A new wave of mostly female social media stars are emerging on YouTube and Instagram who are known for posting videos of themselves cleaning their homes. In the United States and Canada, so-called “cleanfluencers” post time-lapse videos of themselves cleaning up their homes with cleaning tips and glimpses into their domestic life. In the United Kingdom, there are mainly product recommendations and inspirational quotes inviting viewers to clean their houses.

Unlike other social media influencer posts, these cleanfluencers wear everyday clothes and recommend cheap products so that viewers can identify themselves in the videos. The comments also tend to be friendly and apolitical so those seeking a respite from the flame wars on other platforms can find it within this cleaning community.

In the cleanfluencer community, many have found refuge from the chaos of the world and even have seen their mental health improved. Viewers benefit from seeing the end product of a clean house. Those who are overwhelmed with anxiety or depression find themselves able to join the simple act of household chores. By watching others declutter, they too find the strength to take control over their lives by taking the first step to manage their personal space.

Read the full article on The Atlantic: The People Who Love to Watch Other People Clean

Analysis:

There seems to be something on the Internet and social media space for everybody. Once we were playing video games, then we were watching videos of other people playing video games and now we are watching videos of other people clean their homes. As Duffy, the communications professor cited in the article notes, the phenomenon of cleanfluencers is about taking something that is typically invisible and in the “private space into the public realm”.

Indeed, the social media space is increasingly becoming a place where private matters are brought into the private platform. It has given many people a platform to express themselves as well as to gain a glimpse into the lives of others. While it seems to have brought the world closer together, has it really resolved the isolation felt by the users of the platform? One of the success of the cleanfluencers is that it has generated a community where people can talk about their lives being in chaos and support each other to get their houses (and their lives) in order.

As an aside, it is interesting to note the power of cleaning to relieve one’s stress. It is an easy enough step that those who are feeling powerless are able to get started. Furthermore, by taking steps to manage their physical space around them, they also find the strength to take control of their lives. You might want to start cleaning your room the next time you feel stressed!

Questions for further personal evaluation: 

  1. If watching other people exercise in videos does not help one keep fit, why do you think watching others clean helps one to feel comforted?
  2. Besides cleaning, what other daily activities would you like to see being captured on video or other social media? Why?

Useful vocabulary: 

  1. ‘innocuous’: not likely to give offense or to arouse strong feelings or hostility
  2. ‘atavistic’: recurrence of or reversion to a past style, outlook, approach or activity

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