The BuzzFeed Affliction

by Alex Kaufman

Have you ever wondered how annoying you are on Instagram? How about what dark magical creature you are most like? You can find out the answer to these and more on Buzzfeed, of course! (In case you were wondering, I’m #instagood and a dark sorcerer).

While BuzzFeed may seem to be all fun and games, it has also become widely accepted as a news source for the millennial generation.

“BuzzFeed is very entertaining; but that’s all it is. It can be a good distraction and procrastination tool, but content-wise I don't trust it as a news source,” said junior psychology major, Zoe Spears.

Facebook feeds are now littered with content from BuzzFeed, making it often overwhelming and an ever-present entity in our social media ridden lives.

“It’s funny and relies on pictures to tell stories which is why it has so many followers,” Spears said.

The imagery and culturally relevant content certainly grabs the college-age demographic, and is tries to educate them as well. BuzzFeed has a tab devoted entirely to news, with articles written in a way that younger demographics like – short.

According to The Guardian, BuzzFeed “divides a world of news into zippy segments, lists, [and] alluring questions,” where people are able to quickly scan articles for pertinent facts. With most of our generation’s thoughts and opinions summed up into 140 characters or less, our shortening attention spans require small bytes of information that won’t quickly lose our interest.

BuzzFeed seems like the perfect solution to the short attention span problem.

“[BuzzFeed] allows people to feel like there’s a nice packet of useful information that they can share with others,” said Jonah Berger, professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

“Their Breaking News updates were some of the most helpful tools I found online regarding the Boston Bombing last year. They reported the facts and updated when any other occurrences happened, and didn't speculate or guess what was happening (like CNN and FOX both did, embarrassingly enough),“ said junior screenwriting major, Melissa Taverrite.

However, while BuzzFeed has been a great news source for some, other students beg to differ.

“Because its popularity is based on being comedy, not on the credibility of its sources, stories don’t always focus on delivering an unbiased perspective to its reader. I find BuzzFeed news articles hard to trust,” said Spears.

Spears is not the only student who shares this sentiment.

"I don't necessarily go on Buzzfeed for breaking news but I think it's a fun site for entertainment and quizzes," said sophomore psychology major, Nikki Winkler.

While BuzzFeed is gaining its footing as a hard hitting news source, it looks like it will still be the go-to site for a listical of cat memes, and not an update on the political race.

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