Exploring YouTubers’ unsettling obsessions

by Gazette Reporter
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Television as we know it is slowly changing, constantly morphing into new forms and multiple platforms and creators are trying their hand at longform content.

YouTube creators are tackling the longform format themselves now – and racking up millions of views doing it.

One such creator is Shane Dawson, who with his 17 million subscribers has been making content on the platform for the past decade.

What initially began as a skit channel, slowly progressed into something more of a documentary-style delivery.

In the past number of years, he’s taken to diving into a more in-depth form of creation, from exploring different conspiracy theories, to looking at some of YouTube’s other infamous creators in a style previously unseen on the site.

His latest series has garnered him some backlash for its portrayal of mental health, but also praise from those who frequent the video-sharing site.

Focusing on Jake Paul, a 20-year-old video maker based in Los Angeles, he aims to uncover if Paul is a sociopath through a series of in-depth videos on his family, enemies, friends, and even meeting with a therapist.

Jake Paul is the younger brother of Logan Paul, the YouTuber who earlier this year infamously filmed a deceased person in the Japanese Suicide Forest, sparking worldwide controversy and criticism.

Jake has himself also been the subject of heavy criticism, with his neighbours threatening lawsuits against a variety of his antisocial actions.

Dawson’s series has managed to find its way into the mainstream, becoming talked about on news sites and television shows in the US.

His videos are entirely home-made by Dawson and a small team, with extensive research and editing and next-to-no budget for the almost hour-long videos.

As pointed out by fellow YouTube creator Elijah Daniel on Twitter, Dawson’s near-hour long episodes of the series receive more views in mere hours than Netflix’s series Making A Murderer received in more than a month on a streaming site.

The series is still ongoing, but at the time of going to print, the ‘Jake Paul’ series had more than 53 million views across four episodes, uploaded to the site across a week – an average of seven million views of the series per day, with more episodes expected imminently.

Daniel said: “Making a Murderer, one of the biggest, most talked about docuseries to come out in the past few years, got 19m viewers in 35 days across all episodes. “Shane Dawson is getting almost that per episode in less than a week with a homemade series, and if that isn’t inspiring, I don’t know what is.”

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