Jonah Peretti stretches out casually in his chair, sneaker over knee, in his downtown New York office.
The office is encased in glass, a transparent layer barely separating him from his newsroom of editors. They’re staring at glass screens, too-and connecting with millions of readers who gaze at their creations through similar panes.
We met the curly-haired, 38-year-old CEO at the end of the work day, on a day when his site had run a post about the world’s cutest corgi and an eight-minute video about Hillary Clinton. That eclectic mix spread far and wide across the Internet.
The six-year-old BuzzFeed is now read by 30 million visitors a month, according to its internal statistics. And most don’t come in through its homepage or Google searches. They come because a friend, colleague, or celebrity recommended an article to them-bouncing from glass screen to glass screen, a network of human connections overlaid on digital ones.
Sharing means not caring-about Google
With Facebook and Twitter on the rise, BuzzFeed liberated itself from the constricting practice of optimizing its content for search engines like Google.
That’s because sharing became more important than searching as a way for people to find BuzzFeed content.
“We’ve spent two years not looking at Google search numbers,” Peretti said. “A sort of ‘aha’ moment for me was when I got a few emails from people saying, ‘I didn’t find anything good to share on BuzzFeed today, I’m upset.'”
Peretti realized people weren’t visiting his site just to entertain themselves. They wanted to find things for family members, friends, and Twitter followers. See more business stories and tips at Slaytition, by membership only