tapes and sometimes it all seemed a little “rehearsed.” The thing that seemed to set apart that original tape was the fact that I could actually hear how amateurish it was. I could hear the doctor readjust himself in his seat or change the microphone from one hand to the other and oddly enough…it added to the experience.

It felt amazing to know that the funny feeling in my head was some kind of biofeedback response and that a doctor had “discovered” a way to tap into it. Little did I know that I had inadvertently hit the top of a very big iceberg, one that when I looked below the surface would change my life forever.

Until next time, tingle on!

J-

Follow Julie Young on Twitter: @Julieyoung14

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Read this blog post at: http://www.thewaterwhispers.com

Read The Idiot’s Guide to ASMR at http://www.amazon.com: 

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Tingle Tuesday: Apparently, I make people fall asleep

Jo March       Mrs. Mooring was a little old lady who lived a few doors down from me in North Carolina. She didn’t have a car and couldn’t get out much so she was always ready for a visit and happy to have company drop by. She also never wanted anyone to leave. No matter if you had been there five minutes or two hours, she always said the same thing, “Come back when you can stay longer.”

During one of our daily gabfests, I regaled Mrs. Mooring with one of my long-winded tales and noticed that she appeared to be fighting off sleep. The more I talked, the heavier her eyes became and before long, she even started to snore a little. I felt like Jo March reading to her aunt in Little Women. Well, you can imagine how awkward I felt. If I stopped talking or tried to slip out unnoticed, her eyes would pop open. She would be fully awake and ready to continue chatting. However, if I continued my end of the conversation, I simply looked like an idiot.

At the time, I honestly threw the whole thing up to her age and assumed it was not unlike reading a child a bedtime story. She was elderly, lived alone and perhaps she found safety and comfort in the white noise of my voice. I also wondered if her hearing was bad or if my words ran together in her ears. But I didn’t think I was actually triggering her.

That thought didn’t occur to me until several years later when I was working third shift at a hospital. The midnight to 8 a.m. shift is a bear and there were definitely times when it was all I could so to stay awake. I listened to a lot of audio books, listened to the radio, got up and walked around and of course chatted with a co-worker about anything and nothing.

Every so often though, I would notice that like Mrs. Mooring, my co-worker’s eyes would start to droop as if I was putting her to sleep. Now, I will be honest, this time I was worried. Were my stories that boring? I would try to avoid conversation out of fear that I was dull, but I noticed that she would ask a lot of questions as though she was trying to keep me talking, but then all of a sudden, zzzzzzz…

Age wasn’t a factor this time, but the time of day was so I presumed that it was the lateness of the hour rather than the sound of my voice causing her to go to sleep. I think it is difficult for people to accept the fact that their voices have this affect on people, especially because our voices sound so different inside our own heads. However, I couldn’t help noticing the similarities and the wheels in my brain began to turn. Did my voice have an affect on them the same way that my friend’s did on me? Were they experiencing the same brain buzz I had?

I didn’t know and quite frankly, there is no good way to walk up to someone and say, “Hi, do I put you to sleep?” or “Does my voice sound good to you?” It would sound positively ridiculous and having experienced the same thing myself, I knew that there was no way my co-worker would ever tell me. Heck, it was entirely possible that she didn’t even know exactly what was causing it herself!

I had taken a self-hypnosis for stress management and sleep course in college so I knew that the professor could lull me into a sleep with her guided visualizations, but she was trying to relax me. There were therapeutic principles involved. I was just talking so this made no sense. Were these people just tired to begin with? Was it me or was it them? Every once in a while I would revisit these episodes in my head wondering if there was any way to harness this feeling or if I would ever find out what it was?

Until next time, tingle on!

J-

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Read this blog at http://www.thewaterwhispers.com

Read The complete Idiot’s Guide to ASMR at http://www.amazon.com : 

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Tingle Tuesday: Meet Jelly Bean Green ASMR!

Hey Everyone!

Jelly Bean    I came across this amazing ASMRtist whose commune role plays (though unconventional) really work for me. I reached out and asked her to tell us a little about her work and ASMR experience. I hope you will find her as delightful as I do!

1. Do you go by Jelly Bean Green or do you go by another name as well? I go by Jellybean or JB.

2. According to your “Draw My Life Video” you were born in the Northeast but eventually moved to the southern portion of the country, is that where the “y’all” comes from or is that merely a catchphrase you wanted to use for ASMR purposes? It took about a year of living down south before I started saying “y’all” non-ironically. I remember it just slipped out in conversation one day and it felt completely natural. As a northerner, I had used “you guys” my whole life, but now I alternate back and forth. When I started my channel, I knew from the beginning that I wanted a signature greeting. “Hey y’all,” seemed sweet, simple, gender neutral, and wasn’t being used by anyone else that I was watching at the time.

3. You mention that you have experienced ASMR (or whatever you called it) all your life. How old were you for the first experience you remember? What was that initial trigger? My earliest memories of ASMR involved my older sister, who also experiences ASMR. When we were very young, she and I used to pretend to give each other medical exams. I was sick or injured often as a child, so medical exam personal attention has always been a huge trigger for me. As one viewer, Kevin T., pointed out to me, the sterile environment of a medical setting creates a sort of sensory deprivation situation that can really magnify ASMR triggers.

4. How did you describe ASMR back then? Like a lot of people, I totally took ASMR for granted—it seemed such a natural and fundamental aspect of my life experience that it didn’t occur to me to examine it or evaluate it at the time. It was just a feeling I felt, no more unusual than hunger or anticipation. Looking back, though, the two most significant responses that ASMR induced in me were sensations of feeling safe and special, like I was being actively and deeply valued.

5. In the same video, you talk about having serious struggles with school. Were you ever diagnosed with any LDs? If yes, would you care to elaborate on them? I have no learning disabilities that I’m aware of. As a young student, my only major academic challenge was a lousy attitude when it came to learning subjects that I wasn’t interested in. My struggles in school were almost entirely to do with social anxiety, and I still struggle with that today. I distinctly remember sitting in class, day after day, and being overwhelmed by this pervasive sense of wrong-ness, like I just didn’t belong there, and I felt like it must be obvious to everyone. Social anxiety, for me, translates to a very palpable sense of physical awkwardness and displacement. In groups of people, I tend to feel like a too-small shoe that’s been forced onto the wrong foot, or a corner piece that’s been jammed into the middle of the puzzle.

6. Do you know if your son experiences ASMR? I’m not certain, but my guess is that he does not. While my son (he’s three) enjoys a good cuddle from time to time, I’ve never seen him be “blissed out” by any of the typical ASMR stimuli. He gets irritated if I spend too much time washing his hair, and it always makes me laugh, because I think to myself that there are at least a few thousand people out there who would love to let me wash their hair and he’s just barely tolerating it.

7. What caused you to make the jump from merely being an ASMR viewer to being an ASMRtist? I was going through a very challenging and transformative time in my life, and I was eager to explore creative outlets that might reconnect me to parts of myself that I’d been out of touch with for a long time. As a longtime ASMR video viewer, I had considered the possibility of becoming a content creator almost from the beginning, but I had always rejected the idea because of a long list of fears and anxieties that popped up when I thought about it (What if I’m not good at it? What if no one likes my work?). Ultimately, though, when I looked at my reasons for not doing it, I realized that I didn’t feel good about reasons like that governing my life choices.

8. What was it like to make that first video? Were you nervous? Who are some of your ASMR mentors? I was definitely nervous. I was a newly single mom going through an extraordinarily difficult financial period, and I had decided to invest a significant amount of money (for me) on a $100 microphone. I knew that investment would be worth every penny if my new channel was successful, but spending that money would be a huge sore spot on my conscience if the channel tanked. I was quite literally gambling on myself, and it was both very exciting and frightening.

As for mentors, I owe a huge debt to Heather Feather, Lauren Ostrowski Fenton, and Emma from Whispers Red. All three women responded very thoughtfully to questions I sent them before launching my channel, and all three dropped in with messages of support when my first videos were being published. I also have a very special place in my heart for a friend and viewer named Melanie. In the two years I had been watching ASMR videos, I kept seeing Melanie’s feedback pop up in the comment sections of my very favorite content creators, so her presence became sort of a barometer for me—if Melanie was there, I knew I’d probably love the video. I remember being so thrilled when Melanie commented on one of my videos for the first time; it was a real marker of success for me, and it told me that I was achieving the aesthetic that I was aiming for.

9. What are your primary ASMR triggers today? My biggest video triggers are face touching, lights, and all things personal attention. My biggest “real life” trigger is eye exams.

10. Are you still pursuing a nurse’s degree? I am pursuing a nurse’s degree, though I’m currently on a bit of a break. I recently completed all my prerequisite courses and I’m preparing for the exam that will determine my position on the waitlist for the program I’m applying to. All the programs in my area are extremely competitive, so I’ve got a fairly long and challenging (and very exciting!) road ahead of me.

11. Do you apply ASMR techniques in your “bedside manner” with patients? I’m not working directly with patients yet, but I am very curious to see if any of the ASMR stuff translates. I’m definitely interested in the potential for the practical application of ASMR in therapeutic settings, and I’m excited to see where we are with exploring things like that in a few years when I’m entering the medical field as a professional.

12. How has your theater experience helped your ASMR career? In almost every way possible. Acting training has obvious benefits, and my writing and directing experience has been a big help in creating scenarios that feel structured and logical. I also have a background in improv, and that’s been really useful in helping me maintain a natural flow on camera despite most of my videos being just broadly outlined before I shoot them. There are a lot more benefits to my theater background that have less to do with education and more to do with simple experience. Off camera, years of rejection and harsh feedback gave me some preparation to deal rationally with some of the more unkind things that people say about my videos in public forums. Similarly, years of ego-stroking from friends and contemporaries in the theater world have helped me to keep a reasonably level head about all the positive comments I get on my videos.

I feel very lucky in that I’m definitely in a minority—a relatively small percentage of people with degrees in acting (I have a B.A. in Performance) can say that they are actively using their degree to earn any part of their income. I do feel proud that I found an innovative, non-traditional and satisfying way to make that a reality for myself.

13. What advice would you give a new ASMRtist? Develop a clear idea of why you want to make videos and remind yourself regularly. There are a seemingly endless number of ways to get overwhelmed, distracted, or lost in the woods, and a reminder of why you started could just be the light you need to get your bearings.

14. Can you share with us some three things most people may not know about you?

a.) what is your all time favorite book?

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

b.) Favorite band?

My tastes have evolved a lot over the years, but I think the two artists who will never stop being magical for me are Tori Amos and Ani Difranco.

c.) Favorite comfort food?

Creamsicles.

15. Anything new on your channel my readers should look for that you would like to share? I have a pretty long batting list of both traditional and unexpected videos planned. I’m also collaborating with another channel, Classy Dog Films, on an upcoming role play, so viewers can expect some very cool VFX with that one.

16. Do you really spend time thinking about the character in order to develop it properly?  I remember reading some advice on writing a while back, where the author said that writers shouldn’t get too bogged down in describing their characters—much better to choose a few unique, signature details (a bulbous nose; wide set eyes; mouth breathing; a hobbling gait; etc.) and let the reader’s imagination fill in the rest. Along the same lines, Scott McCloud, in Understanding Comics, wonderfully illustrates the ways in which characters become more relatable or universal the more simply they’re drawn.

When creating a character for a video, I usually apply those same concepts and just adopt a few signature quirks or mannerisms (like the Commune woman’s “right on”), then let the viewer fill in the rest.

17. You and I are very similar in the fact that Ilse was your first ASMRtist. What is it about her that appeals to you so much? what other ASMRtists do you like to watch/listen to? We were very lucky; she’s an awesome first ASMRtist to be exposed to! She has such a natural, sincere way about her, and that’s so comforting. When I first started watching ASMR videos, I was very self-conscious about this “weird” new thing that I was getting so much enjoyment out of, so the gentle sincerity of certain artists like Ilse and Maria was especially assuring. Interestingly, that same self-consciousness made me totally intolerant to humor in ASMR videos at first. Any little jokes (like Heather Feather’s wonderful “Easter eggs”) made me self aware in a way that felt very embarrassing until I became more comfortable with ASMR. Now I can barely remember what it was like to be embarrassed by my love of ASMR and I am a huge fan of innovation and humor in ASMR videos.

My YouTube subscription list is about forty artists deep right now, so I’ll just share a few of the content creators I’ve been listening to most this past week: Kiki of Hermetic Kitten, Dmitri of MassageASMR, Laura Lemurex, and Olivia Kissper.

18. Anything else you would like to add? I’d like to give a mention to one of my very favorite non-profits: The American Widow Foundation (http://americanwidowproject.org). And, on a separate note, I’d also like to remind everyone that buying used clothes is a great way to save money, limit waste, and help minimize the amount of money that funds sweatshop industries.

If anyone would like to visit my YouTube channel, they may do so at https://www.youtube.com/user/JellybeanGreenASMR.

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Tingle Tuesday: Let’s Kill Them With Kindness

Springbok     I am, what I consider to be, a passive consumer of ASMR content. I do not really subscribe to any particular channel. I do not comment on videos or respond to posted comments. I try a bunch of different artists (though naturally I have some core favorites like everyone does.) I appreciate their efforts and have been known to drop a private note thanking them for their work or complimenting them on a particular video. However I generally refrain from making requests or criticizing their efforts. My mother always said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” and it’s a pretty good rule of thumb. No one enjoys hearing something negative, creepy or rude especially when they have gone to all the trouble to provide something for FREE to help us relax and get some sleep, so who are we to be jerks in return?

While I hope I am not in the minority, it is disheartening to me that yet another ASMRtist has made the decision to leave the YouTube community due to the amount of haters and trolls who have plagued her channel and essentially bullied her from the career/hobby she loved. While Springbok was not among my “go to” ASMRtists, I certainly screened her work and felt she had a lot of talent to offer the community. She struck me as earnest, gentle and kind so I am appalled by some of the things she addressed in her Farewell video and feel compelled to stand up for good citizenship within the ASMR community.

Once upon a time, my youngest son said “Unless you are looking for a dissenting opinion, do not post anything to social media.” He was about 13 at the time and I kind of laughed at his assessment, but in the days, weeks and months that followed, I couldn’t help noticing that he was right. I could say “I think Robert Plant is the greatest singer ever” and people would come out of the woodwork to tell me I was wrong and that Freddie Mercury, Elvis, Roger Daltry, etc. deserved the title. Did I ask? No. I was simply offering my thoughts. I’m not saying that their choices are not just as valid as mine, but I did not open the subject up for debate. It was a comment, not a question. When people post their truth, it is not for us to scrutinize and criticize. It’s a take it or leave it proposition. If an ASMRtists content worked for you, great…chances are they want to hear about it, but do you REALLY think anyone who put their heart and soul into filming and editing for hours wants to hear “This sucks!” or “What’s wrong with you?” “I like your other stuff better!” “What’s with all the noise at 27:05?” This is not “constructive criticism” this is simply being nit picky that their FREE content isn’t to your standard and quite frankly, I think the ASMR community is better than this.

Obviously, we can’t prevent perverts or creepers, trolls or haters from walking the planet, but we can control our reaction to them. We all know that you can catch more flies with honey rather than vinegar, so let’s kill them with kindness. Do not respond to hate with hate. Rather respond with love. When someone says “you’re stupid, vacant or a loser,” either say nothing at all or tell them to have a nice day. If you engage in their game, you are only pouring fuel on their fire and giving them more material to work with.

ASMRtists are by nature, sensitive people. If you have watched many of their “Draw My Life” videos, read their blogs or listened long enough, you know that many of them have endured tragic circumstances and through ASMR, they are trying to give back to those who gave them so much. Yes, they make the decision to become public people, but they do not sign up to be ridiculed. Some of these people are painfully shy and have found YouTube to be their little window into the outside world and to have a social connection with others. It is a shame that people feel compelled to say things that are “fundamentally flawed and rhetorically dangerous” and quite frankly it says more about you than the one donating their time, talent and effort to trying to help others.

Are there ASMRtists who have nefarious pasts? Probably…but I ask you, what  is the point in focusing on that? Should they be a bit more anonymous? Maybe…but that’s not my call and the decision to show one’s face should NOT mean that people are subjected to cruelty. Honestly, it never occurred to me (outside of research for the book) to surf the web for information about these people or to exploit it if I did find out something. It’s not my business! I care about them in the context of what they have to share with me within the ASMR community. No more, no less. If we have become email correspondents, then that is wonderful…but I still hesitate to presume on our electronic friendship. In fact, I can honestly say that outside of an agreed upon interview, I have only asked ONE ASMRtist ONE nagging question, but I preceded it with “You don’t have to give me a full answer, just tell me if I am on the right track.” This individual complimented me on my attention to detail and merely said I would have made a good detective. It was a non-answer, but it FELT like enough and after that, it never crossed my mind again.

My point is people…if the ASMR audience does not start acting like the community we know it to be, we are going to lose the upper hand on this. As ASMR becomes more mainstream, as it is talked about in the media, as books are written, it will attract the dweebs, geeks and weirdos of the world and more ASMRTists will feel scared, threatened and leave altogether. I don’t want to see that happen and I doubt you do either.

Let us stand strong to protect one another, to not get so wrapped up in an online media forum that we lose perspective that these are HUMAN BEINGS we are dealing with. If you are one of the more vocal YouTube viewers, don’t play into the hate. Have courage and be kind and let’s protect our ASMRtists…they are not a dime a dozen.

Tingle On,

J-

 

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