Why Jake Paul isn’t the trendsetter he likes to think he is - Dexerto
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Why Jake Paul isn’t the trendsetter he likes to think he is

Published: 16/Nov/2020 14:41 Updated: 23/Nov/2020 16:49

by Chris Stokel-Walker

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Jake Paul is one of the most recognizable faces in online video, but he’s not the big trendsetter that he likes to claim he is. No, he didn’t didn’t invent the content house. No, he didn’t invent YouTube boxing, and no, he wasn’t the first YouTuber to be raided by the FBI.

Jake Paul continues to be a major contributor — for good and evil — towards the wider debate around YouTube. But the cocky creator seems too eager to cement his place in the history of online video, making outlandish claims that he was the mastermind behind content houses, YouTube boxing and more.

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Overnight on November 15, the younger Paul brother courted controversy in the way he’s become known for by tweeting an outlandish claim about his impact on the online video space.

Paul claimed he “created the first content house,” which gave birth to “500 content houses.” He said that “every influencer is a boxer” after he started boxing. And he questioned what’s next: “Y’all gon get raided by the FBI on purpose?” — a reference to an August 2020 incident when his Calabasas home was raided by the FBI connected to an investigation of him being filmed in the presence of looting at a mall in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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But Paul is overstating his impact. Yes, his every word is newsworthy — as evidenced by the fact we’re talking about him here. But he didn’t invent YouTube, and he doesn’t necessarily create trends on the site anymore.

MaiLinh Nguyen, a former videographer for Paul, felt the need to correct his claims, pointing out that others gathered together in a collab house long before Paul set up Team 10’s mansion in Calabasas.

In her thread, Nguyen pointed out that Paul certainly wasn’t the first. The Station, a collection of Maker Studios creators including Phil DeFranco, LisaNova and Shane Dawson, pioneered the idea in 2009, though not all of them lived together. In 2014, the O2L Mansion was born. Even the Sidemen house predated the Team 10 house by a couple of years.

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But collaborative places to work and produce online video existed long before YouTube: The Spot, which ran between 1995 and 1997, the year Paul was born, did a similar thing, though the cast was fictional.

Paul could make a decent claim to have popularized the idea of collaborative working with peers in the same rough location, first as part of his membership of the loose collection of creators living at 1600 Vine, before then moving into the Team 10 mansion. Certainly, we’re seeing vast numbers of collab houses pop up, inspired off the back of the Hype House, which had its precedent in the Team 10 mansion through founder Thomas Petrou. But, as Nguyen tweeted, “that’s not what [Paul] claimed in his tweet.”

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Likewise, Paul’s claims to have invented YouTube boxing don’t stand up. For one thing, neither he nor his brother were on the card at the first white collar YouTube boxing match, held in London in February 2018, which saw KSI beat Joe Weller. Seeing the success of that event, the Pauls got involved and turned the spectacle into a global phenomenon that sold out the Manchester Arena and took over Los Angeles. But he didn’t invent it: in fact, he piggybacked on a pre-existing trend after seeing its popularity.

That’s something Paul often does; by sheer scale of his audience, he’s often the person who popularizes trends to a mainstream audience, but scratch beneath the surface and you see other people have done it first. He’s able to capitalize on spotting ideas just before the wave breaks on them becoming major movements. Yet by constantly looking at the latest trends, Paul ignores the long and storied history of online video.

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Jake Paul Air Jordan 1 Dior cereal
Instagram: jakepaul
Jake Paul definitely knows how to cause a stir online.

This is now a mature space, and a significant industry with a past that should be remembered and celebrated. It’s important to remember the first vloggers who laid the path for those like Paul to make their millions – and too often, they’re overlooked for the latest trends. It’s important to remember seminal moments like The Spot, The Station and KSI versus Joe Weller. The internet moves fast, and we forget moments too quickly in favor of the new.

As for Paul’s claim that he invented YouTubers getting in trouble with and raided by the FBI, well, for one thing it’s not a claim to fame most ordinary people would be so keen to grab. But even if it was, it’s not something that Paul can factually say he did first, as far as influencers go. We even reported on IcePoseidon’s FBI raid a year and a half before authorities rocked up at the gate of Paul’s mansion in the hills.

Paul’s famous as a high school dropout, who’s proven his teachers, who claimed he’d never amount to much, wrong. But he – like all of us – could do with brushing up on his online video history out of class.