Off the Media

Facebook Is Getting Rid of Clickbait — But Not Because They Care About You

offthemedia-1

We’re saved! Finally, Facebook has announced it’s stepping in to put a stop to all the “clickbait.”

Sure, they largely created and encouraged today’s iteration of this problem (Upworthy, Buzzfeed, Viral Nova et al were founded almost exclusively around Facebook’s easy-to-game algorithms) and profited greatly from it. But now they’ve had enough and things are going to change.

I believe that. I also believe that things are going to get worse. Read More

Off the Media

Spare Us The Sanctimony: The Gross Hypocrisy of Online Media in the Nude Photo Leak

offthemedia

It seems to me that we are entering a new phase in our media culture online. It’s post-gossip, post-snark and post-smarm. It is the sanctimony phase.

Maybe it’s an outgrowth of Upworthy and its simple yet holier-than-thou politics. Maybe it’s the natural extension of outrage porn. But you are seeing it quite clearly with the media reaction to the recent trove of leaked celebrity nudes. Read More

Going Viral

Media and Tech Companies Are Weirdly Obsessed With This Team Management App

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 1.22.12 PM

When we think of something “going viral,” usually the first association is videos of pandas sneezing and clicky BuzzFeed listicles, not office management software. But a program called Slack is sweeping through media and tech companies, mostly because people who leave Hipchat and Gmail to try it out become major converts, and can barely shut up about it.

In only one year, Slack has become the go-to for teams at the Wall Street Journal, Airbnb, HBO, eBay, Gawker Media, Medium, BuzzFeed, PayPal, and dozens of other companies that are just as impressiveRead More

Oops

Ashton Kutcher’s Viral Content Site Accused of Plagiarizing from BuzzFeed

Steve Jobs never would have done this! Probably. (Photo: ScreenRant)

Speaking of Steve Jobs doppelgangers, Ashton Kutcher might be in hot water.

Mr. Kutcher, who’s an actor in the sheets but a tech guy in the streets (or is it the other way around?), apparently owns a viral content site called A+. And the site’s being accused of plagiarism, the Daily Dot reports.

Ironically, the site’s being accused of lifting content from BuzzFeed — which recently came under fire after one of its writers was found to have plagiarized from such esteemed reference sites as Wikipedia and Yahoo Answers. Read More

Off the Media

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

offthemedia-1

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