Buzzfeed, Upworthy? Falling down the social media rabbit hole....

Derek Mehraban's picture
Instructor
3/11/2014
Facebook, Social Media

Consider sharing it with your friends.

You see them. You click on them. You are hooked on Buzzfeed, Upworthy, Huffpost and more. But why? Are these sensationalist stories really worth reading? How far do you follow the clicks down the rabbit hole to more content?

These sites are posting original content, but is it worth your time? If you follow the money trail it's there and Buzzfeed for one is a large partner with Facebook. 

How do you think content like this will evolve? How do you like reading it? Do the sensationalist headlines bother you? Enquiring minds want to know.

 

photo credit: Ian Sane via photopin cc

Comments & Feedback

Student

I personally am a huge fan of Buzzfeed! I think content and sharable content that is provided will evolve in a very efficent manner. I have always been a fan of sesational sites and so headlines from them do not bother me at all! Overall, I love the "rabbit hole", it often is better pastime hobby compared to mobile games!

Student

Websites like Buzzfeed is pretty new to me. I started to read articles on it a year ago because some friends were sharing them on Facebook. Right after I clicked through the link, I discovered the addicted charm of this website. There are tons of fun articles on it with ranges you can even imagine. There are unlimited links you can find. Right after one article, there are hundreds relevant ones waiting for my attentions. And those intriguing titles just make people never stop and end up spending hours scooping about other's lives. Even though I know that it is not a good habit to get hang on it, I even download the app on my cellphone to kill time while waiting for bus or in the lines. The reason why it is so irresistible is that the contents are worth to pay attention for. It is all about contents. It increases time spent by keeping providing other links. If those links are boring then no one will continue reading. So Buzzfeed is one of the best proof that content marketing is the trend. 

 

Student

BuzzFeed is highly addicting, clicking link after link for hours without relizing it. As fun as it is can you really trust the information you are getting? I have no idea which articles are factual which are exagerated and which are straight up untrue. I do not think buzzfeed will gain more credibility any time soon.

Student

I never even heard of or came across Buzzfeed until my family and friends started sharing articles from it on facebook and twitter. Personally, Buzzfeed to me is just an easy distraction from homework and work. Sometimes they are interesting to read, most of the time they are not. It is like reading a magazine but way shorter and has more pictures. Buzzfeed is just so addicting especially when an article somes across on your news feed even if its something I am not even interested in I usually end up reading some of it. It is very entertaining and sometimes informational. 

Student

I personally am a big fan of BuzzFeed. Although I know most of their articles may not be based on facts and are just entertaining. I think this website will keep being successful because so many people enjoy articles they may relate to regarding friendships or romantic relationships. For me I click on titles that relate to my lfe situation at the time.

With having Facebook as a partner, there is no stopping BuzzFeed, with scrolling of timelines and the boredom of most young adults why not click on the newest BuzzFeed article?

Student

Sometimes I get so distracted by reading content like this and I follow link after link to learn more and by the time I end up at a dead end I forget where I even started. I think it’s great to stay entertained, but honestly I do not think that it is worth the time to read. Some of the content is interesting and informative, but I find myself clicking on the sensationalist headlines that are usually misleading. Buzzfeed is also notorious for posting a picture with the ridiculous headline that makes me click on it and read through the article, even though that photo that hooked me into it isn’t anywhere to be seen in the article. This content has already evolved from being funny, entertaining stories, to now mostly quizzes like “What character from Sex and the City are you?” and pictures of cats. There are so many lists filling up these sites now that I don’t even bother clicking on them anymore. At first I was intrigued, but now I try my best to avoid the distraction. 

 

Student

Buzzfeed is the magazine that you pick up at the airport because you need an easy read. It provides fun pop culture post as well as brief information about current events. It interacts with readers and caters to their needs. Sites like this aren't meant to challenge you and provide indepth articles from reports deep behind enemy lines, its a fun way to interact with friends and waste down time. It seems only natural that Buzzfeed or Huffpost would come around it evolved from the constant quizes, pass on notes, and pins that social media has always engaged in. It was only a matter of time before they tried to make it credible. 

Student

Although i think that most of us know that sites like Buzfeed and Upworthy usually will not teach us anything, we always find ourselves on the site time after time. I think this is because in a world that is so face paced it is easy to see a silly article that will only take up 4 minutes of your time. We see no harm in viewing these articles time and time again, however, what we do not see is that it is a huge waste of our time. I honestly do not want to think about the amount of time I’ve spent on these websites because I know I could be doing other things that are much more productive. Unfortunately, I think this is just how our society works right now. We spend hours online on website like Facebook and Buzfeed but in the end we don’t really gain anything from these hours wasted.

Student

I am a fan of buzzfeed. I like how the topics on that website is diverse and not related to a single topic. It is not a news page but random stories on various topics. I think this kind of websites have tremendous potential to grow and evolve. Peoples always need something to read about which relaxes them and is for fun and these websites cater to that need. I like reading their article but the thing that interests me the most is taking buzzfeed quizzes. They are fun and relaxing.

 

Student

Sites like Buzzfeed are entertaining and share content that's different, and I think that's why we like them.  Now, with that said, there are only so many quizzes, so many "What character are you?" games, so many funny GIFS, that we can enjoy before we ultimately become bored.  And I think Buzzfeed recognizes that.  

That's why it seems like there are more and more real news articles starting to pop up on sites like Buzzfeed.  Buzzfeed stories are appearing up in Google News searches.  Will Buzzfeed ever be a 'go-to' news source?  Probably not.  But they recognize they won't last forever if they only share silly content.  One way to evolve is to start sharing actual news.  

Student

Unfortunately, I always find myself wasting my time reading these articles. And, as a matter of fact, the headlines are what draw me in. In the past year, buzzfeed articles have been covering my news feed, posted by all my facebook friends. I think content like this has to evolve because I find that many of these posts are very similar in content and nature. I have already found myself getting tired othe the "same ole, same ole" with buzzfeed posts, so I believe they will HAVE to evolve in order to stick around.

Student

I never used buzzfeed but i think its really depend on people who enjoy using the buzzfeed. People will use buzzfeed if they like the community there and the posts if its intrigues you. I personally like to read the original content on reddit. I think what attracts the users is the headlines so i think there is nothing wrong with sensationalist headlines. However, i don't like when people exaggerate the title too much so i click the content because of the headine but the actual content itself is not even related to the headlines or the title. I will probably more cautious about using sensationalist headlines because some people are really sensitive about the headlines.

Student

I haven't personally used Buzzfeed much, because I prefer to see most of the content I'm reading up-front and organized. However, I do see the appeal of the website's interactive nature. For those interested in brisk reading, I think Buzzfeed holds a lot of promise. You might have to prepare for some slow stories too, but what site doesn't suffer from the occassional dud-page? 

Student

I personally enjoy Buzzfeed, I find it entertaining and definitely is the main websites and articles people I am friends with share all the time. I love the meme's and videos that go along with the hilarious captions, such as "You know it's finals week when..." OR: "You know you have senioritis when.." Things like that that can update where or what you are doing right now with your life and articles that explain what you are all about give entertainment for Facebook users other than just posting on eachothers walls and posting photos. I think eventually they may run out of clever things to write about before it gets boring or on to the next big thing, but for right now I enjoy it. 

Student

I am not a big buzzfeed reader, but I have really enjoyed the articles that I have read from buzzfeed. I see what people share on facebook, and if it interests me then I give it a read and it is always worth the time. Buzzfeed is a great study break and gives some very interested information whether it is motivational, funny, or serious. 

Student

For my own opinion, I don't think it is worth of time spending my time to read this article, but still there are many people follow this kind of stories. I don't think to follow this kind of article is stupid or wasting. As long as people spend good time by reading and sharing with other. Even playing games isn't the best option to spend time but there are so many people play all the different kind of games by their personal tastes. I believe following some ariticles, which don't seemed worth, is still worth it as long as the person like it. 

Student

I love the stories that are on Upworthy. A lot of my friends on Facebook share links to stories and 9 times out of 10 it grabs my attention. I have never subscribed to much in my life but I subscribed to receive emails from Upworthy because I liked their stories so much. I believe the content will evolve over time but it does not bother me because I genuinely love reading the stories and sharing it for others to enjoy. 

Student

The attracting headlines to get overused but the content is still interesting. I think more blogs will evolve into the list format, developing more reasons to get people to look at thier blogs. I am victim tot he lists, they serve a purporse mainly to get attention in my opinion. the content is interesting but it probably isn't worth the amount of time I give it. With all this said I still look the blogs and articles and spend time reading all their words.

Student

I love Huffington Post and use it as one my sources for news that is somewhat out of the ordinary or a little off the chart from the usual articles about war and politics. I don't really use Huffington Post on my computer, but rather through Twitter. When I scroll on my timeline past a news story with a captivating title, I click on it and investigate. If engaging enough, I read the article. I don't really read BuzzFeed articles unless a friend sends one to me directly or it's on my Facebook timeline. I find that I don't really have time to actively check all these "sensational" stories on my laptop, but rather when I'm on the go, hence Twitter for a quick update on what's important and popular.

Student

I often find myself in the middle of class looking at sites like Buzzfeed and Huffpost.  I think I do it because I am bored with nothing better to do, but they can be quite interesting at times.  Falling down the social media rabbitt hole is pretty easy to do, and for some reason or another, I find myself there a lot.  I'm not quite sure the reason, maybe it is the sensationlist headlines, but I think content like this is hear to say.  I do not think it takes much to get peoples' attention anymore these days, so it makes sense to me it isn't going anywhere too fast.

Student

Buzzfeed and Huffington Post are very entertaining sites that I occasionally read when my friends on Facebook share them.  However, while the headline usually lures me in the, the contents credibility usually keeps me from reading the whole article.  When this trend first started I read many of the article but some of the stories were so ridiculous that they stopped being of appeal to me.  I may be in the minority, but I appreciate real news from Fox or CNN rather than these sensational stories. 

Student

I think the draw isn't based on how much realism and validity the content has, but more so the interest pull it has. In a state of the web where content is easily made up, plagarized, etc., sites like these "sensationalist" story sites provide an interesting story, for readers who are looking to occupy their time a bit.

Student

Personally, I didn't know what is Buzzfeed before I read this article. I love to check some interesting news or article on Facebook, but I don't use Buzzfeed to check the current stories because I used my own national web engine to find articles or news. I think that Buzzfeed is the kind of big social website for Americans. If it maintains certain amount of users, it would become a famous social media like Facebook or Twitters.

Student

Personally, I love Buzzfeed.  It's a website that almost everyone can find something they relate to on.  I have caught myself sitting on it for hours, mostly because everything I read on it is relevant to my life and extremely humurous.  One of the reasons I always end up on their page is because of their intriguing headlines.  They are broad enough to reel anybody in, but they can also be specific enough to engage certain types of people.  It seems to be a page that always has something new to be writing about, so I think its audience will stay captivated for a long time.

Student

I like most of the people who click on the links that bring us to these stories are because they look entertaining. The story it self might be horrible and pointless but sometimes you just have to find out. I feel that content like this will continue to grow until the next big thing comes along that is entertaining and distracting. I feel that I will continue to read these stories because I do find them entertaining, so I guess when they stop being entertaining ill stop reading. For the sensationalist headlines, I like them. They get my attention, because they might be a really bad/stupid story but I still feel like I want to read it just based off the headline.

Student

I used to be entertained by Buzzfeed with their clever lists but now most of them are just annoying or not interesting. I am so sick of seeing people take the Buzzfeed quizzes of which GIRLS character are you or which breakfast cereal are you. Almost as bad- the lists of "Only 90's kids will remember these things" or "Things redheads are sick of hearing." This type of content seems like a huge waste of time and I seriously judge my friends that repost this crap.

I understand that they're trying to be funny and clever but most of this stuff is just junk. Maybe this just shows that I'm getting older and I'm no longer their target audience. I don't feel like sites like Buzzfeed will change to start producing content that interests all age groups and I don't think they should. For me, my preferences have evolved and I have changed where I seek content. 

Student

There is not much that grinds my gears more than when I open up a new browser window with the Yahoo homepage and the front 4 articles are worded so vaguely that I feel it is a requirement to click them. As much as I had these headlines, I have to commend the authors for essentially making me click them. I can't say that I support when website will word their headlines as to not give away too much information, but many times I wish they had because I feel like the time I spent to click them and read what actually happened, is a waste.

Student

I do not spend a lot of time on Facebook, but I do spend enough time to have Facebook lead me into Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed has some stories that interest me and then they have stories that get me intrigued. They definitely do not have the most "news worthy" stories but the stories are entertaining. Sometime I click on more content that leads to more and more content that I know I should just stop clicking on the next thing but it again intrigues me so sometimes I just cannot stop until I have to pull myself away from the computer. I think this content will keep evolving so sites like Buzzfeed will keep making more and more money.

Student

As someone who definitely spends too much time on Facebook, I am definitely in love with buzzfeed. Though not entirely the most credible and “news worthy” site Buzzfeed is so entertaining. I read article after article just for fun, but when it comes down to it its not really worth anyone’s time especially when there is an entre company, TMZ, committed to the same stuff that Buzzfeed posts.

 

Student

Untortunately, I see content provided by Buzzfeed pushing away real news or even worse, becoming the "Next Gen News". As you wrote, Buzzfeed is a strong presence in our Facebook feed. I want to discribe my statement above with an example. One week ago, I saw a post on my Facebook feed. The person was kicking off a serious debate regarding the occupation of Crimea by Russian troops. He attached a Buzzfeed-link to a really poor article about that issue on that website. This has nothing to do with news and can never be the groundwork for building an opinion. I mean, news are already found on websites squeezed in between "26 Lazy Girl Hairstyling Hacks" and "Which R&B Star Are You?" I'm afraid that next gen. readers won't see the difference between real events and irrelevant stuff on the mentioned websites. 

Student

I do not read BuzzFeed as much as others, but I still enjoy reading it when my friends share the content on social media. Sometimes their sensationalist headlines bother me, but I actually think their website will get much popular in the future. Probably the main reason is their biggest alliance, social media, will maintain power, and contents on BuzzFeed  will be still shared by people who use social media. I expect their content may expand near future to include adult content. They will required to sign-in, but this will ultimately increase their site traffic, and the number of users.    

Student

I love Buzzfeed. However, I don't think I've ever typed in buzzfeed.com into my search box. The only way I'll read an article is if it's relevant to me and my lifestyle. For example, hen I see articles such as "32 things only people from New Jersey would know" that one of my friends shared on Facebook, I need to look at it. For the most part, and by most part I mean about 90% of the time, the authors are spot on with what they're trying to say. If you think about it, the buzzfeed articles are trying to connect with a certain type of audience. The authors know exactly who their audience is, but they don't KNOW who they are. They know that they are trying to get people who share similar characteristics to read their articles. Buzzfeed, as long as people are sharing content on Facebook will be here to stay.

Student

I am constantly coming across articles and the like from sites like buzzfeed. Especially when I scrolling through my facebook. About 7 out of 10 times at least one of the articles will catch my attention and I feel the need to click on the articles and take time to read them. I like the fact that they are interesting enough to grab my attention and distract me for a least a little bit on something other the stresses of my daily life.

Student

The world of Buzzfeed is a way for me to escape from doing school work. I think this content has a future of evolving through social media by implementing political campaigns on to their website content. This would help bring about a younger generation of viewers to political campaigns and make it more interactive as well. I like reading Buzzfeed posts because they involve few words and many pictures. They are able to keep my interest for a long period of time due to these reasons. The headlines do not bother me, rather they keep my interest high.

Student

I don't check on Buzzfeed that much, but I do follow Huffington Post on twitter and check their site. They do post current/political/important news stories, but I admit I click the puffy entertaining stories way more often. I think it is curiosity over anything else. You see a headline with a celebrity you enjoy, and a tagline with something scandalous, often you can't help yourself put to take a minute and check the article out. I'm notorious for "falling down the rabit hole" too, clicking related link after link and ending up somewhere on the page you didn't intend, as well as forgetting why you're on the site to begin with. I don't see these kinds of articles or content going away any time soon. It brings in a lot of readers to the site, and that means more money. 

Student
Student

BuzzFeed definitely has interesting stories and catchy headlines that many are attracted to, but I feel like their content has lacked what it once had when they first started.  I sometimes watch BuzzFeed videos now, and think that they are really well done.  I do question the authenticity and facts in some of the articles however, and wonder about how much fact checking is actually done.  I see Huffington Post as a more credible source, but think that some of their news articles are written just to attract more readership.  I appreciate news sources that report the facts and real story, but its hard to know what is credible vs. what is not in the black hole of the internet.

Student

Buzzfeed content is just structured really well to pertain to younger people and people who have a low attention span. They are so easily accessable through their website and Facebook that you can't help but not read. The topics of most articles are interesting... But reader worth? Some yes, and the others no. They do have a really good rep of coming up with good lists that keep their audience on there page, or as you said shoots them further down the "rabbit hole".

Student

For me personally, Buzzfeed articles and other articles of this sort draw me in because they are so easily accessible. Whether it is the way the lists draw readers in, or the attractive headlines, I am always interested. They absolutely do this on purpose. People are busy and the articles are structured in a form that is convenient for anyone who just wants to get right to the point. The information is easily displayed right in front of one's eyes. I think this is the direction that all content will evolve to resemble. When you think about it, Twitter has influenced our social world to slim down to a simple 140 characters. Information is quickly shared and this is what works.  

Student

I found out about Buzzfeed from social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. A handful of my friends were posting articles with interesting and eye-grabbing headlines, that it was nearly impossible not to click on them. Majority of the posts were comical to read, so I downloaded the Buzzfeed application on my phone; however, it got to a point where it was too addicting, so I deleted it. Now, the only time I go on their site is when my friends post something I just cannot help but to click on. 

Student

To me Buzzfeed is like reading a magazine but better. All the stuff I want to read about and not the extra junk. I get to click on the articles I want to read and skip over the stuff I dont. They are also localized, I love reading about Detroit and new and upcoming restuarants.

Student

Sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy often catch my attention while I’m perusing other social media sites like Facebook.  The content is usually entertaining and the headlines are absolutely what draws me in.  Though, I will admit that I rarely, almost never, go directly to those sites, I am always taken there through a post that I see on Facebook or Twitter.  I don’t believe that these sites will decrease in popularity; in fact, I think it is still growing.  These shorter, quick read with illustration type articles are becoming the source of news for many young people.  These types of articles must get frustrating for the official and more sophisticated news-producing companies, seeing as Buzzfeed is often filled with “Why you should go out every weekend in your 20’s” type articles. As long as the readers understand that these sites are not the most complex and news worthy publications, I think all will be well in the journalist world.

 

Student

I am hooked on Buzzfeed and Huffpost and I do think that these sites are definitely worth of my time.  Medias like Buzzfeed and Huffpost provide a more convenient way to expand your knowledge in comparison to the traditional newspaper because they display interesting news right where you spent your time.  Many people these days spent their time looking at their phones or computer to check their facebook newsfeed and twitter.  Buzzfeed and Huffpost takes advantage of this behavior by displaying short and catchy phrases that would trigger a click.  In response to the title of this post, I admit that I am addicted to content on Buzzfeed and Huffpost, but I haven't seen any negative side effect from my addiction.

Student

I personally love Buzzfeed and all the information it spreads. In the world of social media nowadays, it's hard for information to go around nowadays since people don't really read the news so it's a great alternative, in my personal opinion, to plain old news reading. It is incredibly entertaining and gets people interested in its contents so I think buzzfeed is doing a good job.

Student

I hate to admit it, but these links that so many people post always catch my attention, even more than the real, news-worthy articles that very few of my Facebook friends share.  I will admit that it's because I know that they will usually consist of some entertaining list of suggestions and opinions on a wide variety of subjects and will pretty much consistently go over well with the majority of people that see my facebook page. However, as I'm reading them, I can't help but think, "how much of this is true?".  All of these so-called lists of fact are entertaining and informative, but from what I can tell, it doesn't take much to get a post on there and who knows how much true, legitimate fact-checking goes on? I think that once people start realizing that not everything you read on a buzzfeed list should actually be used as a guide to living life or a source of real world news, the popularity of these sites will start to dwindle, that is assuming that the majority ever realize this. I'm not trying to say I don't love scrolling through these lists when I'm bored throughout the day, but I also try to remind myself that, just because someone posted a list of "Why you should/shouldn't be single in your 20's" doesn't mean that its's something you should live by and believe in without at least some further independent thought. I'm hoping there starts to be a larger incline in the factual quality of this type of content and not just a bunch of people posting a list of someone else's ideas.

Student

using buzzfeed method is a easier and more interesting way to get useful information. I usually go with the buzzfeed method, because in my opinion the upworth takes more time and requires more knowledge. (which i had to know before i get a result) Therefore, due to convinence and comfortness cause buzzfeed is a more powerful and direct way.

Student

These articles usually catch my attention. I do admit that I probably click and read through at least 3-5 of them a day. The used to interest me more, but now that they are on facebook constantly I click them more out of bordom than actual interest. The articles become repetitive often focusing on similar topics and using the same gifs in each "25 things a _____ loves" list. They are fun, but I think eventually people will get bored with them again and they will fade out leaving room for a new social media trend! 

Student

These sites always have the ability to suck me in and pull me down the rabbit hole. They provide me with information that i would likely not find out unless it was for these sites such as buzzfeed and upworthy. I actually love these sites becuase i love knowing these pointless random facts on topics otherwise nobody will care about and its easy to for these weird facts to make you lose track of time.

Student

I am on sites like Buzzfeed, and Upworthy all the time. They provide entertainment and knowledge. It might not be stuff you need to know, but it is stuff you probably wouldn't think of looking up yourself. I think it gives people who are already on the internet a good break from the actual work they are doing. I think everybody feels good about themselves when they learn new things. It has so many different categories too, so no matter how you are feeling, there is something there for you. I love the fact there are suggestions of articles that you might also like and I very much enjoy going down the rabbit hole. 

Student

Nowadays, people can barely work without Internet as well as get entertainment. Buzzfeed is a easy way to get new funny information or "knowledge" so called. Unlike active seeking for infomation, buzzfeed can save people's time for searching, moreover, they usually have interesting title which can draw audience's attention. Although some content are useless, people still feel like thay have learned something.

Derek Mehraban's picture
Instructor
3/11/2014
Facebook, Social Media