How BuzzFeed has become the new 'tweeps on the bus' this election season

Marc Tracy on how BuzzFeed has become the new "tweeps on the bus":

In a sense, all of BuzzFeed Politics’s articles, even the long ones, are spiritually 140 characters or fewer. This is no accident; as [co-founder Jonah] Peretti likes to say, “Twitter is the homepage of politics.” (Facebook, typically a much larger traffic-driver, is not where the elite political conversation plays out.) Not only has Twitter grown at a staggering rate -- the 1.8 million tweets published on Election Day 2008 equal the number sent every eight minutes in 2012 -- but it has also uniquely lent itself to, and helped speed up, the minute-to-minute, who’s-up-who’s-down political culture. It’s the place where reporters share their stories with thousands of followers, trade gossip, and spend most of their waking hours. “In the past, you’d have to be on the press bus or in the file room to see how the political narrative gets formed,” says BuzzFeed reporter Michael Hastings, a veteran of the last two presidential elections. But this year, he adds, in a typically tweet-ready sound bite, “Twitter is the bus.” ...

BuzzFeed’s triumph, then, lies less in its content than in its understanding of how people consume the news in 2012. It’s actually taking advantage of a long-term pattern in media, whereby the pace of technological innovation allows news organizations to rise to prominence in no time — so long as they’re able to give the people what they want in the ways they want it more precisely than any of their competitors. Think of CNN offering 24-hour updates during the Gulf war; or the Drudge Report embodying the Internet’s premium on sensationalism during the Monica Lewinsky mess; or Politico, which, in 2008, exploited the blogosphere’s expansion of the community of political junkies during an especially captivating election. Looked at this way, BuzzFeed — lightning-quick, light-hearted, addictive, and a little dumb — is the defining media outlet of 2012.


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