| is buzzfeed killing off traditional article writing?

17:28

Is anyone else growing a little tired of the endless articles shared by your peers on Facebook or Twitter? You know the ones. "27 Reasons you know you're single", "9 Signs you spend too much time with your cat", "5 Reasons you need to stop procrastinating". And then the flurry of comments that follow as you stalk observe your feed. "OMG! So true!!!" "Hahaha this is soooo us".

There are a few reasons why this style of article grate me. Buzzfeed is one of the biggest culprits causing the popularity of such articles. The endless lists of GIFS, and tiny captions are first on my list. Is it really that hard to include a least a few lines of text in these articles? To give "readers" any literacy value at all? The audience is offered tired and over-used GIFS from Friends, Mean Girls etc to support the point made. Is this how a point in an article is supposed to be supported these days? What happened to literary evidence, or a link of some sort? The other issue is that these kind of articles are addictive. I'm not saying at all that I'm not impartial to a Buzzfeed article, if it's relevant. But like many websites, at the bottom of the post they'll list plenty of posts exactly like it, meaning you'll suddenly realise you've spent 3 hours scrolling through pointless lists of images and tiny captions.

This leads me to wonder, have websites become lazier with their articles? A prime example of this is Glamour and Cosmopolitans' sites. They've even jumped on the bandwagon with "9 things.." to pull in their readers on Twitter. I respect both publications for some of their articles in their magazines, so why should they feel like they need to pander to the younger generation, who arguably are more targeted for shorter and less text-based articles? Social media has impacted profoundly on young people's attention spans, it would seem, as perhaps writers assume now that we do not have the time and patience to read through a 500 word article.  

Another type of article that seems to have become popular online is the "He was just an ordinary boy.. but you'll NEVER guess what happens next!" Basically a tag line that attempts to pull in readers apparently dying in suspense. And most commonly, it's a video or a legitimate image of some boy being nice to a cat in the street. I get so irritated when people share these too, because if you decide to click on the article the result is always pretty disappointing. I'm all for positive press, to remind us that mankind can still be a nice species among those evil minorities, but why bother with the vague headlines? They always make me suspicious that I'll be taken to a dodgy website where I'll be conned into giving away my money and family.

Websites just like Buzzfeed have cropped up all over the Internet, and they seemed to have increased in popularity. Editors know the power of people sharing funny or "shocking" articles, they receive increased views and carry on publishing mundane articles to feed the masses who seem to not be bothered to read an article which doesn't have an animated gif in it. But what effect does this have on the young and ever-connected generation who can't seem to part from technology? This reduces our forever declining exposure to literature, if we're not reading actual books or reading anything online other than tweets, then what on earth ARE we reading?

What do you think of these type of articles? Will trends change again? Thanks for reading! xx


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4 comments

  1. Buzzfeed articles are starting to become SO repetitive; it's like they've run out of ideas. Can't stand the one where they try to be funny and sardonic by saying "10 reasons why you should never visit ____"

    www.lunarlook.blogspot.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. They're so predictable as well! Especially the ones relating to student life as well. Yeah those ones have so little thought and imagination put into them!

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  2. I've never actually thought about it but you're right! Especially those WHAT HAPPENS NEXT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND type of articles. Stop, just stop.

    I don't mind Buzzfeed as they've build a brand by that type of content but I hate that so many other news feeds do the same thing. Not much originality left.

    Tess
    www.thelyricstolife.com

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  3. "Five reasons why Buzzfeed articles annoy me!" haha

    This is true though, it's as if they think people aren't smart enough or don't have the attention span to even read a one-page article.

    It makes sense that people have busy lives and don't have time to read the long articles, but surely if it's interesting enough, people will find the time to read regardless of length.

    Unfortunately, the more popular these kinds of lists become - I must admit I'm guilty of scrolling through pages and pages of these lists - the more other companies will jump on the bandwagon.

    Josh
    http://placesivebean.wordpress.com/

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