Buzzfeed. Citizen news portal. Decentralized content center. Clickbait specialist. Buzzfeed may be all of those things and more depending on who you ask. It is definitely a curious mix of quality journalism, poor journalism, high quality and low quality content. It also features unashamed clickbait and sometimes reads like an advertorial rather than serious journalism. Despite all that, Buzzfeed is something of a phenomenon.
So what are those ten things everyone should know about Buzzfeed?
One of the cool things about Buzzfeed is that it isn’t like other news outlets. It doesn’t have a party line to toe or an agenda to follow. The decentralized nature of its content means things get said as the creator intended which can be irreverent as well as serious.
Buzzfeed employs over 1,300 people in 18 offices across the world. So while citizen journalism is a driver, the company doesn’t leave all the hard work to the public. There are writers, editors and content managers as well as the technical people to keep the site working.
Buzzfeed is published in 11 different localized editions including the U.S., U.K., Germany, Spain, France, Spain, India, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and Japan. While everything is available everywhere if you like your news closer to home, this is where you can find it.
4. Sponsored content not advertising
Buzzfeed is one of the few outlets to earn their cash through sponsored content and not purely from advertising. This makes it one of the more forwarding thinking of the news organizations. With adblockers growing in popularity, it’s the way forward until the advertising industry gets their act together.
5. Create as well as read
Buzzfeed also encourages you to create something newsworthy as well as just consume it. Click the More link in the top menu and select Make a Post. Log in, fill in a few details and create your story. It is literally that easy. The editorial team will presumably check it before it publishes but it has never been easier to get your news out there.
6. It isn’t just kitten videos anymore
When Buzzfeed first launched it was little more than kitten videos and images of movie stars. Fortunately and for the benefit of all of us, it quickly moved on to cover all aspects of our lives. It is even spending a lot of screen real estate covering the presidential elections right now and is all the better for it.
7. Buzzfeed counts its users in the millions
According to Buzzfeed, the site receives 7 billion unique views and over 200 million unique visitors, with 75% of them coming directly from social media. That’s quite impressive given how picky we can be about our browsing habits.
8. 45 distribution channels
It’s decentralized nature means Buzzfeed appears everywhere and sources its content from everywhere. The network uses 45 different channels, including social media, Buzzfeed apps, partners, messaging apps, video websites and other sources. This provides massive reach for the organization which helps with those reader numbers.
9. Buzzfeed is changing online media for the better (mostly)
One thing Buzzfeed does very well is challenge the traditional media model. Say what you like about the quality, but the concentration on coverage, diversity, popularity and advertorial content is shaking up the way media companies across the world view news.
10. Buzzfeed is worth revisiting if you tried them before
Early Buzzfeed was trash. Pervasive advertising, poor quality content, low editorial standards and masses of clickbait. While some of those elements remain, the site has improved exponentially since those early days. It certainly isn’t a place for ‘sensible’ journalism but it is worth spending a little time there.