Buzzfeed and Youth Ministry is a blog submission from one of our newest contributors Heather Campbell. Heather is a Junior High Director in Indianapolis, working with a talented and diverse team of staff and volunteers. Heather is passionate about coffee, laughing until she cries, the St. Louis Cardinals, writing, training volunteers, and her one-eyed cat, Iris. Heather has the privilege of writing on various youth ministry platforms across the interwebs, but you can find her blogging about her life in ministry over at heatherleacampbell.me. You can follow her and Iris on Twitter/Instagram @heatherlea17.
One of my secret pleasures is the website Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed is a collection of anything and everything on the internet–articles, viral videos, memes, quizzes, how-tos, opinion pieces, and now even news. As I watched some of the major events of last year, including the demonstrations and controversy in Ferguson, Buzzfeed was shared by my friends as a news source on Facebook more than actual news sources. Buzzfeed has become a pretty big deal.
Buzzfeed is a collection of anything and everything on the internet–articles, viral videos, memes, quizzes, how-tos, opinion pieces, and now even news. Heather CampbellWhy is it so popular? With sensationalized headlines highly popular right now for online news, Buzzfeed delivers titles that make you want to click. The articles are full of pop culture, terrible jokes, and content that pushes boundaries. And I can’t lie–that’s why I keep coming back for more! I even downloaded the app so that I could “favorite” articles that I thought were the best.
Even my teenagers love the site! And I think that’s where this poses an issue–Lately I have noticed that Buzzfeed is posting content that is more and more “NSFW,” that is, “Not Safe For Work.”
We understand that Buzzfeed is “low journalism” and I try not to judge it too harshly. The issue is that although the site is targeted towards adults, it is reaching teenagers and providing them content that I find disturbing as an adult who invests in their lives.
Want proof? As I write this, the number one post on Buzzfeed is “24 Diagrams to Help You Have Better Sex.” The most popular quiz is “Who is the Next Person You Should Have Sex With?” Another on this list is “Here’s Why Hangovers Get So Much Worse When You Get Older.” Under the “Teen Section: “10 Boner Facts that are Too Hard to Handle.”
So what does Youth Ministry do with Buzzfeed?
1. Include Buzzfeed when you inform parents of the dangers and concerns around other social networking websites.
2. Be smart and read Buzzfeed for yourself, as it can be a great resource for youth workers to find out more about youth culture.
3. And as always, never shame a student for the types of social media that they use. Instead, use topics like Buzzfeed in conversations about connecting culture to Christ.
And with that, I leave you with this Buzzfeed article: 33 Ways You Know You Were a Youth Group Kid.