RACHEL MARTIN, host:
So we here at the BPP, we're kind of Google monkeys. But with our busy schedules, we can only get through about two-thirds of the World Wide Web every day. It's always that last third that's hard to get through for some reason.
Now, to get a better sense for what is awesome on the Internet this week, we're going to turn now to Scott Lamb. He's the editor of BuzzFeed, which means he sees way more of what's going on out there than the rest of us. Probably like, 98 percent of the Internet, maybe, you get through a day, do you think, Scott?
Mr. SCOTT LAMB (Editor, BuzzFeed): That last two percent is always really hard.
MARTIN: That last two percent, yeah, it's always tough to get through. Thanks for joining us. Before we get to what's happening this week, let's talk about a little bit of history about what BuzzFeed is, does, for people that might not be familiar with the site. I mean, one thing you do is get a sense for what people are excited about on the Internet. How do you figure that out?
Mr. LAMB: A couple of different ways. We are trying to kind of track buzz things that are about to take off. So we have our own software that crawls the Internet and reads a lot of different sites and will tell us if something is really exciting, people are linking to something. And then we read a lot, and we have a lot of different - you know, Google blog search, every possible tool that looks at what people are reading online, we scan. We just read a lot of sites every day.
MARTIN: And does some of it have to do with your own interests? I mean, do you just say, I'm going to go down this little rabbit hole, and all of a sudden you decide, I think this is going to be a trend, I smell a trend on the web?
Mr. LAMB: Sometimes we try and push stuff. I mean, that's one of the interesting things on the job is we're reacting to things that are happening online, and sometimes we'll be like, you know what? This seems interesting. Let's see how far we can push it and see if it takes off.
PESCA: Can you do the opposite? Can you kill something that you think is the object of faux-buzz, like this Miley Cyrus controversy? Are people really into that?
Mr. LAMB: Who's really upset about that? We don't do much in the way of killing. We can kind of push stuff, but we don't try to do too much editorializing on the negative side. We're trying to find stuff that people are mostly excited about.
PESCA: Yeah, the most buzz, the better for you.
Mr. LAMB: But we can, I mean, we do a lot of backlashes, which is kind of the opposite of buzz.
MARTIN: Let's talk about you - in this world, you have to develop some strategies. One of them you've come up with is something called the Mullet Strategy. Do tell.
Mr. LAMB: This was a term that Jonah Peretti, who started the site, coined, the idea being it's all business up front and the party's in the back. That's where it gets crazy. And there are a lot of sites out that that kind of follow this strategy. Like Digg, if you go to the front page of the site, it seems very orderly, and you can kind of get a sense of what's going on.
But it's huge, and there's all sorts of stuff going on. I mean, people can link to basically anything online. And there's a lot of stuff going on kind of behind the scenes that the average users never really going to come across, that makes up a majority, in some ways, of the site.
MARTIN: So let's talk about some of that party in the back. Let's start a little high brow. Tell us about what Nose Fetishism - I can't even say that - what is it with people who like pig noses? And why is this popular?
PESCA: That's high brow, by the way.
Mr. LAMB: It's very. We are starting right at the top of the food chain. I mean, it definitely has something to do with - I mean, Wikipedia defines nasophilia as, yeah, just a nose fetish, people have an unusual attraction to people with pig noses. The thing about it recently, there was the movie...
MARTIN: That Reese Witherspoon thing.
PESCA: Christina Ricci.
Mr. LAMB: Yes, Christina Ricci. And I think she was hoping to get some sort of Oscar buzz.
Mr. LAMB: Usually when you dawn any sort of fake nose...
PESCA: Exactly. But Oscar turned up their noses...
Mr. LAMB: But I think that really kind of awakened people to the underground of nose fetishes. If you go online, of course you're going to find a lot of stuff about nose fetishes. Any sort of weird fetish that you've never heard of, the Internet will inform you.
MARTIN: And so you're seeing a lot of this now? People are uploading their own videos?
Mr. LAMB: There's been a lot more chatter about it, yeah, there are a lot of pig nose sites devoted solely to women with...
PESCA: Wait, nasophilia should just mean any kind of nose fetish. Porsinasophilia should be pig nose fetish, right?
Mr. LAMB: I guess there is probably - you can differentiate between those.
MARTIN: You should make that distinction in your own post.
Mr. LAMB: Sorry to all the nasophiliacs out there.
MARTIN: As something that's getting a lot of buzz is a blog that's called Postcards from Yo Momma. This just became the latest blog to book deal apparently. Explain what this is about.
Mr. LAMB: It's a really - it's a pretty hilarious site. Basically the model is they just publish emails that people send in that they get from their moms that are ridiculous or funny in some way. They're kind of heartening. It's not too ironic.
They're not meant to really be making fun of moms, but a lot of them are about how moms don't understand technology or the Internet, and amazingly, they've already got a book deal. The site's been around for I think about a month, a month and a half, and...
MARTIN: I pulled one of the posts that I thought was the most hilarious. I mean I - when I found out these were real, I was actually flabbergasted. I mean here's a little exchange. Looks like a text message.
"Mom: Why don't you marry your friend Caroline? She can have a baby. Your brother could be the donor so it would be my real grandchild. It would be your niece or nephew as well, as your son and daughter. Me: Wow, it appears you've put some thought into this. Mom: It came to me last night. I thought it was an awesome idea. Run my idea by Caroline, I'll even pay for the psychiatrist the kid will need one day."
This is sad to me. This is a little bit sad.
Mr. LAMB: It is a bit sad. There's something definitely very voyeuristic about Postcards from Yo Mama, but you know, kudos to them. It's a great, it's a great idea. It's very easy for them to publish stuff, and they've got a book deal somehow.
MARTIN: I know, right? And finally I want to talk about Tina Fey in that whole realm of talking about backlash and how you figure out if something is going to be really hot or when the tipping point will occur, when will the backlash start? Tina Fey is at something called a "notlash."
Mr. LAMB: She's in stasis, yes.
MARTIN: Stasis, Internet stasis, explain what that means.
Mr. LAMB: Well, I was looking at this, originally, kind of hoping that there would be a big backlash. I like Tina Fey a lot, but she had, you know, the movie was coming out...
MARTIN: "Baby Mama."
Mr. LAMB: "Baby Mama," "30 Rock" has done really well. People only ever say great things about how funny she is, so I went online hoping that there would actually be the kind of this brewing, and there's not. Like, it's totally, it's very even. And people seem, A, unwilling to say much bad about her, which is kind of understandable, but the buzz is kind of split, which I think is really rare. Usually once a backlash starts it takes on a life of its own, and people go crazy.
MARTIN: Some of what you do is look to the negative space. If someone's getting a lot of positive publicity, you look to go troll up the negative stuff and the reverse.
Mr. LAMB: Yeah. And I couldn't find it with Tina Fey, sadly.
PESCA: See, it used to be true with John Cusack, too, and now we're living the backlash.
Mr. LAMB: Yes.
PESCA: Just watch out.
MARTIN: Scott Lamb, editor at BuzzFeed, filling us in on all that's new and cool and buzz-worthy on the Internet. We're going to have you back, Scott, to talk to us again.
Mr. LAMB: Oh, great. Thanks a lot.
MARTIN: Thanks for being here. Take care.
Mr. LAMB: Bye.