November 7, 2014
Jon Stewart was asked about BuzzFeed and Vice the other day, and had this to say:
“I scroll around, but when I look at the internet, I feel the same as when I’m walking through Coney Island,” Stewart told New York magazine. “It’s like carnival barkers, and they all sit out there and go, ‘Come on in here and see a three-legged man!’ So you walk in and it’s a guy with a crutch.”
…it suggests that Stewart, like many people in the media industry, confuses what we do with true clickbait. We have admittedly (and at times deliberately) not done a great job of explaining why we have always avoided clickbait at BuzzFeed
The article goes on to talk about how the curiosity gap, the origins of clickbait in television cliffhangers (‘find out after the break’), and defends Buzzfeed’s titles as explanatory rather than the vague clickbait found elsewhere online.
The top comment on the article is a single link: a search of Buzzfeed’s articles looking for the phrase “you won’t believe”. And the list is marvellous.
You won’t believe Snowdonia is in Wales, you won’t believe that two recent pop songs can be mashed up, you won’t believe that fashion can date, that raccoons climb trees, that vader is the Dutch word for father, that Ireland is green, that people can be afraid of things, that food doesn’t require meat to taste nice, that wrestlers wear silly costumes, that bodies of water can freeze in winter, and that lots of people used to watch Friends.
You could probably title it: “You won’t believe the things Buzzfeed thinks you won’t believe“.