Recently, I went down the Buzzfeed video rabbit hole, and I’ve only recently emerged. First of all, it’s easy to keep on clicking on suggested videos, which is exactly why they do it the way they do it. Let’s face it, they have honed the science of getting people to keep on clicking. I’m not even really interested in the videos, but, hey, I’m here, anyway, so I might as well click. I keep them on as background noise while I’m doing other things, so it’s easy to keep the chatter going. I really think of them as white noise, which is perfect for me.
Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. The videos are mostly fluff. I’ve seen a dozen videos of people trying different kinds of food, and there’s usually some kind of theme to it like weird foods or spicy foods or Thai foods. They usually show their faces as they react, and the reaction is big and bold. On purpose, I’m sure. It’s not normal for everyone in the room to react so wildly for something that is just a bit weird and not, say, an entire person on fire. It feels as if one of the requirements for working with Buzzfeed is being an out-sized personality–at least if you’re going to be on camera. Let’s face it, though. It wouldn’t be half as interesting if someone took a bite of, say, lutefisk (actual thing that happened) and just shrugged their shoulders. They are masters of selling their product.
Two, they have a wide variety of people who work for Buzzfeed. All races, colors, religions, genders, sexual orientations, but not age. The videos are definitely geared towards hip twenty-somethings–which I am most emphatically not. Not only because I’m not twenty, but I’ve never been and never will be hip. Also, ninety-percent of the people in the videos are good-looking, but we’ll get to that later (if I remember).
Three, the videos that try to be deeper…fail. The ‘girls acting like guys’ and vice-versa–by the way. It’s 2018. WOMEN, not girls. It’s irritating that this is still a thing, especially when it’s used in the same sentence as men. Such as, “The girls and their men.” Ugh. Anyway, I know these videos are trying to highlight stereotypes, but many of the issues they cover are not easy to breakdown in five minutes or less–especially not in video. What usually happens is that they have the women do stereotypical male things, then have a short, pithy statement at the end why the stereotyping is bad.
First of all (on the third point), the stereotypes are all tired. Dudes like to talk about sports. Dudes have trouble committing. Chicks are overly emotional and go to the bathroom in pairs. OK, the second is true, but still. I know they are taking an ironic look at it, but it’s the age old question of whether focusing on the stereotypes so much is beneficial or not. I think it can be if there is enough down to deconstruct said stereotypes, and we’ll get to that in a minute.