Internet Culture

BuzzFeed Publishes Style Guide, Teaches Us How To Spell ‘Vine-ing’

"Post a Vine" and "Use Vine" are also acceptable.

(Facebook)

(Facebook)

Somewhere in between publishing all those crazily addictive and horribly inaccurate quizzes (we are SO not the cheers beers emoji), BuzzFeed published a style guide. They’re hoping to standardize the way we write stuff on the Internet. 

The style guide clarifies important spelling-related quandaries, like “baby daddy, baby mama (two words),” and “chocolaty (not ‘chocolatey’)” (we’re not sure if we agree with that one).  It also outlines the acceptable terminology for covering various specific, relevant topics, like LGBT issues, music and recipes. Finally, it outlines an extensive corrections policy.

Now, BuzzFeed isn’t exactly the New York Times. Besides the fact that it publishes articles like “31 Grilled Cheeses That Are Better Than A Boyfriend” and “10 Pictures That Prove Bruno Mars Is Actually Powerline From ‘A Goofy Moovie’,” people have also frequently questioned the originality of the site’s material, and accused it of stealing other people’s photographs. For these reasons and more, some people might not think BuzzFeed deserves to determine the “prevailing, and evolving, set of standards for the internet and social media.”

But on the other hand, this style guide is useful. We’ve never before had style guidelines remotely suitable for the digital age—heck, the AP Stylebook isn’t even freely available online. It also took the AP a really long time to change “Web site” to “website,” and “e-mail” to “email.” Tbh, it doesn’t really make sense that bloggers still rely so heavily on the AP for guidance, when its authors probably haven’t even like, sent a snap.

And whether you’re a fan of listicles or not, you have to admit that BuzzFeed is a major player in how we consume news. The site is the highest ranking news outlet on Quantcast, coming in at number 12 with almost 70 million monthly unique views. The Huffington Post is next, at 14, and the New York Times ranks 49th. Thanks to the site’s wide range in coverage from Harry Potter quizzes to the latest Internet memes to major political news scoops, it’s hard to think of another outlet that’s better suited to establishing online style rules.

Anyway, we think it’s kind of nice having someone officially confirm that “Twitterstorm” is a totally legitimate phrase. But come on, BuzzFeed—”Vitaminwater?”

Follow Jordyn Taylor on Twitter or via RSS. jtaylor@observer.com