This article is both hysterical and sad. “I Hate Myself Because I Don’t Work For BuzzFeed” is the title of the story, which is an entry into The Awl’s weekly weekend advice column. It is long but short and worth your time.
Why? Because it very much represents the breakdown of a generation. As the subtitle suggests, the note “encapsulates the millennial age.” It includes demands for attention and hyperbolized molehills, almost literal crying and accidental admittance of social media dependence: it’s basically one, long career FOMO that I’ve somehow heard from a few people before. (Not with Buzzfeed but with Hello Giggles and Eater and FunnyOrDie and Apple, etc.: it’s literally the same shit, different day.)
With this, it’s funny because it’s Buzzfeed. The advice seeker is lamenting her many failings as a result of not working—and very much longing to be—at Buzzfeed. It’s painful to read and think that this isn’t a joke, that this real person wrote paragraphs and paragraphs (over a thousand words, actually) on why not working at Buzzfeed is literally soul crushing. There is plenty of active inaction and the response, while also long and somewhat catty, points out two obvious notes: first, fucking do something and, second, nothing is this important. Ever. Also, go on an Internet cleanse.
It’s funny reading this on a day when Apple has unleashed it’s new batch of gadgets via the requisite masturbatory product production because this note and that presentation get at something society thrives on now: fanfare, a “big deal” made for something that otherwise shouldn’t be a “big deal.” It’s a product. Buzzfeed makes lists and articles. Really, there should not be any buzz involved or owed: it’s a cult of personality, whose involved figures are not really even the product. It’s all a performance. Like Buzzfeed, Apple is kind of an aimless entity: since the loss of Steve Jobs, the company continues it’s old Jobs-centric traditions as a way to put smoke and mirrors around a bunch of retreads. It kind of reminds me of the false sense of importance we once placed on select plush toys.
Buzz is buzz and, yes, Buzzfeed has evolved into a media empire—but it’s still buzz. All involved are characters in a buzz bubble that many consider to be inhuman, beyond normal needs and issues like financial insecurity and career aspirations. People and institutions that have power only have power because we pretend they are meaningful: that is exactly what is going on here. Millennial or not, having-your-shit-together or not, it’s important to put things into perspective. Once you allow something to be not great, you can finally assess it’s true importance to yourself and the world.