This Week: Keeping it personal w/BuzzFeed India
Y’all know we love that identity content over here, especially in the form of personal essays that frame big-picture issues in more relatable, intimate ways. Over at BuzzFeed India, this genre of writing has gained a passionate audience — so much so that, last summer, the team created an entire sub-brand dedicated to essays & cultural criticism called Dialogue.
“Essays generally seem to do well because people crave long reads, in-depth reports, and casual deep dives — but it seems in India, not many people are doing it as well,” says Andre Borges, the social news reporter who manages Dialogue for BuzzFeed India. “When we tackle a pretty sensitive or political topic but write it in a BuzzFeed way, it really resonates with people. By commissioning essays, we also give different sections of societies a platform, and that lets us reach a variety of audiences.”
The most common themes addressed in personal essays for Dialogue include gender dynamics, sexuality, privilege, and mental illness. Today, the sub-brand also publishes longform as well as news videos on Facebook — but you can still pitch them here!
Plus: Here are some of Andre’s absolute fave Dialogue essays to add to your longreads list this week!
“This one is a great way to touch upon a problem caused by the Bollywoodization of a location that used to be gorgeous and lush. It’s an issue called out by many stray tweets over the years, but they never amounted to anything big. So, when we published this one, it reignited the conversation in a great way.”
“These two kinda go hand in hand because they touch on two huge issues in India: the lack of safety for women, and the nepotism of Bollywood. Both pieces were written as timely responses to news cycles, and gave people a great way to understand the issue.”
“This essay opened the eyes of people who were part of that ecosystem, and made them rethink behavior that they once considered as normal. If conversation is the first part of Dialogue, the second is definitely impact.”
In Australia — Type A people (or anyone who’d rather not invite chaos into their lives) shouldn’t see these pics.
In Canada — omfg cockroach milk?????
In India — The latest in internet thirst is the hashtag #FineBrownMen; you’re welcome.
In the Philippines — If you like yo-yos, karaoke, and banana ketchup, you have the Philippines to thank!
In the UK — And if you’ve ever found these movie scenes to be problematic, you’re not alone.
Elsewhere on the webz:
Linguists and general lovers of language should definitely check out “How Language Shapes The Way We Think,” a 14-min TED Talk from 2017 that’s resurfaced online recently.
With about 7,000 spoken languages out there in the world, the theory that language differences change the way people see colors, orient ourselves, process events, and more is gaining traction, thanks to advances in research and cognitive science.
Pretty fascinating stuff — and it includes a cautionary reminder that using only American English-speakers as subjects for brain studies will lead to a pretty limited understanding of all that the human mind can actually do.
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