10 Reasons to Click these Effing Words
You know that thought you have when you’re editing your résumé, and you’re debating whether to include a position because the title sounds kind of dumb. I wonder if “Buzzfeed News Reporter” fits that category. Probably, right? Especially for Buzzfeed “editors” – what do they even do? Make sure the number in any list-type article ends with a zero? Check the quota for cat videos every five minutes? Editors have to, you know, edit things, which doesn’t make sense if no one’s actually writing anything (more on this later). Ugh. Even their news piece on the capsized Chinese cruise ship included a GIF from Titanic. That’s actually not true, but you believed me, didn’t you? And this story about racist high school yearbooks – in their defense, probably Buzzfeed’s least clickbait-y title ever – is made up of 90% quotes, all of which were reported from other sources! (see: ‘NBA Bay Area reported’ or ‘School District told NBC Bay Area’ or ‘student told NBC Bay Area’) And then there’s this one which pretty much takes images of the new royal baby, probably from Google, and makes a ‘story’ which ends up on their news page! The only original line of text in that whole piece is “she certainly has grown.” Are you sure about that? Are you really sure? Was the editor drunk? Does he have a fundamental misunderstanding of time? Fuck!
Sidenote: Did you know that random companies like Coca-Cola – that are obviously not popular enough – have plugs in Buzzfeed where they can write random articles about themselves? Hey, my blog three years ago was pretty much the same thing with a lot more angst, do I get to be a writer? I passed the fifth grade and everything. One of the Coke-inspired pieces (read: 30-second video resembling a middle school science project) is about a weird way to blow up a balloon. You know, outside of using your mouth.
It’s a cut-and-dried example of quantity over quality – in the last DAY, they’ve had articles entitled “If Morgan Stewart’s Tweets Were Motivational Posters” and “If Hilary Duff Lyrics Were Motivational Posters.” Forget that it shows how adept they are at using MS Paint, and how phenomenal their range is in talking about TV actresses and TV actresses who have occasionally dabbled in film. It’s kind of similar to double-stuffed Oreos… why lose precious time in reaching for more Oreos when I can dislocate my jaw and eat this one bigass one? Mental fat-itude is almost as bad as physical fat-itude. Even TMZ would be embarrassed to put up some of this writing. And they just had one called “Diplo Called Selena Gomez and Zedd’s Relationship ‘Fake’.” I lied – that was Buzzfeed too! The Onion (The freaking Onion!) thought this was ridiculous enough to devote an entire website to mocking them (imitation isn’t flattery in this case, guys). Two lines from random articles: “I burned my titty on the oven rack” and “I want to eat fruit in the night and I am paralyzed by the choice” – only one of them is from Buzzfeed. Yeah, it was the first one, but it even took me a second to figure it out. And I picked out the quotes.
Throw aside the fact that they dumb everything down to ‘emotions’ like “LOL,” “OMG,” “FAIL,” “<3,” “WTF,” “WIN,” “CUTE,” “TRASHY,” “YAAASS,” “EW,” and the infamous “YES YALL” – a list which probably summarizes every older generation’s characterization of millenials. Slap anyone in the face who reminds you that they deleted almost 5000 articles off their site without telling anyone because they had essentially plagiarized (more surprising was how they actually had a title called Viral Politics Editor). Aim a blind eye (the Jonah Peretti syndrome) to how their reader community literally writes entire pieces for them, and they think that anyone cares about Jason Derülo’s whimsical musings (I haven’t forgotten about you motherfucker) that’s essentially a glorified game of word association (seriously Mr. Catchphrase holds up a sign which they refuse to transcribe). Ignore how they’re the most distrusted source in news, more than the huge sack of urine and soldier-hating, slut-shaming, Parkinson-dismissing ignoramus that is Rush Limbaugh. Forget that Google Docs’ artificial-intelligence-of-dead-writers feature can write better than Buzzfeed writers (although, passing a Buzzfeed article through a shredder and randomly rearranging the pieces can probably produce something more coherent). Pass on the fact that there are click count meters fastened to a crucifix in every writer’s cubicle (not sure that’s entirely a joke). Even with all that, you can’t turn your back on this headline: “Jaime Camil Reacts To Totally Normal, Everyday Situations.” Not only are they insulting our intelligence by assuming we care who the hell Jaime Camil is, they’re showing their self-importance by depicting him as the standard of how to react to things, acting like they’re funny by saying that these GIFs are for the ages (hilarious), and presuming that they know you by including the word “react” in the title so it pseudo-counts as your daily exercise. Plus, the “normal, everyday situations”… they’ve punched through the bottom of the content barrel so hard that they’re finding alternative ways to describe the word LIFE. The worst part? You still clicked that, didn’t you?
Quick tangent: GIFs are useful. They’re also pronounced GIF, and not GIF. They are Guh-raphics Interchange Format, not Juh-raphics Interchange Format. The latter would be a GIF of a giraffe. My problem with them is that by using a GIF, you’re admitting that you have neither the creative ability nor the wherewithal to describe the emotions or the message that the GIF is expressing. Which is somewhat troubling, when you realize that the majority of them on Buzzfeed are just people saying something. I don’t need to see someone’s face mouthing words that I can’t hear. And pictures are oftentimes worse. Sometimes they’ll have a sentence with the words “United States” in it, and then include a US map right below it in case you didn’t know what they were talking about. (I don’t actually have a source for that reference, but neither does Buzzfeed for any of theirs, so fuck you) On this article about Kit Harrington, which has his name in the title and includes it twice in the actual piece, takes up more space with pictures of him than actual text. Just in the event that you forgot what he looked like while reading all that un-original writing. Seriously, my fingers cramp up from the amount of scrolling I have to do.
But this is what we get. This is what we deserve for letting these people use us as a springboard to gain millions of dollars, and become a flagship brand of popularity despite the dearth of talent. This is the door we’ve opened, when someone doesn’t have to develop a skill or be a good writer to be popular. The fascination with it is similar to how you’d be attracted to a statue of a naked nymph – you recognize that it can be attractive, you may even look at it once in a while, but you really don’t want anything to do with it. That’s a weird re-definition for popularity.
tl;dr – This isn’t Buzzfeed. Read the whole damn thing for once.