Ah, Buzzfeed, from the moment news of Dick Clark's death began to spread on Twitter, we knew, oh how we knew, that you were preparing the inevitable "Some Number of People Don't Know Who Dick Clark Is" post. And boom, within minutes, you confirmed our suspicions, posting Ryan Broderick's "Twitter Doesn't Know Who Dick Clark Is." But this time, some folks on Twitter seem to think that enough is enough. We know how to search Twitter, too, and our search for "Buzzfeed" and "inevitable" tells us that the jig is up. People have caught on to—grown to expect even—this kind of post, and they seem tired of it.
You see, Buzzfeed has seized on a magical formula in which someone dies or some newsworthy event happens, and an enterprising writer searches for people on Twitter who don't know about it. The writer assembles a blog post collecting and exposing these ignorami, and boom, collects page views. It was a brilliant and hilarious idea, Buzzfeed. Update: It's been pointed out to us that this particular approach to meme-making was originally popularized by Paul Tao of I Am Sound Records who started a Tumblr while watching the 2011 Grammys called "Who Is Arcade Fire?" assembling the thoughts of people who -- you guessed it -- hadn't heard of Arcade Fire. He succinctly summarized the essence of the joke in an interview with Fuse.tv: "As nice as everyone wants to pretend to be, we all secretly love poking lighthearted fun at people who don't know the bands we know and these blogs makes it funny and acceptable to do so." His Tumblr was promptly turned into a Buzzfeed post.
And Buzzfeed, you have certainly taken the form and run with it, and you've done it well. We actually could not believe/loved it when you found people who didn't know Titanic was a historical event beyond the James Cameron movie. That is some public service journalism—if the public service is making us cackle at our desks. But in this case, we're not surprised some of the young'uns on Twitter don't know who Dick Clark is. He was, unarguably, beloved by an older generation, and the hegemony of his New Years Rockin' Eve has definitely diminished over the years. Heck, we've babysat kids who don't know who Britney Spears is. (And we wept.) Of course you are going to find 20 of them among the Twitter masses who don't know about Dick Clark. So maybe it's time to retire this particular trope. But before you do, (not that we really suspect you will) we want to pay it homage in the best way we can by presenting our list of "Six Times Buzzfeed Discovered That People on Social Media Don't Know Who A Famous Person Is."
1. "Who Is Paul McCartney?!" Man -- we thought while reading this Buzzfeed classic -- kids these days...
2. "25 Unforgivable Reactions to Whitney Houston's Death." Poor unremembered Whitney.
3. "Who the F*** Is Bon Iver/Bonnie Bear?" This one came after the band won Best New Artist at the Grammy's.
4. "The 30 Dumbest Facebook Reactions to Steve Jobs' Death" Hint: They involved people not knowing who Steve Jobs was.
5. "Who Is Billy Crystal?" At this point Buzzfeed just admits in their subhed, "You knew it was coming." Yes we did.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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