Okay, here I am, returned to this blog after eight months of inactivity and my second post this time around has a nonsense abbreviation for a title. What is ASMR, and why would it get me enthusiastic enough to return to my little noticed blog? I’ll save you the trouble of googling it. Wikipedia’s article on the subject tell us, “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a neologism for perceptual phenomenon characterized as a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation in the head, scalp, back or peripheral regions of the body in response to visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory or cognitive stimuli.”
Wow. After that, I had to look up neologism. A neologism is just a new expression. What’s more, I didn’t know any regions of the body were peripheral. I’m not going to look it up to find out which ones are.
Of the top three articles that Google brought up for me just now, knowyourme.com knocks some of the expensive words out of the definition. “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a term used to describe a sensory experience characterized by a pleasant tingling sensation in the head and scalp which can be triggered by sounds like whispering or brushing, and visual stimulus like painting or drawing. On YouTube, the phenomenon inspired the creation of ‘whisperer’ videos, in which people attempt to trigger the viewer’s ASMR by speaking in a soft voice and making various sounds with inanimate objects.”
Was that easier to understand? Then again, who cares how someone else describes it? I have a hunch that those descriptions were written by people who aren’t familiar with the ‘phenomenon’. If you’ve felt it, you might not know what it’s called because this is something that didn’t always have a name. For a lot of people it’s triggered by a haircut or a doctor visit. You might have felt it while listening to music. Has anyone ever whispered something in your ear, and you’ve felt that nice flow of sensation? Tingling really is a good way to describe it, but I’ve also heard it described as a buzzing or a shiver. It flows from within your own body even though it’s caused by sensations outside the body.
Does any of that sound familiar? If so, then you might want to watch some of the ASMR videos on YouTube. There’s more than a few, and they cater to all kinds of tastes. What triggers the shiver in some people will have no effect on others. ASMR tastes vary greatly from person to person. A lot of ASMR videos are just rambling whispers. Some are roleplays meant to seem like eye exams, haircuts and so on. Some of them are as simple as watching someone fold a paper airplane or arrange their sock drawer. There are weird ones that I can’t even understand; like someone dressed as a cactus while he peels different kinds of fruit. I don’t get it. To each his own though. I certainly won’t judge. After all, to someone who has no idea what I’ve described, any ASMR video will seem like a piece of strange performance art. I’ve read the comments from these people. “What am I watching?” Quite often that’s emphasized with an expletive.
Myself, I’ve been watching these videos for a long time. I know what I like and what I don’t, even if I don’t always know why. I even made reference to it in one of my books, The Martian, the Angel and the Robot. I’m not blogging all of a sudden because I just discovered this. I’m blogging about it because I’ve become a part of it. I’ve already put a few videos up on YouTube. Here’s my YouTube page with the videos I’ve contributed so far. ASMauthoR.