The Internet and Social Media
Growing up in an age of social media makes it all the more sad when people abuse their followings. Recently, a YouTube personality named Logan Paul uploaded a vlog where he was walking through Suicide Forest in Japan. I’m sure many of you would have heard by now about the disappointing video, as he and his friends appear to find a body in the forest. I must say that despite for the most part being raised with technology and social media, I am consistently aware of what I post, who it might offend and why I’m doing so. It baffles me then, that someone with such a following – a following of young people I might add, would be so ignorant to others’ emotions that they would film a dead body, and upload the video in which they move closer and closer to the body with their camera; a body of a man who has suffered some form of hardship so terrible it drove him to suicide. It honestly disgusts me how you could be so ignorant to then turn the camera on to yourself and begin to speak about mental health as though it is a matter you care about. Once you have filmed someone who has possibly suffered a mental health disorder (and film them with no remorse) and further have the hypocrisy to beg others to check their own mental health, you are not an ‘influencer’. You have given yourself over as someone who cares more about the amount of people who watch your videos – not those who do. Even though you have blurred the man’s face out (to comply with YouTube’s new rules by the way; YouTube, you too made a big mistake with not reviewing this one) it does not blur the hurt his family must feel, having you, Logan Paul, edit and yet still upload such a video.
As I said, I am the generation raised with the internet and social media. I was thirteen when I got my first social media profile, but even then and even now I think about everything I post. Every outcome, every reaction. If I were a YouTuber, I’d do exactly the same, because people seem to look up to YouTubers. They have found fame in the digital age and should be respectful that their voice is important. Many take this responsibility and use it wisely to speak about matters close to their own hearts; such come to mind are people like Gabbie Hanna, Liza Koshy, Lilly Singh, or Carrie Hope Fletcher, Giovanna Fletcher and Joey Graceffa who take responsibility for their online following and use it to raise awareness on important topics.
It baffles me how someone like Logan Paul (and for that matter, his brother) can understand their demographic is young people for the most part, and yet still disregard their emotions in order to gain ‘views’. My attempt is not to be ‘preachy’ but to ask why? How has a hobby for so many, and a career for millions, become for the sole purpose of feeding some people’s narcissistic tendencies? Logan Paul has argued in his original apology that he did not upload the video for ‘views’ because he claimed “I already get the views”. His ignorance overshadows that of incredible people truly trying to enlighten and empower young people; take Meghan Rienks, a YouTuber who also hosts her own podcast as a sort of sister/agony aunt to young girls. She is using her own influence and comedy to provide help and guidance for young girls; her videos are fun and uplifting, and most importantly – she thinks about the way her video will be perceived before she uploads it!
Logan Paul’s video is inexcusable in my opinion; it was not a live stream which would be unable to be edited. He had walked through the forest, and made the decision himself to film the man. He later went home and edited said video. He had all of the time whilst editing to easily come across the massive fault in his video; many continue to support his video and claim it to be “raising awareness”, and find it acceptable, seeing as “he did blur the face”. Which, you know, makes it okay? Nope.
At almost eighteen years old, having run my own blog since I was almost sixteen, I know what it is to review and have to think through your content before you post. Why then can’t Logan Paul, who has been on this Earth longer than I have? Ignorance is bliss, I suppose.
By Tirion Davies