Is the internet making us dumber? This is a question being asked a lot recently. Our generation now seeks out information through the internet. We don’t read the news through a newspaper, we go online for our sources. We share, communicate and read everything online now. (I probably share the most BuzzFeed quizzes to my friends out of anyone). We all know what BuzzFeed is and if you don’t, I would crawl out of that hole. It’s a place you can read a couple news articles and laugh at funny quizzes . BuzzFeed is a portal our generation has to come to love and hate, but it works and sometimes bringing humor to a situation that might not be so funny is exactly what this generation wants. I just took a quiz and I’m pretty ecstatic about my answer.
There has been a lot of talk about whether or not BuzzFeed is a reliable news source and if it is too humorous. According to Sean Hemmerle, a writer for Columbia Journalism Review, “the viral videos it publishes—generally without vetting—occasionally turn out to be hoaxes, the kind of mistake that delights old print curmudgeons eager to assert their ethical superiority.” This holds a negative connotation regarding BuzzFeed. Hemmerle is stating that BuzzFeed’s funny videos is a way for people to express that they are ethnically superior to someone else. Racist? Maybe, I don’t know. Some of the quizzes are definitely crossing the lines and I think in certain sensitive situations BuzzFeed should take precautions. BUT in all honesty, BuzzFeed is all about pushing that level of comfortability to it’s limits. Not trying to be harsh, but people will get their feelings hurt sometimes and understanding society’s new appreciation of absurdity is the only way to deal with it. So yes, I do believe BuzzFeed takes it way too far and inappropriate at sometimes, but isn’t that what BuzzFeed is all about? People can argue a lot against BuzzFeed and all the ridiculous things it offers. Quizzes like “Pick toppings for your pizza, and we’ll tell you your eye color,” are misleading and not true, but they are funny and people enjoy the laugh. They can’t obviously know your eye color based on your pizza preferences. Of course, this quiz is just for humor and nothing serious or something that could be deceptive towards someone. This is just what our generation craves. We want something to entertain and enthrall us into something we would never think about. We want that “umph” factor, not the boring lecture sources. Who cares if it’s true? Well, I guess in the circumstances of stupid quizzes like the one I mentioned; it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not because it won’t cause us any harm. On the other hand, if we read important news from BuzzFeed, we want the absolute truth.
Another news outlet, Breitbart, published an article called You can’t trust BuzzFeed, which reveals some criticism people have towards BuzzFeed’s approach of the news. In the article, the writer, Milo states “it turns out that funding supposedly high-minded journalism with listicles isn’t an effective route to credibility—particularly when you are guilty of precisely the same ethical solecisms you pompously draw attention to in others,” which I translate to mean journalism with high moral principles isn’t effective anymore. The stuff that shocks or surprises us, even if it’s not true is more intriguing to our generation. Shouldn’t credibility be an important when reading the news? It definitely should be, but I don’t know if it is anymore. BuzzFeed is so outrageous and out there, but they still value the importance of news.
Here are some facts regarding BuzzFeed according to Similar Web, a database that tracks the analytics of digital news outlets. BuzzFeed is ranked #1 in it’s category of News and Media. 48.28% of traffic is from social and 82.90% of that social traffic is on Facebook. These are simple facts, but they say something. BuzzFeed works. Facebook and BuzzFeed’s connection is very strong and in order to maintain that we have to keep sharing.
(Isn’t that a pretty smile?) Fun facts about the man pictured above: Jonah Peretti is the co-founder of BuzzFeed and Huffington Post. He went to MIT. He is 43 years old. His sister, Chelsea Peretti, is a famous comedian and an actress.
Jonah Perretti mentions to Tech Crunch how it important it is to understand the medium BuzzFeed is and that if we understand that it “will allow us to make better news and entertainment when they are scaled out.” Understand this generation and how we operate is a crucial thing in a business like BuzzFeed. He believes this humor and the interactive experience that BuzzFeed brings to the news is exactly what our generation needs. He doesn’t see the harm in adding some fun to the news.
On December 19, 2016 (not too long ago), Peretti wrote a letter to his “BuzzFeeders” about what’s to come next. It was published on the technology news website, Recode. In this letter, he discusses the past, present and future of the internet and how BuzzFeed plans to adapt to these changes. He discusses the time before digital media, where there was a one-way communication between the audience and the media companies, which lacked any digital advantages.In digital today, there’s a two-way communication between the audience and media companies that is personalized and tailored to the specific audience. And now we have what BuzzFeed is all about, the social media aspect of the digital world.
“Sharing is the clearest metric for showing that media is creating a social connection between people.” Peretti could not have said it better. Sharing pictures, articles or fun BuzzFeed quizzes is what keeps people talking and laughing. People are invested in these posts. Technology has taken over our lives, whether it’s for the good or bad, Peretti not only understands what this generation wants, but he knows what they will want and how BuzzFeed can improve that relationship with their audience.
I decided another important way to show why our generation loves BuzzFeed was to ask my friends why they think BuzzFeed works. Here, were some of the responses I got:
“It’s the best reason to escape the boredom of class.”- Marissa, 22.
“The humor is relatable to our generation.” Ali, 22.
“The articles are easier to read than a simple newspaper.” Claudia, 21.
“I love that I get to enjoy and also, share it with others.”(unfortunately) My mother.
All in all, people love BuzzFeed. And sure, some people hate it. There will always be haters though. But to the people that I surround myself with and this generation, we appreciate all the laughter it brings. Thank you, BuzzFeed.
Schroeder, Christopher M. “BuzzFeed Wins the Internet Daily. Here’s What Its Boss Thinks Is Next.” Recode. Recode, 19 Dec. 2016. Web. 03 May 2017.
“Buzzfeed.com Traffic Statistics.” SimilarWeb. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 May 2017.
20150, Milo14 Apr. “You Can’t Trust Buzzfeed.” Breitbart. N.p., 14 Apr. 2015. Web. 03 May 2017.
Fisher, Marc. “Who Cares If It’s True?” Columbia Journalism Review. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 May 2017.
“BuzzFeed Advertise.” BuzzFeed Advertise: Content Worth Sharing. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2017.