Squee! Aww! These are the types of labels that Jezebel uses to describe is cutest content. Videos of hugging baby sloths, excited puppies and leaping lambs make a regular occurrence on the site. Generally, these are embedded YouTube or Vimeo videos, not content produced by Jezebel. Instead, Jezebel finds these treasures, and presents them with comments about how the video will brighten anyone’s day or the desire to adopt whatever creature is present.
This type of content is not even tangentially related to the manifesto of creating Jezebel as a reaction against the magazine industry. There is no social criticism in a Great Dane whose paws are two big to help him on a slippery floor. This is Jezebel’s added category to target to women: cute videos. Its power to attract and appeal to readership is scientifically proven.
If it seems like no one can resist the sweet face of an infant, it is because chemically they cannot. This clip from the Today show discusses an Oxford experiment, which measured brain waves. (Today Show 2012) When looking at babies, there is a visible spike in activity in the pleasure centers of the brain. It is speculated that this is because of the appeal of large vulnerable eyes and the round head of human infants. (Maestripieri 2004) Since these proportions are replicated in the animal kingdom, people are also attracted to the young of most species.(Maestripieri 2004) This can even be extended to inanimate objects that take on these same visible characteristics. (Maestripieri 2004)
The growth of “Cute” culture has only been augmented by the growth of YouTube. Anybody can post a video of a small cute accordance in his or her life, and if it picks up it can go viral. A viral video can have millions of hits. A 16 second video of a baby panda sneezing and scaring its mother has reached 134,967,592 views on YouTube. From this is it clear to see why embedding these type of videos would be profitable. At Gawker.com, the new editor recently put in place an experiment to drive people to the pages using links to these type of highly clickable stories such as a post about the “Ten Cutest Babies and Farts.” (Phelps 2012) For two weeks, each day a Gawker writer would be assigned the work of posting whatever videos they think would drive traffic to the site. (Daulerio 2012) In a twist, this was actually to give Gawker writers more time to spend on original content, getting the needed page views through the popular cute/interesting videos to sustain the real media content. (Phelps 2012) While Jezebel is not explicit or transparent as the Gawker experiment they are providing women with content that they want to see, adding to their original content. For now, the squees and awws balance out the heavier material on Jezebel, and provide excellent videos for engage with others
AWW! WHY WE’RE OBSESSED WITH CUTE ANIMALS. Today Show. NBC, 6 Jan. 2012. Web. 22 Apr. 2012. <http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/45898357>.
Daulerio, A.J. “Gawker Will Be Conducting An Experiment, Please Enjoy Your Free Cute Cats Singing And Sideboobs.” Gawker. 23 Jan. 2012. Web. 23 Apr. 2012. <http://gawker.com/5878065/gawker-will-be-conducting-an-experiment-please-enjoy-your-free-cute-cats-singing-and-sideboobs>
Maestripieri, Dario. “Developmental and Evolutionary Aspects of Female Attraction to Babies.” Science Briefs. American Psychological Association (APA), Jan. 2004. Web. 22 Apr. 2012. <http://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2004/01/maestripieri.aspx>.
Phelps, Andrew. “I Canât Stop Reading This Analysis of Gawkerâs Editorial Strategy Â» Nieman Journalism Lab.” Nieman Journalism Lab. Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, 21 Mar. 2012. Web. 22 Apr. 2012. <http://www.niemanlab.org/2012/03/i-cant-stop-reading-this-analysis-of-gawkers-editorial-strategy/>.