Yes, we’ve read about “BuzzFeed envy” that Matt Saccaro talked about in his article for Salon. BuzzFeed, as we all know, has been all over the internet for the past few years, dishing out a wide array of contents that (almost) always go viral.
Certainly, in the current online media landscape, where news websites are trying really hard to churn out as much content as possible, everyone is trying to be the next BuzzFeed. I mean, who doesn’t? With little content and clickbait titles (yes, I’m looking at 18 Cats Who Waited All Day For You To Get Home) they can generate thousands, even millions, of shares on Facebook and Twitter. And those shares eventually generate revenue in the form of advertisements and sponsored contents.
Now as we all know tech websites such as TechCrunch and Mashable have a very niche target audience. However, in the increasingly tough competitions where even Mashable had to layoffs some of their staffs, the change of content is surely needed.
As you’ve seen above, Mashable has shifted their focus from a tech website, into a mesh of tech/pop culture/lifestyle/news website. Even The Verge has strayed from specifically talking about technology and gadgets and includes culture on their website.
I personally see that these changes are necessary. Of course, you don’t have to be like BuzzFeed, but to include other categories of news means that your website has a bigger chance of survival in the current online media landscape. When Nordfors (2004) mentioned ‘Innovation Journalism’ includes business news or even general daily news, then surely these other contents are equally important for the consumers as well.
Then, what are your thoughts on this? Should tech websites be exclusively dedicated to tech, or shouldn’t they?