BuzzFeed Intern Stephanie Viola’s list of videos of things that react in interesting ways to microwave radiation begins with a promise of danger and the possibility of fireworks.
I actually thought of doing this post after my friend decided that it made sense to cook an egg in the microwave (think sunny-side up style). It exploded and made this huge mess, which was actually kind of surprising. A couple of days after, some picture was circulating of what happens when you microwave ivory soap and I decided to turn it into a post.
In making the post… I wanted the end result of whatever was being microwaved in said videos to be surprising enough to want to share. I think one of the main reasons why the post did so well was the fact that people like to see videos of things they’ve always wanted to do or were curious about doing but were too dangerous and/or costly to do themselves. The emotional/social appeal can be found in the fact that microwaving random stuff is simple and accessible but the end result can be so destructive and interesting.
Not everyone would want to risk the personal injury and almost certain appliance damage incurred by creating videos like these. But almost everyone likes watching someone else demonstrate “what not to do.” The list accrued over 30,000 views from StumbleUpon as a perfect example of content that’s never out of season.
Released at the peak of Shark Week, BuzzFeed Creative Director Tanner Ringerud’s graphical list of things that are more deadly than sharks challenged people’s excitement for the dangerous beast.
Over 20,000 people landed on the page because of This Reddit Post while another 20,000 reached the page via shared links on Facebook.
I don’t think a week goes by without someone posting a list of discontinued junk food somewhere on the web.
Sticking to a tried and true formula that we all know just works, BuzzFeed Intern Dave Stopera did well appealing to our longing for yesterday and our insatiable appetites for sweets.
A friend of mine told me that crispy m&m’s were no more. [It] blew my mind. I wanted to see what other foods were lost to history.
I wanted to appeal to people in three ways: 1. make them nostalgic 2. make them feel old 3. make them feel hungry. In addition to that, it’s pretty safe to say that the vast majority of Internet folk remember those foods. Another thing is that [when] people… see the foods (which were all processed crap snack foods) generally they remember some good times.
Finally, the whole “never eat again thing” might surprise some people with foods they didn’t know you couldn’t get anymore. Everyone loves remembering, everyone loves food, everyone loves “TIL you can’t….”
While StumbleUpon took the lead (as it often does) a surprising number of views came from links on social news site Fark.com.
This list posted by BuzzFeed user The Brewmaster* contains a selection of infographics created as part of an ad campaign to promote the New York International Latino Film Festival.
* The BrewMaster, and BuzzBrewery are not affiliated with BuzzFeed.
Infographics appeal well to the visually-oriented, list-loving users of StumbleUpon, whom account for over 80,000 of the post’s referral views.
Although the list consists primarily of “found” content produced elsewhere, the ad team behind the graphics did well to appeal to the viewer’s sense of vanity.
When a person recognizes that something is a cliche, they tend to feel good about their own knowledge. That person would never employ such trite, over-done tropes in their own films, should they choose to make them. In that way, consumers get to feel superior to Hollywood, and who doesn’t like putting the media in their place?
This post from BuzzFeed editor Melissa Rosenthal lists dozens of pieces of 90s pop culture nostalgia as easy-to-digest image macros.
Nostalgia posts that have done incredibly well on Stumbleupon… I decided to go back to an old Myspace bulletin that had been floating around since 2006. It was a chain letter of things you have to remember in order to consider yourself a true ‘90s kid. I wanted to replicate some of the submissions from the chain letter (since hundreds of people had contributed) and at the same time include some original ideas.
Some factors I hoped would give this post its appeal were the format. I used an easy to share image macro that I created using Quickmeme… In a sense, I felt that this post was also a quiz of sorts. Something someone would want to share with their friends to challenge them to see how many things they actually remembered from the ‘90s.
As Mel predicted, the post performed incredibly well on StumbleUpon, accruing over 240,000 views. Additionally, another 20,000 landed on the page via Facebook links.
“Wanna see a dead body?”
Just as the characters in Stand By Me were enticed by morbid curiosity, so too were the 300,000 people who viewed this post from BuzzFeed intern Todd Van Luling.
I was originally going to do a list of how people look when they conquer Mount Everest which is arguably one of the hardest tasks someone can accomplish. But the idea of posting pictures of the dead bodies on Mount Everest as it illicited more gut emotion.
I think the part of the post that struck people the most was the story about the climbers having to leave the dying woman. Learning that Everest is a bit of a Wild Wild West was interesting to people. People love TIL type posts, people as I said are obsessed with death, and this was all easy to digest because it was mostly pictures. I kind of consider this one of my lowest moments at BuzzFeed as it just went viral in a sort of snuff film sort of way. Most people want to see snuff material because it’s so weird and it interests them but they feel sick doing it… I kind of consider this one of my lowest moments at BuzzFeed as it just went viral in a sort of snuff film sort of way. Too many posts like this and the ship will sink but every once in awhile I guess it’s good to cash in on trust.
Nearly 100,000 people landed in the post due to links from Reddit posts. Redditors linked to the photo list within the WTF and TIL (Today I Learned) Subreddits, and within the comments sections on various posts.
In addition, the list accrued over 60,000 referrals from StumbleUpon.
Hurricane Irene caused massive amounts of destruction to areas of North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, and elsewhere. But when the storm reached New York City, many New Yorkers were quick to downplay the impact of the storm.
This post was directed at those who thought the storm was a joke, reminding them that outside of our self-obsessed metropolitan island, real people were suffering from real damage.
A list post should either do 2 things: teach you something you didn’t know, or leave you in awe. If you combine the two, even better. I think some of my biggest posts did just that
Nearly 200,000 views came from Facebook, as real people helped to inform one another’s opinions on how to feel about the disaster.
Timing was also an important factor as people scrambled to gauge the storm’s aftermath soon after it had passed.
Matt Stopera’s East Coast earthquake aftermath photo collection was a pitch-perfect mockery of the non-disaster.
Be conscious of the overall mood/feeling/emotions the internet community is feeling about a certain news topic. For the earthquake, I saw people were saying how they barely felt the quake/it was a fluke/people were overreacting. So, I compiled a list of pics of the “damage.” So I guess, just be aware of how the internet feels about a topic and play off of it.
While 50,000 people visited the page directly, over 500,000 landed on the page through links on Facebook. News of the Earthquake spread on Twitter faster than the Earthquake’s own shockwave making it clearly a hot social topic. Since news of the quake had spread so fast, a post that reflecting people’s feelings about overractions to the quake resonated well with readers.
What’s cuter that pets? Babies. What’s cuter than babies? Babies with pets. There’s a reason Anne Geddes has sold over 18 million copies of her photo books.
Over 240,000 people found the page through StumbleUpon, while another 5,000 Liked the page on Facebook.
Generally speaking, evergreen content (timeless, non-event-based, always fresh) works well on StumbleUpon. Lists of photos that conform to a theme also seem to do well with StumbleUpon’s visually-oriented, channel-surfing user-base.
Never underestimate the appeal of underground hip hop. Devoid of the materialistic, money-oriented lyrical themes that are all-too-present in the most popular, most commercial rap, Scroobius Pip’s music provides a strong alternative to what radio and TV have to offer.
Also, he cuts his own hair in the video, so that’s kind of neat.
This post from BurnRed only received 160 views from people who visit BuzzFeed directly. However, 70,000 views came through StumbleUpon, showing that you don’t always need a BuzzFeed editor’s boost to make your content go viral.