I spend a lot of time on the internet doing a lot of reading. A lot. I may not be a professional, but I’ve stared at enough internet posts to know good formatting from bad.
If there’s a sliding scale of internet content formatting, Buzzfeed “articles” are the bottom of the heap. As Buzzfeed Articles Without the GIFs has taught us, the typical Facebook-share-bait Buzzfeed article reads like a third-grade writing assignment. It relies entirely on the pictures and contains very little in the way of content, depending entirely on being relatable or just vaguely nostalgic and thus earning more clicks and ad space.
On the other hand, it’s hard to decide exactly what makes good internet formatting, largely because the formatting depends a lot on content. To prove that the problem isn’t list-based or entertainment articles, I point to Cracked.com. (Site contains adult language. Cleverly utilized adult language.) Cracked still uses extra media to make points and punchlines with embedded pictures and videos and frequently links to sources and related articles, but still demands a high caliber of writing. This author, John Cheese, has a particularly interesting style. I’m a sucker for clever similes, unusual and illustrative word choices, and sophisticated but readable vocabulary. On the more journalistic end, the Al-Jazeera America website has a lot of great examples of formatting. Like Cracked, it uses extra media as seasonings, rather than as the main course.
Applying these ideas to my final project, I think I’d like to split the difference between the two. I’d like something as informative as Al-Jazeera, as entertaining as Cracked, and in my own voice. I don’t know how many videos and pictures I can use, given my topic, but I’ve managed it thus far in my other posts. I’m sure I’ll find a way!