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.
- Read a site for 10 minutes.
- Immediately take a cognitive test. I chose the “Rotation” test, which tests concentration from Cambridge Brain Sciences.
- Relax for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then on to the next site.
Results (in order of my execution)
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.
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
I played a quick 3v3 ranked game.
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.