What the heck is Buzzfeed anyways?

"Not Putin Up With It" right next to "A Ranking Of 20 Classic Video Game Levels That Ruined Your Childhood." Is this the future of journalism?
“Not Putin Up With It” right next to “A Ranking Of 20 Classic Video Game Levels That Ruined Your Childhood.” Is this the future of journalism?

I should start this off with a disclaimer: I do, in fact, know what Buzzfeed is. It stole much of my time during my procrastinating college years (of COURSE those years ended when I graduated… what are you talking about?).

The real question is, what is Buzzfeed trying to be? What are people using it for? And do the two coincide at all?

Poynter reported on Monday that some Buzzfeed reporters were allowed to edit and delete old posts to bring them up to the “company’s standards.” This wouldn’t fly for a news organization, but most of the commenters to Poynter’s post felt that it was unimportant: Buzzfeed isn’t a news source.

I’d agree. I go to Buzzfeed for mind-numbing quizzes like “Who is your celebrity family” and fun but rather pointless and probably inaccurate listicles like  “53 Thoughts Everyone Has When Doing Laundry.” And with a scale from “LOL” to “wtf” I definitely don’t expect legitimate news. The first tab on Buzzfeed, however, is news and it seems like the site is moving towards attempting legitimacy.  

Now sometimes I think that my news needs some more gifs, but then I wake up and realize a couple of things: 1. Anyone can write for Buzzfeed 2. They tried the headline “Not Putin Up with It.” There are a lot of other problems with the idea of Buzzfeed being a credible news source, but I’m not going to lie and say I’ve never been sucked into a news story their. It’s happened way more than I’d like to admit. 

If one place can produce all the news you need alongside quizzes and silly lists and all the DIY’s you’ve always been looking for, is it at risk of endangering real news sources. Do they have to start competing with the enigma that is Buzzfeed for readers? I don’t know, but I have definitely seen an increase in using photos and sassy language in some more legitimate news sources. It’s a little bit of a scary thought to me. 

So I’m totally willing to take some opinions on this one. Do you use Buzzfeed a news source? If not, do you think it could make the transition into the news world? What does this mean for more traditional online media? Innovation is important, always, and creative story telling is what keeps journalists in food, but I’m not sure if Buzzfeed is the right direction. 


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