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Sept. 7, 2012, 11 a.m.
Reporting & Production

Jonah Peretti: “It won’t work to try to make some other site like BuzzFeed”

BuzzFeed’s CEO says sites have to be “true to their core and their DNA.”

After Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night, C-SPAN Radio shared a stat about how many tweets per minute Obama (52,757), Mitt Romney (14,289) and other political figures generated over the course of the Democratic and Republican conventions.

The host attributed the numbers to BuzzFeed, paused a beat, then characterized it as a politics site. BuzzFeed is a politics site, but it’s always funny to hear it so narrowly defined. (And of course, those numbers originated with Twitter itself.)

Incidentally, a couple of hours earlier, I had caught up with BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti in New York. We talked about how people who get what BuzzFeed is trying to do really get it. And people who don’t really don’t. (A Washington political reporter who has covered a dozen presidential campaigns actually got angry when I recently described to him the popular website that prominently features both serious political reporting and silly cat photos.)

Here’s Peretti:

And for all the sites that are suddenly running BuzzFeed-inspired lists or other mimicry, Peretti has this to say:

“Sites usually do better when they’re true to their core and their DNA. And it’s hard to be like another site, you know? We don’t try to be like other sites. Some people thought that BuzzFeed would try to be like Huffington Post, because we have some of the same people on our board and people involved. But it wouldn’t have worked to try to make BuzzFeed like Huffington Post, and it won’t work to try to make some other site like BuzzFeed.”

POSTED     Sept. 7, 2012, 11 a.m.
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