12 Reasons this Jonah Peretti Post Should Go Viral

by Joe McGonegal on January 17, 2014 · 0 comments

in Media, Modern Geekhood

Jonah Peretti SM ’01 turned 40 last week. Judging by his work since his Media Lab days, 40 may be the new big thing. The story of his success in the past decade is the story of virality in the 21st century. Look how his Midas-touchy charm has worked its magic so far:

1. In 2001, Peretti learned that Nike was offering customizable sneakers to customers. Peretti asked them to print the word “sweatshop” on a pair. They refused. Then the Today show called.

2. Don’t want to give your number to someone at a bar? Tell them to call 212-479-7990 instead. That will patch them through to Peretti’s New York Rejection Line.

3. Another commentary on social mores: Black People Love Us, a satirical site Peretti launched a decade ago.

4. Have you reblogged, retweeted, reposted, or otherwise shared content online? You owe a penny for each to Peretti, who coined the term reblog during his work at Eyebeam.

5. Stop the NRA. Peretti didn’t do that, exactly, but creating the website shaped his thinking of his next big project…

6. The Huffington Post. Partnering with Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer in 2005, Peretti was the man behind the site’s design and functionality.

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7. Buzzfeed. To date, this is Peretti’s magnum opus. It’s currently the #56 most-trafficked website in the country.

8. More than cat videos? Yes, says Peretti. “Animals are single-digit percentages of our traffic, yet they’re used as shorthand by people who want to dismiss us. Animals matter because they get to the human element. Cats are not about cats, they’re about telling human stories.”

9. Acclaim: I Want Media named Peretti its 2012 Person of the Year. Peretti earned more votes than fellow finalists Nate Silver, Tina Brown, and Anderson Cooper. This month, he’s on the cover of Wired UK.

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10. Redefining journalism: Peretti hired Pulitzer Prize winner Mark Schoofs and Propublica journalist Ben Smith in the past year. Buzzfeed staff began reporting from Syria this fall.

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11. Disruptive innovation: Stephen Colbert told Peretti in an interview last month, “So many people are copying you now, it’s only going to be a matter of time before the New York Times is buzzfeeding their own site.”

12. The Dodo: Peretti’s animal appreciation has extended to advising this site, which launched on Tuesday.

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