Ben Smith says that BuzzFeed doesn’t do clickbait, and he should know, since he’s the Editor-in-Chief of BuzzFeed. This being the Internet, there were a number of opinions, thought-pieces, snark, and satire. But more than anything else I read, I was energized to see what Andrew Golis of This. had to say… after this message from our sponsor.
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Living in FacebookWorld
Golis smartly reframes the conversation in his piece on Medium titled This is what we should fight about when we fight about BuzzFeed. Those who find the clickbait headline irresistable will see that the author takes a moment to zoom out and challenge the assumptions at the core of BuzzFeed by examining the venn diagram of content that is culturally valuable and/or likely to spread on Facebook,. And while each of his points is fodder for an entire issue of Periodically, I was particularly taken by a comment from journalism professor Mindy McAdams regarding the sections of the diagram.
The many definitions of “culture”
I would take it one step further than McAdams, even. Facebook has 1.35 billion monthly active users. With a self-selecting population of that size, you don’t need a generational shift to move the needle. BuzzFeed and its imitators can get more than enough traffic from the overlap in the venn diagram – the people for whom it’s one big circle are just the cherry on top. This will continue to be a winning strategy for BuzzFeed et al. … at least until Facebook decides they want a cut of the action.
One weird tip for advertising folks
Make sure your brand is more self-aware than Bill Cosby (trigger warning).