I like Buzzfeed for the same reason I liked reading Twilight - it might lack any discernible form of merit but what it tells you about human nature is pure gold. Its the website I love to hate, a collection of the inane, the interesting, the disgusting and the rare moment of minor genius that is counter balanced by approximately five hundred moments of excessive mediocrity. It is then the perfect reflection of the Millennial generation for the following 3 reasons:
Absolute Moral Conformity
Buzzfeed isn't just correct, its achingly correct, right down to the last gender unspecific pronoun. It's one of the few websites I could well believe has a Morality department that religiously (irony intended) enforces and ensures unquestioning compliance. Choose the topic of the day: from migrants to breastfeeding mothers to transgender bathrooms to gay whatever, and it will have an opinion that may as well come from the Liberal Bible. In fact, I often wonder if somehow Buzzfeed is the Liberal Bible, such is its own rigid compliance to the Received Wisdom.
I long to see any kind of divergent thinking, hunger for any kind of game that doesn't conform, I'd run a maze for a single counterpoint of opinion. But no, for the generation that grew up with teenagers rebelling against The System (i.e. adults) we millennial readers cannot abide anyone rebelling against the Liberal Mindset.
As a right wing conservative Christian with strong libertarian tendencies the conformity does grate on me. And yes, I'm well aware no one is forcing me to read Buzzfeed but even so, it presents such a reductionist view of the world. Self-identity must always triumph over reality; sexual freedom is always a good thing, privilege is always a reason for silence, body parts must be discussed in public and in great detail, everyone who disagrees is a heretic.
It's bland, boring and ultimately completely bonkers. In the real, non-Western, non-millennial world, there's an extremely large number of opposing views on all the above topics. I'm not saying that Buzzfeed should change its ideological outlook to reflect the whole world's, that would be foolish. What it does desperately need to show is some kind of ideological humility rather than its current ideological imperialism. "Dear Buzzfeed", I write on mental letters, "you are not God, your opinions can be wrong." or "Dear Buzzfeed, you do know that not everyone agrees with you, yeah?"
People can't grow when such idealistic and uncompromising moral absolutism is maintained. Ideas need to be discussed, opposing views have to be heard out, intellectual ideas should be dealt with through reasoning not silencing. Buzzfeed's moral conformity is actually dangerous for it teaches its readers that everyone should think the same way.
Comedy example here is of a recent interfaith session Buzzfeed held with a Jew, a Muslim and a Christian. It's the kind of situation which could easily be thought provoking but oh no, Buzzfeed chose a liberal Jew, liberal Muslim and liberal Christian, three people pretending to hold to three different (but each totally acceptable and cool) religions whilst actually only holding one: pluralism. Newsflash - interfaith dialogue is really easy if you don't actually believe anything concrete about your religion.
The Millennial generation is the least generous of all age groups according to the Charity Aid Foundation's annual report on UK giving but we are the most likely to post our #icebucketchallenge selfies. We can't support a good cause or do a good deed without blowing our own trumpet and making sure everyone else knows, no matter if its the first good deed done for 6 months. Hypocrisy is our defining trait, posting impassioned pleas to help migrants whilst maintaining a willful ignorance of the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.
Buzzfeed is a perfect case in point for this unintentional but wholly real hypocrisy. It is very pro-women rights but regularly uses pretty girls with skimpy clothes to get people to click on posts. Because objectifying women is perfectly acceptable when used to generate readers. It has an anti-capitalist bias but has perfected the art of clickbait, writing controversial headlines or having pictures of cute things, purely for the purpose of getting more clicks. This is surely one of the purest forms of capitalism ever seen where the reader is king so therefore must be manipulated by any means possible.
Buzzfeed is devoid of intellectual merit. I say this as objective fact. Cute kittens, tales of hangovers, pictures of 24 unbelievable avocados, are the symptom of the disease of Anti-Intellectualism. While as a generation we might be clever on an individual level, our collective stupidity knows no bounds.
For some reason, all our power of thought and logic are rarely applied to anything. Its a big problem for the church today, where people do things because "they feel good" as opposed to, you know, being rational, logical, pragmatic or even biblical. A relentlessness obsession with feeling has produced a generation of people incapable of discernment.
Buzzfeed leads the way here too. Not for this website a sober reflection on whether supporting trangender rights may kill feminism or be an open doorway for abuse or be medically recommended or not. No, transgender rights feel good so therefore it is good.
Penetrating analysis, investigative journalism, even just new ideas may as well be concepts from another universe. The lowest common denominator has been reached and we get: "49 Thoughts Everyone Has While Shopping In Lush".
Buzzfeed professes tolerance yet terminates anything not deemed Acceptable. It professes wisdom whilst offering nothing but empty platitudes and vain memes. It thinks itself edgy but is predictable, revolutionary but trots out the same tired ideas, It breaks all norms but in doing so breaks none of them.
It is then the very embodiment of the millennial generation. Well does the great intellectual, Taylor Swift, speak on behalf of us all: "We're happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time. It's miserable and magical. Oh, yeah"