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How Buzzfeed went from cat pictures to the hub of politics on the web

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"IT’S EASY TO FORGET that eight months ago BuzzFeed didn’t even have a politics section. The website was known primarily for posting goofy and/or heart-warming lists created expressly for readers to share on social-media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Among the most popular BuzzFeed articles of 2011 were “20 Alcoholic Beverages Inspired By The Harry Potter Series,” “Basset Hounds Running,” and “Scared Bros at a Haunted House.” ...

...Eight months later, under Smith’s direction, the website’s politics vertical (which is just tech-speak for “section”) draws several million unique visitors a month. Many of its reporters are regulars on cable news, and nearly all of them are central to the political conversation on Twitter. Even The New York Times recognizes BuzzFeed’s power: It will be co-producing videos with the site at both parties’ conventions. "

I'm unconvinced that politics are good for growing on the Internet.

PandaWhale has a significant number of posts about politics, and they're consistently the least-read pages around here.

Lifehacks, lolcats, sports, videos, and Oppa Gangnam Style are all way more popular to read and share.

I don't think real political news is as mainstream as most of what you listed. The flip side of that is those who are into politics are often very highly engaged, passionate community members who devote a good amount of time to the subject -- kinda like rabid sports fans.

For Pandawhale, probably not worth the opportunity cost to invest in, but if you can get them it probably pays high dividends in engagement.

Agreed and agreed.

I also note that BuzzFeed's bread and butter is still those cute and funny image montages.

There's a place for respectful, researched, well-reasoned political discussion, and it's not the Internet.

FoRK died because of political parroting, willful ignorance, and disrespectful bombast sucking up all the oxygen.

Tell me more, because I missed the last decade of FoRK while I was distracted with other things.

Politics has become a polarized, shouting match. We're fast becoming a totalitarian democracy where every life decision is weighed against political principles.

The truth is, most people might be interested in an issue or two of the day, but have become inoculated by the non-stop barrage of half-truths, exaggerations, and insider small-ball one-upmanship of some political elite class that has no relevance to day to day life.

Other than political junkies--a social class of their own with certain types of cravings--people really don't care. Hell, simply expressing your simple, own opinion got to the point that you were opened up to hostile criticism and allegations of conspiracy. It became easy, very quickly, just not to participate.

So FoRK became a small but real representation of America itself?

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