Social Content and the Internet’s Demise

Jun 13, 2014  |  By Accepted Protege  |  

Social news sites like Buzzfeed have become a staple of the contemporary Facebook feed. With tricky algorithms that perpetuate these websites’ success by labeling them as “quality publishers,” it’s impossible to escape their reach.

Social media culture has evolved such that “clickbaiting” or creating headlines and imagery designed to enhance clickthrough to a website is now a common practice even among highly regarded and prestigious news sources. How could it not be? According to a press release by Buzzfeed, November of 2013 was the site’s biggest traffic month ever, reaching a staggering 130 million unique visitors globally, 75% of which comes from social sources.

Will these social news sites be the new face of content creation? If they are, will traditional methods of reporting and journalism be ushered out of existence one listicle at a time?

Only time will tell if this type of “news” will be the journalistic revolution we’ve all been waiting for. For now, one of the interesting products to come of this trend is the introduction of heavily sponsored content from advertisers. Coming from a journalistic background (aka sifting through hundreds of press releases and content embed requests) it is hard to imagine my Editor in Chief allowing such ethical atrocities as creating content for monetary gain.

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These days, huge brands like Taco Bell and Virgin Mobile are jumping on the social content bandwagon and have been met with much success. Excuse me as I tread lightly whilst citing Buzzfeed’s case study, but according to them, Virgin Mobile found itself with an over 150% brand lift.

What this means for advertisers is an engaging, entertaining social content strategy that is built to succeed. It’s hard to resist.

This is not to say that the social media world is blind to the ruse. Feeds like @SavedYouAClick on Twitter do exactly what they sound like.

I’m torn. I think that building strategies that create useful (or at least entertaining) content is a positive shift in social advertising, but perhaps not at the expense of journalistic integrity. We’ll see sooner than later how this will all play out. For now, enjoy your lists. I’m just going to stop clicking.


Victor Escoto

Creative AP

Mood: Hungry


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