A look into ASMR

You know the tingles you get in the back of your head when someone traces their fingernails up your arm, or plays with your hair? That’s called autonomous sensory meridian response or, in short, ASMR. I first discovered the phrase when I was on YouTube and began watching a video in which a guy perfectly recreates famous logos with a calligraphy pen. The “related videos” section of YouTube led me to stumble across an ASMR video that was centered on the sounds that sharpies make against paper. I took a closer look and finally discovered there’s a whole community of these ASMR videos on various platforms, such as YouTube and Reddit.

Since some of you reading this may have just learned about ASMR for the first time, let me give you a little preview of some of my favorite ASMR videos.

First, as mentioned before, the sharpie video:

“** Relaxing Sounds** Writing With Sharpies ASMR”[1]

“ASMR EAR to EAR whispers: CLEAR YOUR MIND! Relaxation meditation for sleep *binaural*”[2]

“ASMR Brushing Microphone (Whispering & Soft Spoken + Nail Tapping)”[3]

ASMR: The Main Idea

The purpose of this blog is not only to inform, but to demonstrate how easily they are made, and how easily they can be transformed into an actual career. Thus, my questions are as follows:

  1. What makes ASMR videos successful/unsuccessful?
  2. How easy is the production of ASMR videos?
  3. Is there a catch to using YouTube as a career, specifically concerning ASMR videos?



In the research I’ve done, I found a website called “ASMRUniversity” who is devoted to keeping people in the ASMR community up-to-date on the latest community news. It contains blog posts by the authors, podcasts by different ASMR creators, articles featuring ASMR research, and more.[4] It’s a great tool for ASMR as an online community. There was a specific article I found where Dr. Garro, of Keele University, talks about ASMR and its effects on the brain as far as scientists have studied it.[5] Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of scientific research done on ASMR just yet, because it’s just now starting to be recognized as an online community. The link to “ASMRUniversity” is here.


In my “New Media, Culture, and Society” course – what these blog posts are being written for – we discussed the idea of Henry Jenkin’s “participatory culture”. The term essentially means that consumers are all a part of a culture where you don’t just consume, but also produce and contribute new ideas to that culture every day.[6] ASMR is a huge part of this idea. Consumers who first discovered the internet as part of participatory culture used it to mix and remix things. This led to all kinds of new ideas. After so many years, websites like YouTube were created where you can literally put yourself on the map, along with your ideas. This “content-creating” generation has taken their personalities, and put them on YouTube in versions of vlogs, song covers, prank videos, “how-to” videos, and more. ASMR is just one of the millions of online communities with niche interests, where people who share those interests can collaborate with each other.


[1] The Starlight Whisperer, **Relaxing Sounds** Writing With Sharpies ASMR (YouTube, 2014)

[2] Olivia’s Kissper ASMR, ASMR EAR to EAR whispers: CLEAR YOUR MIND! Relaxation meditation for sleep *binaural* (YouTube, 2014)

[3] Amalzd, ASMR Brushing Microphone (Whispering & Soft Spoken + Nail Tapping) (YouTube, 2014)

[4] ASMRUniversity.com, Image

[5] Dr. Diego Garro, Neuropsychological and neurophysiological characterization of a phenomenon called Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) (ASMRUniversity, 2015)

[6] Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture (New York and London, 2006), 2

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