A Study of Sand

A 1kg box of Kinetic sand retails for approximately $14.95. 

A rainbow knife can be picked up for $29.99.

And if you use them together in the right way and film it, you’ll attract 1.4 million Instagram followers.

The account ‘satisfyingvideo’ on Instagram has solicited a massive following by cutting into kinetic sand, massaging slime, or simply mixing paint.

Instagram supports videos that range from 3 seconds to 60 seconds – my question is, what happens in those 3 – 60 seconds that audiences are so enticed by?

In regards to reflexive learning and approaching the relationship between media, audience, and place – I want to know what exactly do videos of kinetic sand bring to the table in comparison to other forms of media entertainment, and why are they so popular with a younger age demographic?

Mood management theory belongs to a larger group of theoretical approaches that address selective exposure to media content and proposes that the selection of media stimuli is driven by hedonistic motivation…mood management theory is founded on the basic assumption that individuals are motivated to terminate or alleviate negative effective states and to preserve and intensify positive affect…individuals rearrange their stimulus environments in a way that aids them in the optimisation of mood via maximising positive affect and minimising aversive mood states’ (Zillman, 1988).

 The above may hold the explanation to my question.

This viral trend has become associated with stress relief and assisting with anxiety. I find it interesting as the trend isn’t designed to replace medical or professional help in regards to stress, anxiety, or any other mental illnesses – yet it is so popular in relieving those issues. The videos don’t require any action of behalf of the audience, except to simply watch. They’re highly accessible, with thousands of results at the hands of any Instagram user.

My current hypothesis is that these videos are closely related to the phenomenon of ASMR. ASMR stands for ‘autonomous sensory meridian response’ – it is a physical sensation that is ‘triggered’ by audio and visual stimulus.

ASMR can be simply described simply as a variety of soothing SENSATIONS (eg, tingles, relaxation, calmness, sleepiness) due to a variety of gentle STIMULI (eg, whispering, soft talking, light touches, methodical sounds)’ (x

I am using the term ‘closely related’ as I do not believe that kinetic sand/satisfying videos are as personal or as intimate as some ASMR practices. However, they hold the similar qualities of visual appeal and relaxing content.

When conducting research into the project, it would be ideal to have interview subjects across a range of categories;

  • men and women of varying ages
  • those who have never watched ‘satisfying videos’/ASMR
  • those who love to watch ‘satisfying videos’/ASMR
  • those who use these videos to help assist with anxiety/stress
  • those who find the videos purely entertaining

During the exploration of this topic, I hope to uncover the worth of ‘satisfying videos’ and shed a light on the idea that they are just as valid as other forms of mainstream media entertainment.

View this post on Instagram

The cuts are so perfect 😍😍😍 by @instakineticsand

A post shared by satisfying (@satisfyingvideo) on


Feature image credit: (x)

3 thoughts on “A Study of Sand

  1. itsmelstenner says:

    Your writing is beeeeautiful, and easy to read. And your idea is awesome! I can see clearly how it relates to audience and media, but I can’t see clearly how it relates to place (and this might just be because I’m slow). Maybe it only applies to private spaces? It’d be interesting to see how far you go with the ‘place’ aspect of the project. Otherwise it appears you have a clear understanding of what you want to look into and how you’ll do it. Looking at mood management and how it relates to the sand videos is really valuable I think. 🙂 Keen to see whatcha do!


  2. saffiespeaks says:

    I really love the thought put into such as interesting topic! I’m guilty of watching these videos especially the slime ones; apart from the academic research it would be great to see you maybe interview some people and ask them what affects it has on the personally or maybe why they find themselves so engaged with such an odd trend haha! LOVE IT!


  3. tgl097 says:

    I love this project!!
    I love these videos and would love to know why I get so much enjoyment out of watching them! The connection made between anxiety, stress relief and watching the videos is true for me but the science behind it is very interesting. If you decide to do a video, I cannot wait to watch it!


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