When I started work at BuzzFeed on midnight last January 1, we were already the best at something: Creating emotionally driven, image-heavy content people want to share. Matt Stopera’s Most Powerful Images of 2011 had been the most popular post in our history.
But Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed’s founder and CEO, had realized that the social space had expanded to include not only the emotionally resonant items people share on Facebook, but also the hard news, compelling features, lists, humor, and analysis that thrive on Twitter. Americans were spending less time finding content from portals and search engines, and more from their friends, and Jonah made a huge gamble that BuzzFeed could vastly broaden its mandate.
A year later, it seems obvious that he was right. Our political coverage, which operated on the assumption — truer, at first, in politics than anywhere else — that Twitter is your front page, made a big impact in the ultra-competitive presidential campaign by doing what great reporters love to: Report and write. And since January 1, 2012, when Matt Stopera and Zeke Miller shared a room in the Hotel Fort Des Moines, we’ve learned enormous amounts about the substance and form of social journalism.
Our verticals have been rooted in this same reality of social news. FWD covers the new human reality of tech, providing crucial — and shareable — insight on how life is lived on Twitter and Facebook and how those services are used. Shift has gone deep into how women live their lives online and off, and taken seriously the year’s breakthrough social platform, Pinterest. Our Sports vertical has pioneered a new visual, GIF-heavy form of storytelling that merges the best of sportswriting and broadcasting.
Successive waves of of verticals we launched this year drilled down on some of the things people love to learn about, and to share, from food to nostalgia (to food nostalgia!), celebrity, music, LGBT, and — naturally — animals. We have filled in deep expertise and authority on everything from playlists — BuzzFeed Music’s is one of Rdio’s top playlists — to recipes for cooking everything from doves to jello shots. We have made the case for Ryan Gosling, for Corgis and cats; and I’ve learned along the way just how hard the deceptively simple, emotionally direct posts like 33 Animals Who Are Extremely Disappointed In You are to make.
We’ve also taken on a new medium in a big way: This fall, we lured the online video genius Ze Frank aboard to teach us — and millions of other people — how to trade Halloween candy, and how to navigate Thanksgiving.
Here’s a quick trip through some of the best stuff we made this year, a crazy mix of content that we hope will look like your Facebook feed on a very good day.
5. At Harvard, Obama Dived Into Diversity Fight
Read the whole post here.
9. Career Confidential: Wall Street Escort Wishes She Could Tell Clients: “You’re Really Small And You’re Bad In Bed”
“They have big egos and are big babies. If I make any sign that they’re not the best lover, or that their dick wasn’t the biggest dick I’ve ever seen, they start asking all these questions and putting me down.”
20. An Olympic Fencer Refuses To Leave The Floor After Getting Screwed
In the match that would decide who would fence for the gold, Germany’s Britta Heidemann landed a match-clinching touch. But was it in time? South Korea’s Shin A Lam didn’t think so. So she refused to leave.
22. Ryan Lochte: Great At Swimming, Less Great At Talking About Swimming
25. The Angriest Babies In The Whole World
31. Proof That Cats Are Better Than Dogs
37. The Guide To Trading Candy
40. The Perfect Guide To Holiday Etiquette
41. True Facts About The Angler Fish
43. Atari Teenage Riot: The Inside Story Of Pong And The Video Game Industry’s Big Bang
On Nov. 29, 1972, a crude table-tennis arcade game in a garish orange cabinet was delivered to bars and pizza parlors around California, and a multi-billion-dollar industry was born. Here’s how that happened, direct from the freaks and geeks who invented a culture and paved the way for today’s tech moguls.
45. How To Open A Beer Bottle Without Touching It
- Nearly 70,000 people convicted of felonies but now on probation or parole are suing Louisiana for the right to vote.
- Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she'll accept FBI recommendations in the investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email servers.
- A federal judge halted Mississippi's anti-LGBT religious exemption law moments before it was set to go into effect.