I found a good amount of Ben Smith’s briskly paced new book “Traffic: Genius, Rivalry, and Delusion in the Billion-Dollar Race to Go Viral” disheartening, in considering the vast amount of energy often bright (not always cynical) people were putting into voraciously attracting and retaining eyeballs with puffs of briefly entertaining trifles (some of which I also hungrily clicked on, and will do so again). Smith shares a number of interesting stories, both from his time observing and then working from within this particular type of machine. This was my favorite small detail, in which Smith recalls what happened after he joined the rising BuzzFeed media empire (after first turning the offer down) and pressed publish on his debut piece, “Welcome to BuzzFeed Politics,” setting the tone for a significant new social news organiziation:
Then I went to check the page: it was nearly illegible, the lines almost on top of each other. BuzzFeed had never before published a full paragraph.