At best, things online are usually either awesome or meaningful, but everything on Upworthy.com has a little of both. Sensational and substantial. Entertaining and enlightening. Shocking and significant.
That's what you can expect here: no empty calories. No pageview-juking slideshows. No right-column sleaze. Just a steady stream of the most irresistibly shareable stuff you can click on without feeling bad about yourself afterwards. Like these:
For more, check out our mission statement from launch, which features an adorable kitten.
We're a mission-driven media company. We're not a newspaper — we'd rather speak truth than appear unbiased. And we're not a political campaign — we're more interested in the powerless versus the powerful than in Democrats versus Republicans.
But we do have a point of view. We're pro-gay marriage, and we're anti-child poverty. We think the media is horrible to women, we think climate change is real, and we think the government has a lot to learn from the Internet about efficiency, disruption, and effectiveness.
And then there are dozens of issues where our curators disagree with each other — areas where there's legitimate debate to be had amongst well-meaning people. We try to encourage that debate by curating great pieces of content that represent different sides.
Basically, "The Daily Show" generation. People who care about what's going on in the world but don't want to be boring about it.
Oh, you're too sweet. You don't need to do anything, but since you asked, the most important thing you can do is to share nuggets from Upworthy.com with everyone you know as often as humanly possible.
We show pop-ups based on how often you visit Upworthy, which we track with a cookie. What are cookies? Well, back in the mid-'90s, websites were like books: if you opened the same book twice it'd look exactly the same. But now, websites can remember you've been there, using a little piece of code called a cookie.
If you visit Upworthy more than once a week and are STILL seeing too many pop-ups, that's probably because of your browser settings. Make sure you're allowing cookies to be stored for Upworthy.com and then click the "close" button the next time you see a pop-up. You should then be set for awhile! Here are some helpful pages on how to change your cookies' settings in the most common browsers:
Our goal is to foster a community of people who are focused on spreading ideas within their existing groups of friends on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and wherever else. So if you've got something burning to say about one of the videos or graphics you see on Upworthy, share it on social media and start the conversation there.
If you want to suggest content, tweet it at us (@Upworthy). For media inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To discuss partnership or business development, email email@example.com. If you want to give us feedback on the site, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're a small team, so we can't promise we'll get back to you, but we will read everything (as long as it's not sent by a spam bot).
Thanks for asking, imaginary interlocutor! Here's a message from our founders addressing this very question:
Our mission at Upworthy is to elevate and draw attention to the issues that really matter — from gay marriage to body image to global poverty — through irresistible social media. You should judge us by how good a job we're doing at that. And please do, sincerely—we want you to hold us to that standard. Send us feedback on how we're doing, anytime.
For mission-driven organizations working in a business like lead generation, where you're very tangibly and concretely building organizing power to create change, whom you work with is a moral decision. We promise that we'll never do lead generation/membership-building work with groups that we don't believe are, on balance, creating positive social change.
The "on balance" part is important, because we actually almost never agree with everything any group does. And there are tons of places where people of good faith can differ. Do religious organizations that feed hundreds of thousands of low-income folks but also oppose gay marriage do more good or harm? What about groups taking unpopular stances on issues that go against movement orthodoxy, but we believe to be honestly worth exploring? How should we think about non-profits that have great missions but lack compelling theories of change? These aren't easy questions.
So we're not pledging to make everyone happy with our choices of whom to work with and whom not to. But we promise to make those decisions with integrity, making sure we truly believe all of our membership-building partners are creating positive change.
Also worth noting up front: We think there are different rules for display advertising (which we don't currently offer or plan to offer). Almost all media sites — even mission-driven media sites with a clear point of view — host ads from all sorts of corporations and others who hold points of view they disagree with. The standard there is to maintain a clear line between advertisers and editorial so that advertisers don't influence editorial coverage, nor does editorial approve/veto advertising. There, the tradition is set and no endorsement is implied. If we were to go in that direction, we'd probably follow a similar path. But we believe paid membership growth is different.
We welcome feedback and input — email us with thoughts.
– Eli Pariser and Peter Koechley, co-founders