The term "Buzzfeedification" is so ubiquitous by now that if you Google it, you already get 1,370 results (the first six links explain why it's bad, the seventh calls it an "unfortunate necessity," and one of those results is even our own!). But if you haven't already had the misfortune of being acquainted with this word, you've at least noticed traces of its existence in observing how eerily and monotonously similar online journalism has become. You know what we're talking about: the inane "listification," the incessant clickbaiting of every headline. And it's not just news, either. Even political parties are aping this style of web content. It's changed our language, making terms like "belfie" and "adorkable" mainstream enough to infiltrate news copy, an arena that was once devoid of such hybrid linguistic innovating. Most concerning, however, is yet another symptom of this phenomenon: the decreasing diversity in content overall, as pointed out by writer Matt Saccaro.
The issue has become widespread enough to spawn a Chrome plug-in, Downworthy, which is devoted to automatically substituting more "honest" language for clickbait wording in headlines. “I think the breaking point for me was watching arguably legitimate news sites hopping on the bandwagon of inane listicles and pandering headlines,” its creator told The Daily Dot.
So have we reached "the breaking point?" And if we have, where do we go from here? How do we harness this popular method of enticing readers and viewers without falling prey to its worse symptoms? Be sure to email or tweet me any other potential questions that inspire you, and then join us this Tuesday for another one of our world-famous, newsy-oriented discussions at 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST.