At 11 p.m. last night, I realized that I had not started any of my homework. I had been on my computer for hours, so I must have accomplished something, right?
I read the news in a digestible format, laughed along and sympathized with “16 Things Only People With Unique Names Would Understand” (Moette Nehama definitely qualifies), and discovered a lot about myself. I took quizzes that told me I am Aaron Samuels from Mean Girls, my favorite snack is carrots and hummus, and my college major should be creative writing. Sure, half the questions on the quizzes might be irrelevant, and so what if I am allergic to carrots and chickpeas? My source of information for everything I learned that night was Buzzfeed, a website that has captured the attention of millions, college students not excluded.
Some will say that Buzzfeed is a waste of time. I would like to offer a different approach.
Buzzfeed is a one-stop shopping website. It is a source of news, information, entertainment, and self-discovery. In this modern age, when there are so many websites competing for our attention, Buzzfeed has mastered the art of attracting viewers and maintaining their interest.
But how in the world does Buzzfeed do what so many other trending-topic sites can’t? Two ways. The first – content. The news they report is accurate and up-to-date. The headlines are similar to those of other reputable news sites. Even the content of the quizzes is different—not just who your celebrity crush is, but new and fun ideas like your favorite snack.
Buzzfeed is probably best known for the presentation of their content, specifically the lists with GIFs or Graphic Interface Format. This is the second way they engage their viewers. I did not just read “16 Things That Only People With Unique Names Would Understand.” That would be boring. After each number, an image correlating to that example is provided. Sometimes the image was better than the writing.
The news section of the website follows a similar format. The site does not post long articles, but rather a few sentences and a picture of what is being reported, then another few sentences and another picture. The articles might not contain serious news analysis, but the format allows for quick and easy reading.
On Buzzfeed, the lists are most popular. These lists are often posted on Facebook because they accurately and creatively present ideas that resonate with students more than a simple Facebook status. However, the lists would not be accepted if the content were lacking. The topics of the lists are sometimes very informative: books, movies, T.V. shows, recipes, party ideas, and places to vacation. The lists are usually curated with a theme, such as “Best Young Adult Books,” or “Best Oscar Movies.” Other lists that might seem random express sentiments that many people share, including things that happen at work, at college, and the gym. In fact, these random lists might even be commentaries on today’s society, bringing to the surface ideas that we all think about but do not necessarily share out loud.
The quizzes, though they might not always give perfect results, are for entertainment. Buzzfeed realizes that people need distractions but also understands how to provide entertainment while keeping people on the site. If a quiz does lead to a self-discovery, even better!
Buzzfeed is a triple threat in both content and presentation of news, information, and entertainment. While I did not do any homework last night, I learned a lot, including which Mean Girls character I am.