Is BuzzFeed close to burnout?

Which Vladimir Putin are you? Apparently I am Warrior Putin: “You came to power vowing to “wipe [terrorists] out in the shithouse,” and you’ve never looked back since. Islamic insurgents across the Caucasus squeal when they hear your name. And one steely stare from you is all it takes to scare NATO off moving its missile shields a step closer to your borders. Glory to Russia!”

What city should you actually live in? Apparently I should actually live in Portland, Oregon. Having seen a series of Portlandia, I’m not convinced…

Which arbitrary thing are you? Apparently I am a box of hangers (not hangars – that would require a very big box). BuzzFeed says: “You’re a box of hangers! Maybe you’ll come in handy one day. You’re persistent, ever present. You’re always there, lurking. Your purpose in life is clear, though not always necessary.”


In the world of Buzzfeed, I have to be one of a number of Vladimir Putins. It simply won’t do to not be Mr Putin at all. I should, apparently, actually live in Portland rather than just outside London, even though my job is in London, my baby son lives in Epsom, my post arrives there, and my wife would presumably be living in Cape Town, which is where Buzzfeed reckons she should ‘actually live’. And due to my persistent, lurking, purposeful but unnecessary existence, it seems I am a box of hangers.

Thanks to BuzzFeed, I’ve been able to shortcut a lot of self-analysis. No need to navigate these tricky questions, as a quick multi-choice quiz has revealed the startling truth about core aspects of my being.

Except there is no meaningful truth here at all. The quizzes (and many of the interminable lists) are banal, revealing nothing valuable about the state of our world or our selfish being. They are conceived of a light-bulb moment in the BuzzFeed office, born a few hours later, posted on Twitter and Facebook (and God knows where else), shared ad nauseum and then shunted aside nanoseconds later to make way for the next clickbait.

Maybe I’m late to the party, but I’m pretty sure I hadn’t heard of BuzzFeed six months ago, even though it launched in 2006. In recent months it seems to have gone viral. Sometimes it seems like every other viral link lands on BuzzFeed. There is a danger of saturation. And when the headline oversells the product (very often) there is a danger web-surfers will be disappointed once too often, especially when the destination page is littered with bizarre and irrelevant two-second GIF animations. Make them stop!

In desperation, every BuzzFeed headline seems to cry “14 amazing reasons you should click right here!” Follow the herd into the abyss of internet pointlessness! All too often there is simply nothing to see here.

I’m convinced we are at peak BuzzFeed. Unless there is a change of pace to recognise this, burnout beckons.

Update (9.45pm, 11 Feb 2014): We really are at ‘peak BuzzFeed’. My good friend Adam Swann has alerted me to this: The Definitive Ranking of Poop. It’s a list of 14 (it would be 14, wouldn’t it).

This simply cannot be bettered.

Spicy Fire Poop

According to BuzzFeed, “Spicy fire poop is pretty funny after the fact, but it’s never a fun experience. At least you’ll have something to talk about at work tomorrow.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s