Viral With a Purpose? Upworthy Finds Serious Web Content Worth Sharing.
Upworthy launched today, a viral aggregator that promises to find interesting and shareable content on important topics. That is, topics more important than your average cat video or nip-slip slideshow.
Upworthy’s output is a stream of curated daily picks via email newsletter, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. Its first two featured items are both about the Trayvon Martin killing.
Upworthy was co-founded by MoveOn board president Eli Pariser, and former managing editor for The Onion, Peter Koechley. It is backed by Chris Hughes, the Facebook co-founder who recently bought The New Republic.
Pariser, who wrote the book “The Filter Bubble,” explained his justification for Upworthy today: “In the Darwinian environment of the hyper-relevant news feed, content about issues like homelessness or climate change can’t compete with goofy viral videos, celebrity news, and kittens … Hopefully, we can help bring attention and focus to stuff that really matters in a viral format that can reach millions.”
The intersection of virality and more serious content seems particularly timely, given the potency of Kony 2012 and other recent Internet activism, like the SOPA protests.
In an introductory post, Upworthy says it would like to run items about “something like planking or Tebowing but about climate change” and “17 Sexiest Pics About Income Inequality.” I guess it’s better to poke fun at yourself before other people can.