YouTube’s rise and Logan Paul’s demise

Every generation claims their own unique version of pop culture. Generation X saw the birth of MTV and Millenials saw the beginnings of TMZ. Now, Generation Z is seeing the rise of a new platform: YouTube.

Created in early 2005, YouTube has been around for over a decade, but only recently has its true potential as a media platform been seen. As of 2017, there were 30 million visitors on the site every day and an estimate of one billion hours of content are watched on YouTube daily.

“I think [YouTube] has affected our culture pretty well; a lot of memes and ideas get distributed through YouTube, even in school we watch Crash Course videos,” junior Adam Craft said.

YouTube has become more popular in recent years amongst teachers. Video series such as Crash Course, as Craft mentioned, are watched quite often in schools because the series has spread over many subjects including world history, sociology and chemistry.

“[YouTube] isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it has its drawbacks, of course,” junior Spencer Dowdy said.

However, despite the positive, information-spreading possibilities of YouTube, the site does have its downsides, as Dowdy mentions. For example, many creators have been known to abuse the platform’s power. One case of this occurrence is Logan Paul, who originally gained his fame through the former video-sharing app, Vine.

On Jan. 2, Paul released a video blog, or vlog, of him in Japan visiting Aokigahara, more commonly known as the Suicide Forest. In the video, Paul showed the body of someone who had recently committed suicide. After doing this, he mentions several times in the video that he entered the forest intending to film a comedic video, not to display suicide in this way.

“Logan Paul is acting like everything he did is a big mistake, but it’s not a mistake,” Craft said. “He could have just not shown a dead body in his video.”

As of Jan. 10, Paul has been removed from YouTube’s “Google Preferred Ad Program,” which helps to promote certain creators and brands, and has had his YouTube Red shows cancelled.

“People do have the right to post and say whatever they want on the internet,” Dowdy said. “At the same time, YouTube has the right as a company to say ‘We don’t want to do business with you anymore because you did something we don’t approve of,’ so I think [restricting Logan Paul] is fair.”

With both its extreme pros of inspiration sharing and extreme cons of the promotion of inappropriate videos, the video-sharing site has become ingrained into Generation Z’s culture of instant information.

“I would say, overall, [YouTube] is a good thing,” Dowdy said.