Buzzfeed Represents Constant Enumeration of Society

Kyle Seasly

Whenever I log on to Facebook these days, I am plagued by a certain terror. People update their statuses with this link to a website that specializes in lists upon lists of useless information. I am talking of course, about the website “BuzzFeed.”

Although it’s extremely tempting to click on BuzzFeed and waste 15 minutes of my unproductive day, my hate of these endless enumerations has slowly grown and grown. But why am I so annoyed by a website that doesn’t promote racism, classism or sexism? BuzzFeed isn’t exactly a device of terrible means. Sure, it’s entertaining, but it’s not outwardly evil, or so I initially thought.

For one, BuzzFeed represents generalizations. Although generalizations can be useful and entertaining sometimes, most of time they are hazardous creations designed such that you agree with the norm and don’t question what you are reading. BuzzFeed, however, is not the sickness of generalizations in our society, but rather a symptom of washing over details. As much as some people might agree that there are “27 signs you are from Portland” or “10 things you hate about college,” these allow for a narrowing of our thinking.

Enumeration, indeed, is useful when thinking things out. Our society, it seems, is obsessed with lists. For example, “What is the best movie from 2000s?” or “Who is the world’s best guitarist?” constantly shows up on magazine and website covers. Enumeration is definitive. It allows for there to only be one “number one.” There can be no discussion of different viewpoints. A movie, book or person is simply reduced to a number. Although these lists can be helpful –– I learn about many good bands/albums/books/movies from these pop culture lists –– they also are too definitive in my opinion. Lists allow for a clear understanding of what the author is trying to communicate, but they lack nuance. This is helpful for more complex subjects, but a list about “8 ways that being left handed is better” doesn’t necessarily need clearer explanation.

Great novels, plays and poems don’t (or rarely) exist in the form of listing points out one by one. They do lay out page numbers, chapters and scenes to help guide us on our way, but it is not the absolute form of the work. Lists allow for less creative expression, and creativity needs to be fostered in this day and age of stimulation.

This is why I think BuzzFeed is absolutely awful. It enumerates already simplistic ideals simply for entreating purposes that promote generalization simply for the purpose of blind entertainment. It does nothing to help you, and it simply distracts you in a mind-numbing way that doesn’t take too much brain power. It doesn’t challenge anything about the way we think. Lists can indeed be helpful and promote understanding. Let me put it a more direct way: Do you learn more from a teacher’s feedback of simply just a grade? Think about this –– and why enumeration can be so simplistic.