When you think of YouTube, especially vlogging, you think of people with a lot of personalities. They face the camera and talk about their lives with big, bright smiles and confidence. Some vloggers shout more than they speak in average volume. While others enjoy the constant screaming, some viewers are turned off by that. Furthermore, as is, people already hear a lot of noise in their daily lives. For instance, there’s the sound of vehicles on the highway. There’s also the collective voices of the people in the busy streets that turn into undecipherable noise. Combine that with telephone rings and notification alerts, and it gets exhausting. Sometimes, people need peace and quiet.
Watching YouTube videos help people relax during their free time. Typical vloggers can keep them entertained with their challenges, stories, and mishaps. However, as implied above, that kind of content is not always the best to consume. When a person needs a “time-out” from life, something more calming would suit the situation better.
Thankfully, there is this new trend on YouTube. It is still vlogging, but the twist is, the vlogger is silent.
YouTube has noticed a new trend in the Asia Pacific region (APAC). It is the sudden rise of “silent vlogs.” The company asked its Culture & Trends Manager, Makoto Maeoka, for a reason behind this.
In this style of vlogging, the video does not center on the vlogger. They do not speak and sometimes even hide their physical appearance. For instance, silent vlogger Nino’s home hides his face behind a headgear fashioned in the shape of a bear head. So, if that’s the case, what is the focus of these videos?
Take a look at these YouTube channels to get an idea.
Content creator Choki makes food inspired by those found in Studio Ghibli’s animated films. Aside from that, she also shares home cafe recipes. In this simple way, Choki shows how she enjoys her time alone. A similar channel called Imamu Room also gained prominence for the video series “A Week of Husbentos by Wife.” In this series, the vlogger silently shows how she makes Bento lunch boxes for her husband.
YouTube Ideas Still Form Most New Growth
Meanwhile, in South Korea, there is a subgenre that is called “cafe vlogs.” In this trend, baristas teach viewers how to make drinks – again, without speaking. On top of that, they show a slice of their lives. This combo allows the viewers to experience or participate in cafe culture.
But cooking, food, and drinks are not the only thing silent vloggers can do. For instance, Kominka’s Solo Life shows his life living in a traditional Japanese house.
So, from that, you should have an idea by now what acts as a centerpiece in silent vlogging. Instead of focusing on the person who is vlogging, silent vlogs focus on routine, daily activities. These activities can be as mundane as cleaning the living room or polishing the nails, or whatnot. They can be accompanied by ambient, soothing music or ASMR-like sounds or have no sound effects at all. This style of vlogging helps viewers appreciate the quiet moments and relax. Likewise, it makes people appreciate small tasks and activities. Sure, making your bed or watering the plants could sometimes be a hassle. But compared to the other things you have to do for the rest of the day, they are far more straightforward. Makoto says that silent vlogs take people on a short escape from their busy, stressful daily lives.
Videos that provide sensory experiences – designed to engage senses other than sight – gained an all-time high on YouTube in 2019. Aside from silent vlogs, there was also an increase in the popularity of ASMR videos.
ASMR videos are similar to silent vlogs but also different. People can talk in ASMR videos, though they should keep it in low volumes. Take the famous painter Bob Ross’ videos, for example. The content produced by the soft-spoken artist is a prime example of an ASMR video.
ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response – a term coined in 2010. It is also known as “brain massage.” ASMR videos use tranquil sounds like whispers, accents, and crackles to trigger pleasurable tingles in the nervous systems.
Heather Feather is a famous YouTube artist who posts ASMR videos. She has half a million subscribers. Heather Feather says watching ASMR videos gives a feeling like having someone play with your hair or trace your back with their fingertips. It has the same tingling sensation.
That is why there is interest in ASMR videos coming from all around the world. Africa, Greenland, and Middle East Asia are the only places that seem completely uninterested in this kind of content.
Currently, there are about 5.2 million ASMR videos on YouTube. Searches for the said type of content increased by 200% YoY in 2015 and are still growing. In fact, according to data shown by Google Trends, there are more searches for ASMR than for candy or chocolate.
The company also says more than half of the searches are done on mobile phones. Moreover, they are done mostly at 10:30 pm when people are settling down to get to sleep. This proves how effective ASMR videos are at making people feel relaxed.
ASMR and silent vlogs are among the most prominent trends on YouTube in 2020 and 2021. When you think about the stress caused by the pandemic, it makes sense. This is the time when people need an escape from reality the most. These videos whisk people away from this world and bring them to another, straightforward life. However, that does not mean that the trend will say goodbye once the coronavirus is defeated.
That is not a bad thing, though. Everyone deserves to relax, and these videos elevate that experience.
Not All YouTube Videos Are Silent, Especially with Michael Moore
Over the ten years that have passed, many celebrity influencers such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elon Musk, Al Gore, and giant tech brands like Apple have continuously claimed that solar panels, wind farms, and other renewables cause less pollution compared to fossil fuels.
However, a new documentary called Planet of the Humans, which was publicly released on YouTube on the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, revealed that biomass, solar farms, and biofuels are ruining the natural environment. Meanwhile, there is a documentary that bought views reviews for the sake of a successful plot twist.
Planet of Humans is a documentary produced by Michael Moore, an Oscar-winning filmmaker. According to Moore, he assumed that solar panels would last forever and did not know what created them.
The documentary featured both abandoned solar farms and industrial wind farms, and new ones being built. However, the new renewable farms were built after cutting down forests. Jeff Gibbs, another filmmaker, said while staring at a former solar farm that what he was seeing was a solar dead zone. He added that what he learned was that solar panels do not last forever.
YouTube Views on Documentaries Continue to Increase
Similar to other environmental documentaries, Planet of the Humans suggests that the whole planet is running out of energy. A well-coiffed environmental leader said that everyone has to have their ability to consume reigned. On the other hand, a scientist said that there is no turning back without several major die-offs of the human population.
But the truth is that humankind has never faced the risk of running out of energy. In fact, there have always been enough fossil fuels to power an entire civilization for hundreds and even thousands of years. In addition, the amount of nuclear energy that the world has is infinite.
However, the apocalyptic rhetoric slightly detracts from the center of the documentary film, where climate activists promote pollution-driving natural gas and biomass. This, true or false, has resulted in massive increases in YouTube views for the creators.
The film exposed a tremendous amount of information that the public has never seen before. For instance, it shows Lisa Jackson, the former head of EPA and current head of Apple’s sustainability, on stage, claiming that the Apple company is now on 100 percent renewable energy.
What Planet of the Humans Debunked
But contrary to Jackson’s statement, Gibbs interviewed a scientist who said that he still has not found a single entity anywhere around the world running on solar and wind energy alone. The film also showed a forest being cut down to build the solar farm of Apple.
At a 2015 Earth Day, Denis Hayes, the Earth Day Founder, claimed that the concert was powered by solar. Gibbs went backstage to confirm and found out that a diesel generation system ran the show.
Planet of the Human also focused on Elon Musk’s claims that his Gigafactory was powered by renewables when making batteries. However, in reality, the said battery factory was powered by an electric grid.
According to a man who worked as a seller of solar manufacturing materials, some solar panels can only live for ten years.
On the other hand, the Middlebury College in Vermont established a wood-burning powerplant. At its unveiling ceremony, McKibben asked the audience what powers a learning community. As an answer to his question, he said that wood chips are the answer and that it was beautiful to see a bunker of wood chips. They said that anything that burns can be thrown into the powerplant. He encouraged that wood-burning powerplants must happen everywhere.
Growing YouTube Views Aren’t Silent Either
In addition, the documentary also debunked that 350.org’s climate activist Bill MicKibben, along with the Sierra Club, supports a ballot initiative from Michigan. The said initiative would have required the state by 2025 to acquire 25 percent of its electricity to renewables—the interests of a biomass industry-backed Michigan’s industry. On top of that, the efforts to build a biomass plant at Michigan State University were opposed by climate activists, including those from 350.org.
Back in 2016, an article for Grist.org was written by McKibben. In the article, he argued against producing electricity by burning biomass. But it seems as if McKibben went against his first stand and supported Michigan’s biomass industry.
In reality, scientists have already raised the alarm about biofuels and biomass as a cause of destruction for rainforests around the globe, including Malaysia and Brazil. It was also documented that fuels produce much higher carbon emissions than gas and oil. It may also make more carbon emissions than coal.
Furthermore, the film also showed Vinod Khosla, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist telling 60 Minute’s Leslie Stahl that his biofuels plant produced clean and green gasoline. Stahl asked Khosla what the negative effect of the biofuels plant would be, and he answered that there is no downside.
Are Renewables Really the Answer to Sustainability?
After one year, Khosla’s company filed for bankruptcy and then defaulted on a loan it got from the state of Mississippi that was worth $75 million. The company produced biofuels for $5 to $10 per gallon. However, it did think of the actual cost of building the plant. Khosla’s two earlier biofuel ventures have also gone bankrupt after facing hundreds of millions worth of federal government subsidies. In addition, Khosla’s company’s shareholders sued the company for fraud.
Moreover, Planet of the Humans also revealed that in 2013, Al Gore received money from fossil fuel when a co-owner sold to Al Jazeera the Current TV. Notably, Al Jazeera was state-funded by Qatar, a nation that exports gas whose citizens carry the largest per capita carbon footprint worldwide.
Many people think that they can save the environment by using renewables like solar panels and biogas. However, in reality, what is believed to be environmental savers destroy the environment further. As mentioned, large companies that use solar panel plants destroy forests to build these plants, which seems to go against saving the environment.