Beyond the obvious appeal to ego and desire to self-promote, I thought this BuzzFeed reading list was possibly the most fitting reading list I have seen targeted to this particular audience.
Btw, the BuzzFeed staff must be filled with... Borderlines? Sociopaths? Car salesmen? How are they so able to discern and fill people's secret points of vanity and predicting likes/dislikes that people aren't even aware of themselves? However they acquired it, they have an impressive skillset.
I feel like the thing that drives a lot of people's willingness to share something widely like these, and consequently the key to virality, is the feeling that they have really been seen or known for who they are as a person in a way that they don't regularly encounter. "I'm an introvert!" "I'm a brony!" "I'm Blanche from the Golden Girls!" And it's a great way to share ourselves with the world in a way that doesn't seem explicitly egocentric, because this thing we're sharing is of general interest enough that even the people in our circle that don't care to know these personal facts about us may see something of themselves or a loved one in what we shared. Because as personal as these things feel to us, there are also obviously other people who feel the exact same way (at least, presumably, the author). Every listicle ("You know you're from a small town if . . . ") or online quiz gives us a label and a sense of belonging. It's funny, when I was first doing book publicity, everybody from the publishing house was almost entirely focused on there being as big an initial splash as possible -- thought it was absolutely essential to get random members of the television watching, radio listening, magazine reading public to buy and read the book and gawk at it. Which was fine, and if that is what it took to get the book published and out there, great. But I actually wrote it (and continue to write this) for my real target audience of anyone who thinks this way too. Or someone intimate enough with the members (or the traits) of that target audience to want to dip their toe into this mental world. And if people's continuing emails, tweets, instagrams, etc., regarding how they feel about the book/blog are any indication that the target audience is actually being reached, that's something that I'm pretty satisfied about. Everyone is selling something in this world, maybe. But if I could do even half as well as BuzzFeed at providing people some measure of self-understanding, including the understanding that they may be part of a larger group of people with very similar experiences and worldviews, I'd feel like I had accomplished something worthwhile.
Because these websites and their editors have gotten pretty precise. I am really almost daily impressed. At first when they were targeting the general population I thought, old hat. Now, though, they are targeting the craziest little niches and really speaking to them in a way that is almost preternaturally omniscient. Anthropologists will have such rich primary sources to draw from when they study this culture.