“Silent reviews” are popular on TikTok, creator of Trend Steps Away

Silent reviews often see TikTokers eavesdropping on products and reacting with exaggerated expressions.

  • “Silent Previews” see TikTokers tap on items and react with exaggerated gestures.
  • The format was born at #BookTok last October, but has spread to other categories as well.
  • The trendsetter said her ubiquity had “crushed” her desire to do more.

If TikTok serves as an endless scroll for gossip, stories and other chatter, a new viral format has caught wind.

Part ASMR, part digital vacation, “silent reviews” call for creators not to speak (for the most part) but instead to “silently” review products with exaggerated facial expressions and dramatic gestures. Like ASMR, the effect then amplifies the sound of non-verbal sounds and tics.

The trend originated with #BookTok but subsequently spread to the rest of the app, expanding to various categories such as baby toys, television shows, makeup products, women’s purses, cups, carbonated drinks, picklesand perfume.

Book review TikToker @stepheadsalot told Business Insider she created the trend in early October. And while she still proudly invents the shape, its rapid popularity makes her hesitant to create more of them.

How BookToker started the “silent reviews” that have now become massively popular among fashion and beauty creators

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Since then, the 35-year-old stay-at-home mom has shared plenty of quiet book reviews she started posting them on the app in 2021, but last year a longtime follower suggested she cover several books in one video. Stephanie, who declined to reveal her last name, decided to use the format for her September book review.

“I didn’t rehearse or plan ahead. I just did it,” she said. “The first video really picked up. I’ve been compared to Mr Bean or the Minions and – something I get surprisingly often – Ryan Reynolds.”

Stephanie said she was instantly inundated with requests for more, and two of her silent review videos garnered more than two million views — even with the famous author Jodi Picoult trying their hand at the trend in October last year.

“In one week, my follower count went over 80,000,” Stephanie told BI. She attributes the format’s popularity to its “universal language” and “spoiler-freeness”.

Some commenters on other silent review videos — especially for beauty products — have likened the format to ASMR, given that creators are satisfyingly tapping on items or whispering their thoughts into lulling silence. Others took to poking fun at the trend, which some viewers found irritating.

At the end of November, Stephanie took to TikTok to share some thoughts. The quiet reviews were “really blown away” and “expanded far from me,” she said, which, on the one hand, was “so cool.”

But the ubiquity also “drastically decreased” her own interest in doing more, she explained. While it initially felt new and creative, she said it started to feel “performative” and it would be “insincere and inauthentic” if we kept putting them out. She said she would continue to make them every month, but asked followers not to request them more often than that.

Stephanie told BI that she still enjoys doing silent reviews, but wants to explore new formats.

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This isn’t the first time a “quiet” trend has taken TikTok by storm. In September, the term “quiet walk” or walking without music or distraction was coined. While some people celebrated the idea, the trend was also widely scorned for trying to rebrand something that so many people already do.

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