DISCLAIMER: This article makes no factual claims about BuzzFeed. As a matter of fact, I find it difficult to read BuzzFeed. But, I use the name “BUZZFEED” in quotation marks to symbolize “hip“, “trendy”, “social media” blogs who promote webinars on how to write in their cool style.
WHO AM I?
Apparently everyone under the age of 45 reads these, “hip”, “trendy” “with it” blogs. Okay, I am someone older than age 45, that’s about 20 years ago in my rear-view mirror. But, I blog. My blog has been pretty successful, I think – 1,000 readers from around the world a month. Okay, that’s not actually successful at all, even as Boomer blogs are judged. I’ve tried to promote it - I use social media advertising, not effectively, but I do use it. That’s probably why I’m “hot” in Pakistan. Also, China lifted its ban on my blog for using the name: Tien**man Square. My readership in China plummeted from 13 to 0.
To get more readers, other than Pakistan and the 13 regulars in China (I think it’s an ESL class), my blog needs some youthful-ness like “BuzzFeed”, "Bang Pop", "Shenanigans" or other popular blogs. Why not? I can do this. Like they say: “pump the ride”. (They? Like I say! And, why did I write pump the ride in quotes?) Let’s roll. Let’s do this.
“BuzzFeed” has a style, a less than age 45 style. The webinar was “all over” changing my style. I’m a man 65 years old +. I’m in my Mystic Phase, okay? Insight happens. It’s hard to forget all your mistakes and get stupid again. Okay, that’s a lie.
I can’t actually become younger. Should I try? Does that mean I have to get into the lifestyle of someone 20 years younger? Wear a Red Sox cap backwards? Only wear my Bernie hoodie with the hood hiding my face? Pull my cargo-shorts below my tidy-whities? Drink power drinks and eat pizza? (Uh, this may not work. I’ve got just a lit-tle belly-fat and there’s always the hypoglycemia. And, all the salt may fire off the blood pressure and nullify my cardio-meds. I’ll call my Doc tomorrow.)
Okay, safer to try to write younger. Change my style. Think like a 40-something. Phase shift backwards in my mind. Change the topics I write about: Cookie Math, Hilariously real Tweets, Kanye West celebrity orgy, or Cat Memes. Use the word “whatever” a lot. Whatever.
Since I don’t have a consistent style, it couldn’t be too hard to change, right? After all, it’s not like I’m Ernest Hemingway or Hunter S. Thompson (remember them? Anybody?). My subject matter is not highly focused like Hemingway’s. At least I’m not consistently writing about bullfights or marlin fishing and then have to try to change into a successful “BuzzFeed” format. I definitely will not wind up with a headline like “27 Ways To Set The Hook!” or “9 Snarky Things To Say To Sharks.”
The webinar suggested I start by re-writing the hedlines of my last three blog posts in “BuzzFeed” style. What were my last three posts? “The Invisibles”, “We Pretend We Don’t Pretend” and “I Wrote This Post With Dahlias”. Oh, boy... this is gonna be brutal! Let’s “BuzzFeed”, ‘em, shall we, let’s kick butt!
WHAT DO I WANT?
I want what young readers want. My blog has been too introspective, too personal, too old guy. Topics are reflections on aging. My aging. Greying. Slowly, creeping decrepitude. Good god, nobody cares about this! I even wrote one whole post about arthritis and my total knee replacement. Geez, Jean! Stop that! Young! Write young! Think “BuzzFeed” style! Young, bright, Kanye in bed with whatever! Okay. I got it.
Statistics. The webinar said young people – meaning people alive - love statistics. Statistics make things relevant. Earthly. Useful. People want to know the science behind the story. One side of my soul says embrace the hard, the concrete, the practical, the day-to-day. That’s not you! It’s what’s most relevant to 99.999% of the people living on earth. The other side of my soul says I am tired of material life and want the spiritual. <sigh> Change is hard. But, “27 research studies say using statistics in headlines captures attention.”
“The Invisibles” was about the life force called by Freud, “EROS” and about the invisible force of Death, THANATOS. How about this “BuzzFeed”-style re-writes: “3 Ways Hormones Go Wild! Thank You, Eros!”
Blew your hair back on your shaved head, didn’t it? Not your daddy’s kinda headline.
“We Pretend We Don’t Pretend” was about how society does not reflect our personal values. The play on words was confusing. Get concrete, Jean! How about: “2 Reasons Your Neighbor Owns So Many Glocks”.
Got the attention of you gun toters, didn’t that?
Next - “I Wrote This Post In Dahlias” and then I posted photos of dahlias which I will re-photograph during the season. Oooh, boy. This is a toughie! The webinar gave us very explicit instructions about using sexual language (do it!). Flowers, after all, are all about sex. Not to mention the honey bees! I’ll revise this one in a minute.
Pump the ride.
WHY AM I HERE?
So, here’s how I will henceforth use “BuzzFeed”-style to pump this blog:
Step 1 – everything has to have steps.
First, like I said, statistics. Where does “BuzzFeed” get statistics? I started combing the daily paper and I started lurking and listening to people at the brewpub. It’s easy! You just pay attention to life! Here’s what I got:
“8 WAYS TO SAY FAGETABOUTIT!”
“14 WAYS TO BECOME VISIBLE TO SOMEONE UNDER 30!”
“4 POWER PHRASES TO STOP TWEENAGERS IN THEIR TRACKS!”
Oh, yeah, and don’t forget the exclamation point!
Step 2 – Use Power Words like “carnage” and “brutal”. These are magnetic and draw readers. Also, “doubt” is a great attractor. This generation feels put down. They read anybody who tells them why they are failing.
“10 REASONS WHY YOUR “5 REASONS WHY YOU DIDN’T DO WHATEVER” ISN’T ENOUGH!”
“THE NAUGHTY REASONS THE 3 BILLY GOATS GOT GRUFF!”
“RAINBOW CARNAGE – THE PRISM BRUTALLY SHREDS WHITE LIGHT!”
Bet-ter? Is this Better?
Step 3 – Sexual Innuendo.
It’s a game of manipulation, isn’t it?
“Buzz” and “Feed” create the buzz and feed it with small facts. Innuendo is carefully constructed words. Not real sexual descriptions.
Now, I need to dial up sexual references in my blog. Lust, sex, passion, that’s what people are looking for, by “people” the webinar said that the 20-30 year olds are actually “sexting” one another.
Sex-ting? Really? You 40-somethings do that? O-kay.
I really don’t think any readers of any age want a 67-year-old man sex-ting in a blog – especially my readers in Pakistan or China. Besides, I think I can remember what I think “sexting” would have been if, and it’s a big if, we had the technology for selfies which we thankfully didn’t.
Writing the sexy headlines are tough enough. How will it read when I write “hot sex passionate deep wise ‘seasoned’ sexting headlines?” Here we go!
“CANDY MAKER’S FUDGE GETS HARD”
“FLOWERS “DEFLOWERED” BY LICKING HONEY BEES – “It’s just TOO good!” The Big Red Dahlia Said.”
Okay, that’s enough, Jean, stand down. (At my age, I probably shouldn't have written that.) Roll Viagra commercial.
Thank you “Write Like ‘BuzzFeed’ Webinar”, I can already imagine the six new reasons six new readers will soon be flocking in to read my blog.
© Copyright 2016, Jean W. YeagerAll Rights Reserved