COM0015 – Blog #1 – Tools and Sources

Every day at 12:05pm I receive an email. I hear the ding, look at the time and instantly know that I’ve received my daily Google Alerts email. I have this set up on my work email so I can receive the latest news around words that I have flagged related to my job and employer. Words include the name of the organization, certain tourist attractions, different townships as well as the name of our CEO and Board members. This helps me keep an eye on what is being reported about our organization and to alert the Executive team of any red flag.

To keep up to date on the latest trends, I subscribe to Mashable through Snapchat. It’s the easiest way for me to get the latest tech news. If you aren’t familiar with Snapchat, the Snapchat Discover feature gives organizations full access to publicly visible snaps. They are updated daily and provide live breaking updates. For this reason, Snapchat is my main source of news.

What exactly is Snapchat Discover?! G2 explains it well: “Snapchat Discover is all about keeping you up-to-date on current events, pop culture, and more. Long gone are the days of Snapchat being used just to connect you and your friends. Now you can get the lowdown on breaking news, big events, and celeb gossip all at your fingertips. On the Discover screen you can watch your friends’ Snapchat Stories, Publisher Stories, Shows, and Our Stories.”

When I first started using Snapchat in 2013, the only “stories” users could see were posted by friends or celebrities. Snapchat Discover started in an effort to reach a wider audience and encourage people to sign up. Snapchat users are typically between the ages of 18 and 24, with the next largest demographic being 13-17. Although I am not part of this demographic, it is still a very attractive and centralized place for me to get all my news.


Users can subscribe to their favorite stories to ensure that they are seen first. I can honestly say that I rarely use Snapchat for its intended use of sending real time photos to friends, I spend most of my time on the app catching up on the latest. In one location I can get news from Vice, Now This News, CNN, The Washington Post, NBC, The Telegraph and The Daily Mail (to satisfy my gossip sweet tooth, of course). Each “story” can have anywhere from 10-20 screens. Each screen includes a headline, brief description and as the above video mentions, a full article that can be found by swiping up.


My second source of news is Buzzfeed. I subscribe to them on multiple platforms and get a lot of my information there. Their extensive cross-platform network includes things like articles, lists, quizzes and videos (which I LOVE) but I also spend a lot time on Buzzfeed News. Although they may not always be viewed as credible, they do provide the latest in “world-class reporting and investigative journalism”. As of March 24th 2019, 60% of millennials are reached by Buzzfeed and 70% of Buzzfeeds total site traffic comes from mobile devices. Social Blade reports that so far this month, Buzzfeed News has had over 1.45M views and in April of 2017, the website had an impressive 8.58M views.

I use these tools and sources because they became integrated into social media platforms that I have been using daily for years. It was not something I was looking or asked for but appeared over time. It is definitely out of convenience because all the sites I would need to visit individually are all in one location.


Reints, Renae (July 17, 2018) A New Snapchat Initiative Will Help Journalist Find and Verify Breaking News:

Wahl, Jordan (October 10 2018) What is Snapchat Discover: Fresh Content at your Fingertips:

Kunova, Marcela (July 13, 2018) How The Telegraph is reaching teenagers with news stories on Snapchat Discover :

Smith, Craig (May, 11, 2019) 38 Amazing Buzzfeed Statistics and Facts (2019):

Social Blade, Buzzfeed News:



5 Reasons We Love Lists


These are actual headlines you can find on BuzzFeed right now! Yep, that’s a whole lotta belly button lint!

You may read these titles and think they’re silly and probably a waste of time. But, something in your brain makes you want to click! Why?!

A couple of months ago, I attended a radio / digital media summit at Canadian Music Week and was fortunate to hear panelist Keith Hernandez, VP International Sales at BuzzFeed USA. I was absolutely captivated by his every word! Being someone who has worked for The Onion, Microsoft, VEVO and other notable companies, you can bet his experience is worth learning from.


How does this relate to lists? Well, because BuzzFeed is a hugely successful social media monster that publishes close to 400 posts a day, primarily in list or quiz format. So, without further ado…

5 Reasons We Love Lists

  1. They’re Easy to Read
    You can skim an entire article (or “listicle”) and get the key points without actually reading every sentence. You can also pick and choose which of the “points” you want to read entirely and unlike an article written in paragraph form, if you skip a point – you won’t miss critical information.
  2. They’re Easy to Write
    While some would argue lists are the lazy way out and aren’t “real journalism”, this short concise format allows the author to bring readers immediately to the message they wish to convey (just get to the good stuff already!). Why spend hours writing an article when you can get your point across in a list of “10 Things You Should Know”?!
  3. They’re Sharable on Social
    In today’s world of limited characters and limited attention spans, it’s easy to share a list. The content is easily consumed and therefore, more enjoyable to a reader and their followers.
  4. Lists Are Popular Everywhere, Not Just Online
    Grocery lists, To Do lists, Guest lists… our brains are comfortable grouping things together and we do so in list form. So, naturally, when a company like BuzzFeed pumps out hundreds of lists online, we’re inclined to read them. Note: BuzzFeed actually posts really useful lists too, ie: 7 Quick Dinners To Make This Week. They’re not all about robots!
  5. Lists Don’t Lie
    “5 Things You Need to Know” means 5 things, not 7 or 10. The reader knows what they’re getting in to when they open the article. It is a proven fact that numbers and specifics in headlines will provide better results than something generic like “Best Ways to Make a Sandwich”. Why? Being specific and exact implies expertise.

Have you read or shared any lists lately? Please share below! The more ridiculous, the better! 😉

Heinz Marketing – “10 Reasons Why Top 10 Lists Make Great Content” (2012)
Business Insider – “10 Reasons We Love Lists” (2013)
Wikipedia – “BuzzFeed” (2014)