Shane Dawson is changing YouTube

Devon Greene , editor-in-chief

Shane Dawson finished an eight-part series on controversial YouTube star Jake Paul last Thursday. The hour and 45 minute video marked the end of the documentary level YouTube series that could be a turning point in the quality of YouTube videos in the future.

Dawson has been a content creator on YouTube since 2008 and he has evolved his content multiple times over the past decade, but his most recent evolution has the potential to change the platform completely.

Others may have different viewpoints, but I see Dawson’s first YouTube series as the collaboration with Molly Burke, a blind YouTuber. This was a three-part series where in the first “episode” Dawson met Burke, asked questions about her experience being blind and adjusting to the change since she had not been blind for her whole life. In the second episode, Dawson let her drive his boyfriend’s car, and in the third and final part to the series, he switched lives with Burke for the day.

I consider this series a prototype to the content Dawson has begun to make now. Since

then, Dawson has set his sights on YouTubers who have had various problems with their channels or controversies. The first YouTuber he set his sights on was one of the firsts to go viral on the platform, Rachel “Bunny” Meyer, better known as Grav3yardGirl. Meyer’s channel had been hemorrhaging viewers for months and she couldn’t figure out why, so Dawson intervened and tried to help Myers reinvigorate her channel.

Dawson then moved on to Tana Mongeau when they covered the “TanaCon” fiasco that left fans sunburnt, upset and outraged when she tried to throw her own convention for those that didn’t want to attend YouTube’s event, VidCon. Following that three-part series, Dawson began a new adventure with makeup mogul and YouTuber, Jeffree Star. This was a five-part series that offered fans a new side of Star and showed sides of him that we had never seen before.

All of these series have been leading up to his most controversial one yet: his eight-part series on Paul. Paul has caused his fair share of chaos including terrorizing his neighbors, building a huge bonfire in his backyard and was the subject of multiple accusations of abuse.

Dawson took a huge chance with this series and he got plenty of backlash when it was announced. Fans told Dawson that they shouldn’t give Paul a bigger platform than he already has, and that he didn’t deserve a redemption story.

After watching the entire series, I believe that my perception of Paul has completely changed. I won’t forget the stupid mistakes that he made in the past, but this series makes me believe that he wants to get better and it helped me understand the man behind the chaos more.

However, the more important thing about these series that Dawson has begun making is the potential impact it will have on the platform. Dawson’s content has gone above and beyond the quality of most YouTube videos and I think other content creators will follow his lead and up their game to keep up with Dawson’s pace. The content that he is making now is television quality with solid reporting on multiple viewpoints.

YouTube needs legitimacy and Dawson is providing a new style of video that will prove to change the platform for the better.