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Viral site BuzzFeed launched a new content vertical on Wednesday called “Community” that consists entirely of user-submitted content.
While BuzzFeed has relied on reader content for years, the new vertical will increase the visibility of such contributions. It will also increase the chances of a viral pay-off from the site’s high-tech publishing tools. The new “Community” section includes a formal submission process that permits users to submit one post per day until their (what else) “Cat Power” increases, which will allow more frequent submissions.
“Community has always been a huge part of our site — some of our best posts have come from community submissions — and now we want to reinvent community for the social web,” editorial director Scott Lamb said in an email statement.
BuzzFeed’s decision to expand the scope of user-generated offerings comes at a time when media outlets are increasingly looking to commenters as a source of talent and future hires. My colleague Mathew Ingram explained the phenomenon well earlier this week in “Want a job at Gawker Media? You can get a head start by being a regular commenter.”
The new section is consistent with BuzzFeed’s improbable quest to become more serious and more inane at the same time. In recent weeks, the site has been at forefront of major news stories like the Boston bombings while also churning out its regular fare like “14 cats who think they’re sushi.”