YouTube – it’s a weird, wonderful, lawless land where anything (and we mean anything) can become a global sensation seemingly overnight. Don’t believe us? Check out these trends that took the world (and our kids) by storm, for reasons we couldn’t possibly begin to explain.
For the uninitiated, ASMR – autonomous sensory meridian response – is a sensation best characterised by a ‘tingling’ feeling typically caused by auditory or visual triggers. ASMR has also been referred to as a ‘brain massage’, a ‘head tingle’ and even a ‘brain orgasm’ – and if you still don’t know what we’re talking about, it’s possible that you’re one of the people who simply don’t experience. ASMR is still pretty under-researched. Surprisingly, YouTube has been the catalyst that’s thrust it into the limelight and made people realise that no, those tingles they feel when they hear a whisper or someone turning the pages of a book aren’t weird. YouTube is full of ‘ASMRtists’, as they’re colloquially known, with some more famous than others – Gibi ASMR, Gentle Whispering ASMR and ASMR Darling are some of the most subscribed to ASMRtists around.
When mukbang first made an appearance in mainstream western culture – it had been popular in Korea since 2010 – people were confused. Why were videos and live streams of people eating attracting such huge audiences? Despite the confusion, it didn’t take YouTube stars long to jump on board – if eating enormous Taco Bell orders or chowing down on a seafood buffet were all it took for people to watch their videos, you didn’t need to ask them twice. A number of mukbang (or ‘eating show’) variations have popped up since, with people filming everything from ‘mukbang Q+A’s to mukbangs with extremely spicy food. If mukbangs have taught us anything, it’s that food is a universal language and – much like with ASMR – the most random and mundane tasks can be the most intriguing to watch.
The 100 Layers Challenge
What do wax, t-shirts, nail polish, glue and lipstick all have in common? They’re all things that people have tried to wear 100 layers of. The origins of this challenge have been attributed to ‘Simply Nailogical’, who claimed to go where no nail polisher had gone before – a nail polish mountain. And, to be fair, her end result was a mountainous pile of polish that looked immune to the powers of nail polish remover. Since then, people have applied 100 false eyelashes, 100 layers of glue to their face (we really don’t recommend that one) and 100 layers of melted chocolate to their bodies. All we can say is, we’re pretty glad this challenge has lost momentum.
Pimple popping and bone-cracking
Depending on who you ask, they’re some of our most disgusting – or, most satisfying – bodily functions. So, it’s little surprise that pimple popping and, more recently, bone cracking videos have made it big on YouTube. In the weird world of pimple popping, one woman reigns supreme – and her success isn’t just marked by her 5.6 million subscribers. Dr Sandra Lee (aka Dr Pimple Popper) is without a doubt the most popular YouTuber of her kind, and her fame has translated into cold, hard cash – US$12million, to be exact. Bone cracking, on the other hand, is a little newer on the scene. Much like any other ASMR-style video, people love watching other people getting their bones cracked for the sound effects. Dr Joseph Cipriano DC and Chiropractic Cracks are two channels that will get you started.
The Pause Challenge
We’ve saved the most idiotic for last. The premise of the ‘Pause Challenge’ is simple – one person has the power to ‘pause’ another, who can only move when the ‘pauser’ presses ‘play’. Hilarity (and, sometimes, danger) ensues. It doesn’t sound too crazy, until someone gets paused in the middle of crossing the road, underwater, while driving or while they’re straightening their hair. More innocent adaptations of the game have forced players to pour a mountain of tomato sauce on their burgers, drink litres of milk and stop running suddenly on the treadmill (okay, so they’re pretty much always dangerous).
Who knows what we’re going to see pop up on YouTube next? All we do know is, we’re forever going to be asking our kids to explain it for us.