Over the last couple weeks, I have spent many hours and opened hundreds of browser tabs in an effort to reverse-engineer posts I found on BuzzFeed. Recently, the site has expanded beyond its roots as a mere chronicler of memes, hiring a staff of excellent reporters and editors and creating top-notch sections covering politics, technology, and style. I ignored those reported sections. Instead, I spent most of my effort on what the site’s founder Jonah Peretti calls “old-school BuzzFeed”—those meme-saturated listicles that are designed to go viral online. Those posts generate the bulk of BuzzFeed’s traffic, and they are also the way most people get introduced to the site. When I saw a particularly inspired BuzzFeed list—and when the post did not prominently mention its sources—I tried to dig through the Web to find how BuzzFeed produced (via 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity: How BuzzFeed makes viral hits in four easy steps. - Slate Magazine)

Over the last couple weeks, I have spent many hours and opened hundreds of browser tabs in an effort to reverse-engineer posts I found on BuzzFeed. Recently, the site has expanded beyond its roots as a mere chronicler of memes, hiring a staff of excellent reporters and editors and creating top-notch sections covering politics, technology, and style. I ignored those reported sections. Instead, I spent most of my effort on what the site’s founder Jonah Peretti calls “old-school BuzzFeed”—those meme-saturated listicles that are designed to go viral online. Those posts generate the bulk of BuzzFeed’s traffic, and they are also the way most people get introduced to the site. When I saw a particularly inspired BuzzFeed list—and when the post did not prominently mention its sources—I tried to dig through the Web to find how BuzzFeed produced (via 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity: How BuzzFeed makes viral hits in four easy steps. - Slate Magazine)