One peek into YouTube or Instagram or Facebook, and you can know how viral slime videos have become. Millions of vloggers have posted videos of them playing with slimes of varied colour and types. Some videos show recipes of making slime. Others show vloggers mixing sequins and beads and colour in the slime. The types of slimes that can be seen is maddening. And coupled with the videos are sounds of the action recorded from close distance.
All these seem to arouse a feeling of satisfaction among online viewers, with #satisfying trending all over social media. Somehow people find extreme calm and joy in watching and hearing someone press slime for hours on end. The most ironic part is, this squishing and mushing seem to have no real end product, and videos just end in the vlogger arranging the slime in a swirl after it has been treated as per their whims. Even then, slime has become a part of a huge hubbub. People are even selling slime they made online. Stores have started selling commercially produced slime. So why exactly are these videos so satisfying and so popular?
N.B: Read till the end for a nice satisfying hoard of surprise.
Also read Silly Facts to Brighten Up Your Day
“Oddly Satisfying”: The Rise of a New Genre
Before the rise of internet, this genre did not exist. Now it is one of the most popular banner under which videos are uploaded daily, all catering to the weird satisfaction drawn out of a similarly weird entity. The extreme amount of satisfaction that something so silly and mundane could create was previously unknown; it was only when the videos came into being that this side of human psychology came into view. It has rightly been hailed as oddly satisfying.
Well, the videos that come under the Oddly Satisfying genre aren’t restricted to slime. Resin art, cleaning pavements, icing cakes, factory productions, spray paint jobs and million other simple stuff seem to evoke satisfaction among the audience. And all of it seem to stem from a similar source and follow a similar course. However, the blow up was done by slime. The #OddlySatisfying did not become such a wildfire before the advent of slime.
There are almost 900k posts tagged under #oddlysatisfying on Instagram, and 13 million posts under #slime. And this includes a close cousin of slime, kinetic sand. It is a more solid version, and has the texture of sand. Like slime, it is also considered as one of the most oddly satisfying object. An entire spectrum of videos have arose- cutting, mixing, pouring, colouring, and so on. And all these provide instant, although short living, satisfaction.
In an interview, head of trends and culture at YouTube and author of Videocracy, Kevin Allocca said, the rise of the hashtag has to do with taxonomy, as far as he can guess. According to him, it is not necessarily something tied to the moment, now we can just categorize such videos as satisfying. Previously too the audience perhaps had the same effect on watching these, but did not have a term for it. Now they do.
Giving a solid reason behind why we like something can be difficult. But the clues can be found right on the internet itself. Think of the previous videos under the “satisfying” banner. Now videos are aimed simply towards satisfaction, and no other end result. Slime videos are bright, with vibrant colours and glitter. But the aim is clear: display visually congruous entities which have no utility in real life, but only satisfying a viewer. This is a deliberate recreation. And a little insight will tell you that indeed you have no real use of slime in real life. Yet, you sit for hours watching videos of slime and feel satisfied.
The key is in the creativity. What can you do with the slime? Push your boundaries. If one vlogger has posted themselves squishing a balloon filled with slime, you come up with a video of mixing different coloured slimes together. Unicorn slime! The point is to cater to the visual perception of the audience, at least initially.
ASMR: Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response
Beautifully manicured long nails tapping on the hard surface of the slime; squishing a bulk of slime; smashing small packages of slime to reveal the colour inside- all these add to the auditory experience of slime videos. This is applicable even to many other oddly satisfying videos, but for slime it becomes more important. All the sounds are magnified, so even simply churning the slime makes sound audible and satisfying. It seems to heighten the experience of slime.
The beads falling, being mixed into the slime: all of it seem to satisfy the audience extremely.
Here is another post that caters more to the auditory sense than visual!
As far as general ASMR videos are concerned, people like tapping, combing, whispering the most. Slime videos try out stuff even further from expectations. A lot of slimes have solid top that is broken, so the vlogger starts with tapping on the surface. Some even comb the slime.
But, despite such popularity of ASMR, not much scientific research has been done on the phenomenon. In 2015, the first scientific research paper was published on ASMR. Respondents had filled out questionnaires on Reddit and Facebook on their ASMR habits and what they liked to watch and why. As per most people, these videos helped them relax, de-stress, and help in sleep.
According to W. Christopher Winter, M.D., of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine, and author of the upcoming book, The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It, the effect created by ASMR is similar to white noise. Viewers find themselves shifting into a zen-like state. Sometimes these videos have an emotional relation to the viewer, reminding them of a fond memory or something from the childhood. This also explains the fondness for slime. People associate playing with slime along with the ASMR audio with childhood experience. The simplicity of childhood is often reflected in the simplicity of the slime videos.
Some also believe that the sense of touch has an important role to play. People like the sensation created by touching slime. But many do not have access to this. So they watch someone else touch the slime. Since the brain often sees and activity and acts like the person themselves are performing it, watching someone else play with slime makes the viewer feel good, not just visually but also by touch.
The effect and desires of ASMR vary from person to person, but the slime video makers seem to have cracked the code for what most people will like. Once again, creativity comes to the forefront. The more creative a video is, the more attention it will gain.
To Talk About Childhood
The aspect of childhood throwback is not a mere idea. It seems this has a pivotal role to play behind slime videos being so popular. In 2017 the popularity of slime had led to a shortage of glue in the US. And most of the videos were made by teens. The fact that making slime is cheap, and it contains stuff easily available, has made it further popular.
Also, slime is not exactly new, and has been popular way before internet, from the Nickelodeon era of 90s. The difference is, things were not as easily accessible then as they are now. So there is one association with childhood that can be formed. However, the amount of fame slime is getting worldwide right now is far more than the 90s. The association we talk of here is for people who are well into their twenties now. But it can be admitted that slime is just as popular among people bornin late 2000s as well as children of 2010s.
A lot of teens have admitted that slime videos help calm them down before bed and help them sleep. This can be due to the fact that the person playing with the slime seems deft and well versed with what they’re doing. This seems to consequently appeal to our childhood senses, i.e. the child in us feels happy. This is echoed in satisfaction in our adult minds. Teens relate the most because they’re just out of childhood, on their way to adulthood. Our childlike tendencies are tickled, which includes being hard wired to hand movement. These videos show eloquent hand movements too. As children, we learn by observation; motor skills come in very much here, and that is echoed when we watch these “oddly satisfying” videos.
It is extremely apparent that the surge of views for slime videos has happened because of the young audience. This is perhaps because young people are exposed to the screen early on, so do not experience such oddly satisfying phenomenon in the physical world. So they turn to such experiences created deliberately on online platforms. It helps them cope with the harsh stressful lifestyle that has become so widespread. They find refuge in the therapeutic videos of people playing with slime.
The Psychological Benefit of Slime Videos
The #oddlysatisfying trend isn’t just some random genre people are hyping about. Turns out, netizens have felt the psychological effects of these videos, regardless of their knowledge, and are using it to further these effects. Slime videos might apparently seem pointless as besides the satisfaction, there is actually deep effect of these videos on the mind. They seem to help in unwinding, relaxing, and feeling calm. Along with ASMR, these videos seem to be serving the role of what is being termed as microtherapy. This helps in a quick shot of anxiety relief. In fact, patients of anxiety are often asked to press or squeeze soft balls. So this principle being reflected in the slime videos comes as no surprise.
According to a psychology professor at the University of Pécs, Dr Anita Deák, this relaxation can be due to mirror neuron theory. In her words, “Mirror neurons are motor neurons in the brain that become active when we see someone doing an action. But these neurons are also active when we do the action.” Thus, the viewer feels the same pleasure as the doer because they think they are doing it themselves. Deák thinks the popularity of slime videos is because of the experience it provides.
The benefits of slime thus aren’t unknown to the medical community. Slime is often prescribed for patients of severe anxiety. It can also help with fidgeting in otherwise mentally healthy people.
The Visual Excellence
Good slime videos also depend greatly on filming. This applies to oddly satisfying videos as well. People love to watch chocolate being poured, water colour being done from up close, factories mass producing various objects, and so on; all thanks to the quality of filming. This shows that people don’t run after the entity itself, in reality, but after the visuals that incite satisfaction. So a badly shot or poor quality video never appeals to the viewers.
This technique is used by advertisers as well. For ages they have cashed on the satisfying sensation created by the right kind of cinematography. Many people admit that the experience of watching satisfying food videos is often much better than actually having the food. Even though the making process leads to a mess, the video is perfect. And that is probably why the videos are so appealing- striving for perfection. This is given impetus by the fact that many videos are actually of stuff from daily life. We want things simple and perfect. The slime videos give us that. So we love these videos.
And here are oddly satisfying videos to make sure your day is happy!
The slime fame is not accidental. So the next time you are watching a satisfying video, remember, there is much more in it than what appears to the eye or to the ears. The visuals and the audio all go in together to fire up various aspects in the brains of millions of people around the world. And all of it combines to make these videos, including slime, such a hot topic on social media.