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4 Reasons 'Viral' Content Stopped Mattering in 2013

Stashed in: BuzzFeed!, Upworthy!, Content is king., Viral Content

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So much truth in this post!


2. No One Cares

Throughout this article and in this section in particular, it's going to seem like I'm picking on BuzzFeed, but I assure you that's only because I totally fucking am. Not because BuzzFeed is the only offender here, or even the worst offender (as I've pointed out in the past, they actually do great political journalism and interviews). But they are certainly the most popular offender, with the most "content," so I'm focusing on them. Also, they do things like take an article of ours from 2009 and turn it into a video of theirs from 2013. Also? Just in general, I have a fond dislike of them and their lists.

Now, we at Cracked are obviously no stranger to the list, in the same way that strangers are no stranger to people they know. In all honesty, we were one of the first sites to start using the list format, and their popularity web-wide is probably at least partly due to our success (and according to Slate, we're the best at it). Cracked, of course, didn't invent the list -- that was done by the first human who thought of a second thing -- but Cracked did realize early on that people tend to click on lists more than anything else. Unfortunately for a lot of sites out there, setting something up like a list still doesn't mean your content contains anything.

buzzfeed without gifs

That's from a blog I run, BuzzFeed Without GIFs, and it's exactly like it sounds. As each post proves, it doesn't matter if you slap the number 18 at the beginning of your list. What you're producing is still essentially just a single paragraph from a 5th-grader's journal entry. And honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the teacher gave it a check minus, because there's so little thought that goes into this stuff. So little care. It's churned out as quickly as possible, with little planning and no viewpoint. It's whyarticles about Saved by the Bell characters don't actually say anything about the characters. They just say that the characters existed. They never say anything about the '90s, they just want you to remember them. Over and over and over, until every week or so, there's a new post about how Tamagotchis were once a thing.

I'm so reluctant to click on BuzzFeed and Upworthy URLs these days.

I've been fooled by them too many times to trust their brands.

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