BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti on how the social web impacts what we share

Digital disruptors

Earlier this week, we launched our digital disruptors video series featuring insights from the people shaking up the media industry. Today’s disruptor is Jonah Peretti, founder and chief executive of BuzzFeed, which labels itself a “social news organization”. Famous for addictive lists such as “21 pictures that will restore your faith in humanity” and “13 simple steps to get you through a rough day“, BuzzFeed has recently expanded into “hard news”, hiring former Politico writer Ben Smith and signing a partnership deal with the New York Times. 

We sat down with Peretti to learn how social media is upending the way we share news and information. Indeed, this rise of social sharing might actually be cultivating the mass intelligent (our term for the increasingly popular nerd demographic). Because in a world where we broadcast information online, isn’t it better to share an article from, say, The Economist that makes us look intelligent over an article with nude Scarlett Johansson photos that makes us look, in Peretti’s words, “kind of pervy”? Both articles are read; only one is shared.