10 minutes of Reddit made me smarter, 10 minutes of Buzzfeed made dumber, 10 minutes of Medium made me really dumb

I’ve been pretty open about my dislike of Buzzfeed.  I think I’ve actually tweeted that “Buzzfeed is the Fort McMurray of the internet”.  But there’s definitely a level of “kicking sand on the girl that you like”, because every time I’m on Facebook and someone posts a list from Buzzfeed, it does take a certain amount of will power not to click on it. I kind of want to know the “17 ways that horses are plotting to take over the world” or “8 things you’ll never believe were x-rayed in someone’s butt”, but I know that clicking on it would mean that the human race got dumber by a certain percentage point, and more importantly – it would mean that Buzzfeed won.

And just a side note, as a kid that grew up in the 90’s, I’m quite aware of the mainstream nostalgia that’s circulating around.  I don’t need another list featuring rehashed Fresh Prince of Bel-Air GIFs, no matter how ironical they are.  How about some “It’s Like You Know” GIFs, or better yet, some “Martial Law” GIFs?  And what about a GIF of that time that Jay Leno fought Hulk Hogan on a WCW pay per view and Kevin Eubanks did the Diamond Cutter (DDP’s signature move) and won?  WHY NOT MENTION THAT BUZZFEED? WHHYYYYYY!

Reddit on the other hand is a site I unabashedly love.  It’s become a daily staple of my internetting to the point where I don’t really know where I would go anymore if it were gone.  For some reason, even though both sites are just piles of content feeding my internal ADHD, Reddit just seems smarter.  It seems like a site for the geeks that played Magic the Gathering in the cafeteria and were made fun of and are now millionaires.

So I devised a test to see which site made my brain rot the most.

Methodology

  1. Read a site for 10 minutes.
  2. Immediately take a cognitive test.  I chose the “Rotation” test, which tests concentration from Cambridge Brain Sciences.
  3. Relax for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then on to the next site.

Results (in order of my execution)

Control:

control

This was the control for the test to establish the baseline of my concentration.  The test is actually pretty hard and really does take a lot of concentration as it ramps up.  I highly recommend that you watch the instructional video before you try it.

Buzzfeed

buzzfeed

Articles read:

Reddit

reddit

I was going to post a full list of Reddit posts, but there are way to many.  I’d ballpark the content to be approximately 50% Starcraft news, 30% front page, 20% pictures of adorable animals.

Bonus: Starcraft 2

starcraft 2

I played a quick 3v3 ranked game.

Bonus: Medium

mediumArticles read:

Conclusion

I want to preface this conclusion by saying that there is definitely no scientific weight to this experiment (I was the only participant, I have clear biases against certain websites, Heisenberg-ian surveying issues).  One thing though, is I think it’s interesting to see my score drop so dramatically after Starcraft 2.  I thought by playing a game of quick reaction time and visual analysis, I would have been primed to rock at the concentration test, but I actually made an extremely large amount of mistakes.  My guess is that I was too “click happy” and didn’t take the time to think of what the right answer was.

I think it’s possible that my Medium score is low because I was just groaning at the articles most of the time (some of the content on that site is surprisingly bad and pretentious), and there also could have been a recovery factor from my Starcraft 2 game.  As for my Buzzfeed score, I think there’s a level of passivity to the content (just because you’re really not analyzing a lot of information, just images and maybe a sentence to accompany it).  However, if that theory with Buzzfeed is true, I’m not entirely sure why the reddit score was higher.

Like I said before, this test is not meant to be scientific.  I just thought it would be fun to see the results.  Try it yourself and let me know how you did in the comments section.

 

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