Slate’s excellent Farhad Manjoo has written a very funny (because it’s true) piece on how to create content that will instantly go viral. He did his research by studying the most viral posts on Buzzfeed.com and attempting to puzzle out the secret of their virality.
It turns out that the Buzzfeed’s secret is easy. They do it by aggregating and repackaging semi-viral content from crowdy sites and exposing it to a larger audience.
The answer, in short, is that BuzzFeed’s staff finds stuff elsewhere on the Web, most often at Reddit. They polish and repackage what they find. And often — and, from what I can tell, deliberately — their posts are hard to trace back to the original source material.
In the world of social sharing, this isn’t quite the evil it could be made out to be. When Manjoo asked founder Jonah Peretti his opinion of sites that borrow ideas and content from Buzzfeed, Peretti remained sanguine.
We see people taking entire posts of ours and publishing them and sometimes linking back and sometimes not linking back,” Peretti says. “My general feeling is that you’ve got to keep your head down and do great work, and sites that do that are never going to be respected. Sites that just look for someone else’s hits—sites that take much more than they add—are never going to be respected.
Well, yes. That is perfectly accurate.
And please stay tuned for next week’s editorial line-up:
- 50 Cutest Kitten Photos of All-Time
- How To Get Summer’s 21 Best Hairstyles
- 20 Everyday Things We All Do Wrong
- The Year’s 52 Best Cartoons (So Far)
- 24 Hilarious Celebrity Dweep Faces
- 43 Awesome ‘Back-Stage’ Photos From The Summer’s Blockbusters