You come home after a long day of school. You set your bag down beside your bed, plop on the seat in front of your computer, and almost immediately go to YouTube to unwind. You expect new content from your favorite creators–maybe a haul video on clothes they bought, a review video on new technology that just came out, or even a monthly Q&A. But then, to your surprise (or maybe not) you see a thumbnail with him on the far right, and a hanging body on the left. Not only is that video on the front page of your computer screen, but hundreds of other videos condemning it as well. You immediately reckon that you have just entered social media hell–and it will only get worse from here on out.
Golden boy of YouTube
Little to anyone’s surprise, the golden boy of YouTube puts out crazy, fun (albeit dangerous and secondhand embarrassment inducing) content to please his younger audiences. Don’t believe us? In any of his videos, one may happen to come across nine, ten year-olds letting out a string of praises in the comment sections, on the verge of worship almost. His army of ten year old “Mavericks” as he calls them (quite an unfortunate name, but at least they aren’t called Logan Paulers) buy his merchandise and gets his YouTube videos to ten million views which further boosts his ego, resulting in him creating crazier, more fun (again, more embarrassing) videos, especially his specialty, vlogs. His recent controversy, the vlog about discovering a corpse in the Aokihagara forest, though it was extremely disrespectful to the culture and to the people of Japan, still reached five hundred thousand likes and millions of views. While this may go over any Generation X’s head, it never departs from the general consensus of being utterly disrespectful and deplorable.
Social media influencer
Logan Paul, main character of The Thinning and one of the most popular YouTubers in the world, –has always been one of the giants in social media. Arguably a social media influencer, Logan is the type of person who can reach a vast audience through social media and has the ability to manipulate them, all while screaming too loudly to even be considered normal. Children with young, pliable minds direct their eyes to his content and allow this man to influence their thinking, manipulate their beliefs, making them believe that shoving one’s pants down at a pedestrian lane in Japan is funny and in no ways borderline disturbing. What, then, does this mean for his viewers? It doesn’t mean that when Logan tells them to jump, everyone will ask how high, but thinking about it quite hardly, doesn’t make the idea farfetched after all. Just take one sweeping look at one of his vlogs and it is almost guaranteed that there will be at least ten children commenting on how great and how funny his content is–ostensibly setting up what could be the worst role model a child could emulate.
Cultural mistakes in Japan
“I just gotta be (sic) careful to not […] disrespect the culture.”–those were the words of Logan Paul at the beginning of his trip to Japan. The famous YouTuber even said that the country he is currently in is “all about respect”. Hence, when his most controversial video came out, people were also quick to notice the other things he did in the said country. Much like the rapid increase in the number of views on his video, social media users whose attention were now caught, were quick to point out the issue of cultural appropriation and disrespect that happened in his trip to Japan. From running on the streets wearing a Kimono while raising a Japan flag to saying “the Americans have arrived” in a country where the issue of the World War II still reverberates among most, is what crossed the already thin line in today’s day and age. As if those actions were not enough, Logan Paul also decided to toy with the daily lives of the Japanese people– something someone should not do when visiting another country. Dressed like Pikachu, the YouTuber went around the streets and to different places shouting “I choose you!” to random people while throwing them a Poke Ball. In the midst of it all, one can’t help but think about how the children of today will be affected after watching this video. With Logan Paul’s stunts in Japan, one can start to wonder how things are different in each culture, but none is less important than the other.
The importance of correctness
In today’s society, Logan Paul’s mistakes shows just how important it is nowadays to be politically, socially, and culturally correct. With people giving more importance to different issues in hopes of bridging differences, one must learn how to be careful within the confines of social media because one slip-up can mean a disaster. The internet is an open space that a lot of people can access. Hence, actions can mean affecting people’s lives, may it be as young as a toddler or as old as almost a century. Throughout the entirety of the issue surrounding one of YouTube’s Golden Boy, people have pointed out the adverse effects it has on his audience which is in no way false. However, in this whole ordeal, another striking reality about life in the confines of social media is highlighted– a careless mistake can mean a Pandora’s Box of not just your life in social media, but everything else in between.