Netflix documentary series Follow This gives us insight into the newsroom of BuzzFeed in bite-sized, effective episodes.
I often forget when I am sat in the comfort of my own home commentating on films that there are journalists in the world that are on foot, delivering news stories that we could never have imagined. I probably take it for granted. Nevertheless, BuzzFeed has kindly given Netflix access to an easy-to-watch series, opening the doors to the world of journalists, with each 10-20 minute episode offering a different intriguing subject. Follow This is a bite-sized offering, but it’s enough to articulate the points.
Netflix’s Follow This goes to the very corners of the web that we would not even think of travelling to. Episode one is titled “Internet Whisperers”, with a BuzzFeed journalist investigating YouTubers who make purposefully sensual videos to calm the viewer’s anxieties. Of course, the journalist asks the important question as she watches a relatively attractive YouTuber whisper soothingly into the microphone: whether some users treat this unusual method as ****. The fact is, Internet Whisperers exist, and I was amusingly shocked that people could achieve their therapy through this medium.
Not every episode of Follow This is designed to show bizarre areas of the internet that will amuse. There are, of course, some episodes that delve into the darker web. One episode discusses the growing revolution of “Men’s Rights Activists” (MRA), with the journalist exploring why this phenomenon has occurred, speaking to both males and females who support men that believe they are becoming secondary in society. Surprisingly, this short episode provided balance in an educational manner, rather than it having some kind of political agenda.
As you go through each episode of Follow This, you will learn something unique from the eyes of a BuzzFeed journalist, and whilst there is never a conclusive answer to each subject, you will be educated. You will find out about the growing fear of technology, replacing the voices and faces of real people, and the apocalyptic defence group designed just for black communities due to feeling let down by Hurricane Katrina government aid.
Netflix’s Follow This should be explored further with other outlets; the likes of Vice and maybe even CNN. With the term “fake news” growing in strength day by day at a frustrating level, witnessing journalists with boots to the ground manages to give them so well earnt respect and shows difficulties faced in publishing the next story in modern media. Whilst Follow This does not delve into much of the political news, the Netflix documentary series provides journeys of real BuzzFeed journalists exploring outlandish stories we never imagined existed.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.