Spotlight Technology Company: Upworthy

Upworthy has been named one of the 50 Smartest Companies by MIT Technology review. The website was launched in 2012 by the former executive of MoveOn and the former managing director of The Onion. Their mission is to “intersect the awesome, the meaningful, and the viral.” They spread content pertaining to social justice with impressive vitality, and they’ve done an incredible job.

Fast Company calls Upworthy “the fastest growing media site of all time.” Upworthy is basic and capitalizes on how easy it is to share things – the vast majority of its content is unoriginal –through social media while providing strong visuals and provocative headlines.

Just what is it about Upworthy that has bolstered its success? In conjunction with its focus on social issues, Upworthy embraces emotion. Hilarious videos, cute animals, and captivating gossip are spread across the internet like wildfire. They now share space with meaningful and newsworthy items that are just as intriguing and entertaining, but also elicit emotions such as indignation and frustration.

The company’s mission is its driving force. Contrary to popular belief, it is not about political preference. While there is no pretense that it is unbiased, the focus is on “the powerless versus the powerful.” This translates to support for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) and women’s rights, as well as a belief in global warming and an awareness of socioeconomic disparity.

Although it has sometimes been criticized, another tactic that captures the attention of internet users is the utilization of mysterious headlines – which often give no clues whatsoever about the content of the videos. To ensure that headlines will be appropriately compelling, each soon-to-be post is assigned at least 2 dozen titles that are then narrowed and immediately tested for effectiveness. Once the “winner” is decided, site visitors can’t help but click.

Yet another of Upworthy’s admirable traits is its credibility. An astonishing amount of online entities produce newsworthy content that is unable to be verified at best and blatantly false at worst. The staff prides itself on its superior fact-checking controls. All claims and statistics are verified via scientific research studies, government agencies, and major media sources. Not only is a reputation of being trustworthy important to the folks at Upworthy, but some of the content in the post is both astonishing and unbelievable. These are the reasons their content is worth sharing, so it is vital that they are factually accurate.

Take a few minutes to explore the site and view the videos attached to headlines like “It Sounds Pretty Racist When You Say It All At The Same Time” and “He’s Counting Down From 21, And By The Time He Reaches 15, My Stomach Is In Knots.” Witnessing the company’s mission in action is the surest way to appreciate its purpose, its impact, and its worth.

Have you checked out Upworthy? If so, what did you think?

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