Off the Media

Chasing Ghosts: ‘Attention Minutes’ Are Voodoo, CPM is Still What Counts

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Though we often criticize sites like Huffington Post and Buzzfeed for their do-anything-for-clicks mentality, deep down we know it’s not really their fault. It’s the advertisers who also make this trade lucrative. The way publishers see it, they are just fulfilling a need.

I’ve been there myself. I know that pageviews are a terrible metric for measuring “quality”—I’ve compared it to the military measuring success by bodycount. But what else is there? Read More

FARNAM STREET

Filter The Noise: Finding The Signal in an Information Overload World

(Photo via SerenelyRapt.wordpress)

In a world of too much information you need something or someone to help point you toward what’s relevant, interesting, and valuable. Otherwise you’d get overwhelmed.

Search engines do this but so do businesses and people. Some are trying to scam you, some are trying to collect your information, some are trying to entertain you, some are trying to sell something to you, and some are just trying to get you to click on a link so they can show you an ad. Most of these people will stop at nothing for your attention even when they are feeding you the mental equivalent of junk food. BuzzFeed, I’m looking at you. Read More

Internet Culture

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

(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. Read More

Off the Media

It’s War: Scale and Intimacy Duke it Out in the Comments Section

One of the ironies of American “high societies” is that some of its most prestigious institutions were founded by members of what was, at the time, one of the lowliest professions: journalism.

Take the Bohemian Club, the private refuge of many future and ex-presidents, billionaires and captains of industry. It was started by a bunch of dirty staff writers at the San Francisco Chronicle in the 1870s. Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: Candy Crush Is Going Public So Ruminate About That For A While

Candy crushed. (Photo: King)

John Thompson, the man who is responsible for picking Microsoft’s new CEO, doesn’t want the job. In an email to the reporter, he wrote “NO!” in response to the query. [Wall Street Journal]

Candy Crush’s parent company, King.com, filed for a “secret” IPO yesterday. Hope everyone’s ready for another Zynga-like rise and collapse. [Valleywag]

If you guessed $1.6 billion quarterly loss for BlackBerry, well that would be oddly specific, but you’d be correct! Start writing your eulogy now. [TechCrunch]

A new study reports that the BBC is the most engaged news brand (ugh) on Twitter, while BuzzFeed tops on Facebook. [The Wrap]

We’re sure ISPs are bristling with excitement over Netflix’s plan to offer “Super HD” video format to subscribers. [CNet]

Can U Not

Before You Insert That GIF, Stop And Ask Yourself: Is This Going to Make Me Look Like an Asshole?

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GIFs are a wonderful technology. What could be more delightful than the well-timed insertion of the perfect Real Housewives of Atlanta GIF to punctuate your point?

Unfortunately, as with so many lovely things, these wee moving pictures have become rather overexposed. In fact, it’s gotten so bad that the nation’s elected officials apparently now think they’re a great tool for swaying public opinion. Hence this completely asinine piece of advocacy, straight from the official website of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce: “The Roller Coaster of Emotions on the Path to Build the Keystone XL Pipeline.” Read More

community issues

Amid Anger Over Anti-Abortion Post, Buzzfeed Says It’s Still Figuring Out Whether To ‘Draw Lines’

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BuzzFeed came under fire today after the viral site ran a post slamming Planned Parenthood.

“8 Outrageous Things Planned Parenthood Was Caught Doing,” submitted by a community contributor, the anti-abortion group PersonhoodUSA, has unsurprisingly not been a hit with BuzzFeed’s core readership.

BuzzFeed editor in chief Ben Smith said that the site is still figuring out aspects of opening up BuzzFeed’s platform to community contributors.  Read More