Summits

BuzzFeed Cofounder Jonah Peretti Preaches the Science of Memes

Mr. Peretti (flickr.com/wonific)

If Arianna Huffington is the Madonna of the media industry, what does that make Jonah Peretti, cofounder of burgeoning meme factory BuzzFeed? Prince, perhaps? (In keeping with the ’80s references, of course.)

Ms. Huffington, who founded The Huffington Post with the help of Mr. Peretti, was so excited to hear the nerd king’s presentation, which directly followed her own, that she announced offhandedly that she was changing her schedule so that she could stay. And Mr. Peretti, whose slideshow was chock full of cute animal photos and other humorous BuzzFeed absurdities, did not disappoint. (Though it was apparently quite similar to the one he did at Ad Age Digital a few weeks ago.) Read More

Summits

In Which Arianna Huffington is Declared the Madonna of the Media Industry

Ms. Huffington (flickr.com/worldeconomicforum)

The post-lunch session of the Guardian Activate Summit kicked off with an interview between Guardian U.S. editor in chief Janine Gibson and a woman whom Ms. Gibson called “the Madonna of our industry:” why Arianna Huffington, of course. Ms. Huffington, who donned a smart navy blue blazer and a perfectly coifed blond bob, introduced herself with some opening remarks about what she called the “fetishization of social.”

“The fetishization of social is celebrating something going ‘trending’ or going ‘viral’ without asking what it is that’s going trending or viral,” said Ms. Huffington. “We all need to do a better job of asking those questions, otherwise we’re going to find ourselves in the same dangerous area that mainstream media have found themselves in, where everything is breaking news. Donald Trump endorsing Mitt Romney, Balloon Boy, all these things.”

We found this comment especially pointed coming from Ms. Huffington, as The Huffington Post just tweeted, “Miley Cyrus saves a dog left outside of Walmart,” a piece that has all the classic elements of a viral story (major celebrity + cute animal + feel-good component) without any of the explanation. We really do need to be asking why Miley Cyrus’ dog saving abilities are going viral, wouldn’t you agree? Read More

Summits

LinkedIn Cofounder Reid Hoffman Kicks Off the 2012 Guardian Activate Summit

Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Jarvis

Betabeat is reporting today from the Guardian Activate Summit, a meeting of the minds thrown by British newspaper The Guardian to discuss technology and media. The presentations at this year’s summit were interrupted by a loud, unbelievably annoying jackhammer that continuously pounded from below. You could feel the ground of the Paley Center for Media shake as the audience struggled to ignore it and focus on the speakers, but this reporter doesn’t even have ADHD and found it incredibly distracting. Jeff Jarvis, director of CUNY’s Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism, joked that it helped score the beat of the conversation. Read More