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Why BuzzFeed Doesn’t Do Clickbait → 

Posted on 20 November 2014

Ben Smith:

“If your goal — as is ours at BuzzFeed — is to deliver the reader something so new, funny, revelatory, or delightful that they feel compelled to share it, you have to do work that delivers on the headline’s promise, and more. This is a very high bar. It’s one thing to enjoy reading something, and quite another to make the active choice to share it with your friends. This is a core fact of sharing and the social web of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other platforms.

“The best way to ensure your readers won’t choose to share a story or a post is to trick them. “

We can debate all day on whether or not BuzzFeed actually delivers on the promises it puts in its headlines, but the goal stated here is laudable: headlines that reflect what’s actually in the article, instead of an eye-catching question1 that deliberately mislead. Especially important when you consider how much headlines shape our understanding of a topic.

  1. “Is your toast trying to kill you?” 

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