As much as I like to think I know what the buzz is on the net everyday, it's virtually impossible to always know what's hot and what's not. That's why I rely on BuzzFeed, a NY-based site that posts 10 "Buzz Detected" topics per day, so you don't get bombarded with content.
With a clean, fresh layout and categories ranging from science and celebrity to food and tech, you're guaranteed to find the most talked about stories on the net at any given moment. Have you read up on the Stephen Colbert Backlash, did you know James Lipton used to be a pimp and have you ever considered adding scrabble fashion to your wardrobe? Buzzfeed claims they use "technology and human editors to find the hottest buzz" on hot topics and they aren't kidding.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing one of the site's "professional trend detectors," senior editor Peggy Wang. Peggy has been working in the tech industry for the past five years is the total tech-savvy geek chic package so I had to put her on the spot and test out her geek cred. To check out the full interview,
Geeksugar: Tell us a bit about yourself...
Peggy: When I started working at BuzzFeed, it was almost a total 180 degree career change for me, moving from computer programming to creating content. Basically, I went from being a code monkey to a "tastemaker," which is awesome because now I get to incorporate my obsession with pop culture, music, fashion, etc. At BuzzFeed, I've always had the opportunity to delve back into the back end, but honestly, it's been a year and I haven't quite had the desire yet!
Geeksugar: With so much content on the Internet, how do you determine what is Buzzfeed worthy?
Peggy: Usually, I'll just spot something I think is interesting either in my RSS reader or in our trend detector, and then I do some research to see if the "buzz" is thought-provoking in some way, especially if bloggers seem to have vehement opinions or even just something clever or funny to say. Also, if I hear about some obscure movie or band or website that is getting some attention from respected resources (early adopters, if you will), then there's a good chance it could take off.
Geeksugar: What is your main goal for Buzzfeed? What are you hoping readers get when they visit?
Peggy: Well, I really love that the trends we choose to cover are a hodgepodge of interesting things that you might have a conversation about at a party. When I was a computer programmer, I didn't have time to read a lot of blogs or newspapers or magazines, and I always felt a little out of the loop and a step behind. So basically, I would hope that BuzzFeed helps our readers feel less awkward at parties. Also, we help make good things popular by giving bloggers ideas to write about. Truly "good" things don't need marketing dollars and huge advertising campaigns to gain steam - word of mouth is so much more powerful. If you've got a friend with great taste who recommends something to you, that means a lot more than seeing some flashy ad. That's why I think having human editors is so important. We use lots of technology to find features on BuzzFeed but in the end everything is written in a human voice by an editor with good taste.
Geeksugar: What are some popular tech and/or gadget trends on Buzzfeed?
Peggy: One of my favorite tech trends we did is The Mullet Strategy because it's a concept that we coined, and bloggers responded by writing about it and sending us their posts to link to. Some other popular ones were Hand-Drawn Video Games, Lifecasting, and Lolsecretz.
Geeksugar: What websites do you love visiting and why?
Peggy: I love gossip sites that are clever and funny, like Best Week Ever and Jossip. The blogs for Wired and Vice Magazine always have really interesting posts. As far as personal blogs go, I love Momus' blog and this girl Jessica Hopper's blog (she's a writer for the Chicago Tribune, and I love her taste in music and writing style). I'm also addicted to eBay. And the Sugar sites are all interesting and really well designed.
Geeksugar: How many blog feeds are in your RSS reader?
Peggy: I have about 300 blog feeds that I read every day, but they get backed up pretty quickly. They are organized by category and I have a very methodical procedure for going through them. But sometimes if I'm feeling impractical, I'll spend a bunch of time going through my fashion feeds because I need an outfit idea for an event, or my food feeds because I want to make dinner that night. Two birds, one stone! Also, the BuzzFeed trend detector automatically "reads" and filters about 50,000 sites for me so I can see what is bubbling to the top. And I get dozens of tips and suggested links from BuzzFeed readers. All this information comes together in what we call the "BuzzFeed Terminal." It is like our own Bloomberg Terminal for web buzz and all the editors use it to find stuff and publish features.
Geeksugar: How many hours do you spend online a day?
Peggy: I'd say between 8 and 10. It's hard staying away from the internet before bed, but I try to keep an active social life to keep me away from the computer.
Geeksugar: Are you a PC or Mac user?
Peggy: I'm pretty exclusively a Mac user.
Geeksugar: Which do you prefer and why? BlackBerry, iPhone, neither.
Peggy: I was an iPhone pessimist at first, jaded by all the hype. Then, my friend Scott had one at this wedding I went to, and he was able to surf the internet during all the boring parts. Needless to say, I was jealous of his iPhone, even though he looked like kind of a tool. It's probably not the best etiquette to write an email while your friends are exchanging vows, but that's just the sort of power you've got in the palm of your hand with the iPhone. I personally use the LG enV, because I like having a QWERTY keypad for texting. Honestly, I don't really get enough email to justify having a BlackBerry. I wish I got more email. More people should write me.