Although you may have never heard of ASMR before, it’s possible you have experienced it at some point in your life. ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, and it’s often explained as a tingling sensation caused by specific sounds and visuals. Some common ASMR triggers include page-turning, soft speaking, and tapping. One important thing to know about ASMR is triggers are not universal, meaning what may trigger ASMR for you may not do the same for someone else.
In recent years, ASMR has become an internet phenomenon. Search ‘ASMR’ on YouTube and you’ll find a lot of people, known as ASMRtists, creating ASMR videos. And it’s not just individual creators producing ASMR content, but also major businesses like IKEA and W Magazine. Since 2016, W Magazine has been inviting celebrities like Alessia Cara and Salma Hayek to experiment with ASMR on their YouTube channel. Yes, ASMR has come a long way from the small corner of YouTube it once occupied.
Even if you don’t experience ASMR, watching ASMR videos on YouTube is still really interesting. ASMRtists regularly find new creative ways to create ASMR videos. One such way is the integration of ASMR with storytelling.
Which is something that Seafoam Kitten’s ASMR does very well.
“I was a viewer myself for years,” says Nora, the Nova Scotian ASMRtist behind Seafoam Kitten’s ASMR. “I would watch it every night before bed and sometimes just during the day to chill out.”
“I’ve always been someone who is super shy and I was embarrassed by my own voice too, but by 2016 I had grown a lot more confident and I realized those ASMR people are just like me. I could totally try doing it too!”
The positive feedback Nora received on her first video made her feel “really excited” and motivated to continue making videos. Since uploading her first video in 2016, Nora’s YouTube channel has garnered almost 100 thousand subscribers and nearly 20 million total views.
“I’m so happy my viewership has grown and people actually like my content,” Nora says. “It feels so good to know that I’m helping people. It gives me something to look forward to every day and I’ve made so many amazing friends through this. I love it!”
For people unfamiliar with ASMR, Nora explains it as “a lovely feeling that induces relaxation.”
“ASMR videos can make you really sleepy and it also helps to reduce stress, anxiety, insomnia, or just get a nice tingly feeling!”
Nora’s character roleplay videos are popular with viewers. In these videos, Nora plays different characters — which have so far included an alien, a dragon, a vampire, and even the viewer’s phone — in a variety of situations. “A big inspiration for my characters is just character tropes in anime.”
“So basically take a monster/animal/object, turn it into a girl and hurray you have a weird and interesting (and sometimes funny) character,” Nora says. “I’m also really inspired by internet culture, memes, and the horror/mystery genre.”
To help bring her characters to life, Nora spends time “[messing] around with makeup and props.”
“I just do what I think will suit the character,” Nora says. “The great thing about YouTube is that you don’t have to buy or make a full costume because it’s mostly just your shoulders and face that are shown!”
Among the things Nora has learned since she began creating ASMR videos has been managing her taxes as a full-time, self-employed ASMRtist. “It’s more complicated than when you work for a company.”
“Also since I do character roleplays and stuff, I learned SO much about video editing and filming/audio equipment, it’s always so fun to try new things,” says Nora.
And while the work that goes on behind the scenes can be “time consuming,” Nora says none of that matters when “it’s something you love to do.”
“I guess one thing about making ASMR videos,” Nora says, “is that it’s a very personal and intimate experience so it’s really common to get viewers who become a little too involved.”
“I’ve…learned that there are a LOT of troubled people out there, and they choose to express themselves in different ways. Some just watch and let it make them feel better, some message me about all their troubles like a diary, some become too emotionally attached and say gross creepy things, some express anger and resentment.”
“Most are good people though, so if you can give them some patience and kindness it will likely be worth it in the end,” Nora says. “I learned patience, understanding and keeping a cool head is one of the most important things in the world, to me at least.”
When Nora is not creating ASMR videos, she can be found making digital art for fun and taking her dog to the park.
Seafoam Kitten’s ASMR | YouTube