Emma Smith is a resident of London, England, but perhaps she is better known as the ASMR artist, WhispersRed.
Emma posted her first ASMR video on YouTube in July, 2013. It was 1 minute and 23 seconds long, and filmed on her iPad.
Now, about 2.5 years later, Emma has posted over 190 productions of increasing video and audio quality and has reached over 126,000 followers.
Whenever I see someone listing out their favorite ASMR artists online, her name is usually at the top of their lists. Emma is also often featured, quoted, or mentioned in articles, radio programs, and TV news stories and programs about ASMR.
In my interview with Emma she shares what drives her dedication to the ASMR community, how she has changed over the past 10 years, her tips for new ASMR artists, her challenges with creating her new website, her curiosities about the potential involvement of the vagus nerve in ASMR, and more.
Below are my questions in bold, her replies in italics, and links to her gorgeous new website, as well as, links to help you stay up to date with Emma and her activities.
You are very dedicated to your followers, the ASMR community, and even the concept of ASMR – what drives this dedication and passion for ASMR?
Emma, “ASMR is very special to me and always has been. I used to love the feeling as a child and experienced it very often. As I grew up it never left me, I wondered often what it was and why others didn’t seem to feel it. I have always been a very sensitive person and have often lived around others who aren’t so.
It led me to go through lots of challenging stages in my life, always trying to find my way. Learning that my feeling had a name and that there are others like me was a big deal. It helped me to connect many dots and realise a few truths about myself and be more accepting of them.
Then the videos made a massive difference, they helped me to sleep when I was struggling with PTSD and led me to become involved in a lovely community. I know how useful the feeling is, how important the videos are and how even a small amount of kindness can go such a long way. This is what drives me every day.”
If I were to have met you 10 years ago, how would that Emma be different from who you are today?
Emma, “Now that IS an interesting question! 10 years ago I was very much the same person but with much more to learn about myself and others. I have always been an old soul or as they say ‘an old head on young shoulders’ but the last 10 years experience has taught me so much.
I now have tonnes more self worth through better understanding of my character and along with that comes confidence. I now know that who I am is who I want to be and that it is ok.”
What feedback do you get from your followers about your special touch, personal flair, and/or technical details that make them enjoy your videos so much?
Emma, “What is wonderful about ASMR videos is that there are so many people making them. People from all over the world of all ages. It brings such great variety to the table. It means that there is something available for everyone and someone for everyone to feel a connection with.
I do receive positive feedback on my sound quality although I always feel this could be improved. I enjoy speaking and moving slowly in videos, it helps me to deliver my words and make room for the sounds. We all need space and silence to reconnect with ourselves after a busy, noisy day.
I feel that taking time to see the small details in life is a key to happiness and I hope to provide that in the videos. Above all I just try to give out as much love as I can and hopefully it shows.”
What feedback do you get from your followers about if and how your videos are helpful or useful to them?
Emma, “Mostly I am told that the videos I make are helpful for sleep. They are also useful for parents who need a little rest time with their children and for people just needing a distraction from a busy mind.
Our lives are so fast paced these days that sitting in silence can be too much. At least a slow video on in the background or whilst you wind down can be a stepping stone into that silence.”
What is 1 thing to-do and 1 thing not-to-do you would suggest to a new ASMR artist related to making videos?
Emma, “Actually I recently made a blog post to offer my advice to those starting in ASMR. We all have our own way that works but I felt compelled to note a few things from my experience. It’s a question I am asked many times.
1 thing to do? Slow down and be quiet.
1 thing not to do? Don’t keep looking at the display screen on your camera. I know this may sound a little strange but I see so many people constantly looking at themselves to the side or above the lense. It makes me feel as though they are making the video to themselves and not to the viewer.”
What is 1 thing to-do and 1 thing not-to-do you would suggest to a new ASMR artist related to marketing themselves?
Emma, “I’d say that marketing yourself isn’t the main priority, the content is. When I first started watching videos, marketing your content wasn’t even a thing. It became more prevalent as ASMR became more popular. I think it’s a great idea as it improves the professionalism of what we do and gives us more chance to be taken seriously.
I would say though that making good content is the key because it doesn’t matter how much promotion you do, if you haven’t put your heart and soul into the video it shows.
I love to have social media, it means I can interact with my friends who watch the videos but I have always felt funny about key-wording and thumbnails. I place key words in the titles and specially make thumbnails because I want to be professional and I feel like I would be doing the ASMR community an injustice if I went about my channel half-heartedly.
I don’t really have a 1-thing to do and 1-thing not, those are just my thoughts. These are interesting questions!”
You have just launched a new website, what inspired you to create it?
Emma, “I have! I’m so proud of it. It took me a long time to pluck up the courage to have one. Like I said above I have a silly problem with self promotion. I come from a pretty oppressive background that goes way back through the generations so it’s a struggle.
Those that declare themselves good at what they do are put down pretty much. The ‘who does she think she is?’ mentality! None of that bothers me too much anymore so I went ahead and built a website. Now I shout from the rooftops how great ASMR is!
First and foremost I wanted it to be a reference to explain briefly what ASMR actually is to people who haven’t heard about it. Then there is a blog where I can post about things that may be of interest to the community and those that follow the channel.”
I’ve seen your new website; it is gorgeous and wonderfully structured. Was the final product the vision you had in mind from the start?
Emma, “Thank you! That is very much appreciated. I like yours too! I worked with a very clever lady who builds websites for a living and she pointed me in the right direction to start with. She helped me come up with ideas for the logo and allowed me to follow my intuition with regards to design, fonts, layout etc..
The coding is all her, I wouldn’t know where to start on that front! It took almost a year to get finished, she was very patient with me. At first I had no clue and needed total guidance but by the end I knew exactly what I wanted and felt in control so it was a wonderful process.”
What are the main features of the website?
Emma, “Mainly there is the homepage which explains what ASMR is, then there is an about me page which tells a little about where I am from etc. The main aspect I’d say is the blog because that’s where I get to run free. It’s a great tool to explore topics further and update my friends. I hope to arrange more community events in the future and the blog will be a great tool for that.”
What challenges did you have the development and preparation of the content of the website?
Emma, “The ‘About Me’ page was one of the hardest things ever in my experience as an ASMR content creator. From what I can tell, most people who experience the ASMR feeling are pretty sensitive and many are introverted personality wise.
I believe I am an HSP but in the small percentage of the extroverted kind. It’s an energy for social interaction but afterwards exhaustion and the need to be introverted for a while. Pretty difficult in this world! Writing all about myself is difficult.
As an HSP, being observed feels uncomfortable and I always go back to the question ‘who on earth wants to know about me anyway?’ But I love to read about others experiences and situations and I really do want to connect better with those that value the channel. I really feel like they are my friends.
The other issue I had was the ‘What is ASMR’ video. The lady I worked with suggested very early on in the process that a ‘What is’ video on the homepage was a must. I agreed with her but then went into this long arduous process of writing a short documentary on ASMR. Totally over the top and unrealistic for me, I have no idea how to make a documentary! I wrote a script and arranged childcare so I could film it all in one go and work through day and night. I worked on it for two days solid and was so pleased with myself.
When it came to editing it was a total disaster! I came across like someone trying to be a presenter, so cheesy. It just didn’t work and was too staged. All of that work went in the bin. I thought I would never get it done and then one night about 2am after filming one of the videos I kept the camera on, sat in front of it and explained in about 20 mins what ASMR is. Just like that! It was edited down to just a few minutes with some footage over the top and that is what you see on there now. Simple always works the best somehow.”
What future features do you plan to add to the website?
Emma, “I have some community events I’d like to plan and these will be detailed on the website. Plus I intend to use the blog often. It’s a great place to go into more detail, where a Facebook post just isn’t enough.”
If you could create any experiment to discover or prove one thing about ASMR, what would it be?
Emma, “Currently I am studying to be a sound therapy practitioner. It’s something I feel may help me to learn a little more about how sounds have a healing effect on the body and mind. I know that the ASMR feeling itself and ASMR videos are a therapy. So I would like to know how other sounds based therapies compare in the approach and how they work. That’s my own little experiment within the realms of my expertise.
As far as Scientific experiments go I believe it’s going to be very difficult to actually get a physical picture of what goes on in the body when experiencing the feeling. So far we have had subjects sent through an MRI scan which would be very interesting to see. However to experience ASMR in such a huge, loud machine must be near impossible.
I’d like to see more researched based around the human energy field and ASMR. I’d also like to see how the brain wave frequency changes when experiencing the feeling. Recently I have been reading about the Vagus nerve and it’s role on the rest of the body, could that be an area to look at? In a video are we simply telling the Vagus nerve to put us into Parasympathetic mode through sounds and balancing the energy through the tingles?”
Given the opportunity, what would you say to a room full of researchers and clinicians whom are trying to decide if putting the time and funding into ASMR research is worth the investment?
Emma, “I think one of the great things about ASMR videos is that they are popular because the viewers find benefits in them. We make the videos and others tell us what they do for them and why.
So if I was to persuade someone to research ASMR I would show them the feedback I receive and let them make up their own mind. I would also ask who in the room experiences ASMR because to feel it is to know it and then ask why.”
Click HERE to explore Emma’s new website
Click HERE to enjoy Emma’s videos on YouTube
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