March 24, 2014

"Any kind of edge or stridency is a no-no for shareability."

The secrets of Upworthy, revealed in New York Magazine.

ADDED: The linked article is way too long and obfuscatory. Is Upworthy about building traffic for the ultimate purpose of monetizing and cashing in or is it a political propaganda operation at heart?

It's hard for the reader even to notice that should be the central question. If you do, good luck trying to find an answer in that prose that's cluttered with "Star Trek posters, felt ­Muppet versions of [it doesn't matter], and a cat named Bones with an unerring instinct to hop on the desk during work-related video­conferences, nuzzling his head at [an editor] and, by extension, pointing his anus directly at the camera lens...." and blah blah blah.

19 comments:

traditionalguy said...

TLDR. But this sounds to me like an Episcopalian attitude to website writing.

Ann Althouse said...

Some key people mentioned in that article come from Madison, Wisconsin.

Understand the degree to which it is sincere… or simply wonder.

Ann Althouse said...

See… I can be edgy.

David said...

I hope Upworthy is more worthy than that swamp of an article. So many words, so little content.

David said...

Ooops. I think I just was a teensy bit strident.

mccullough said...

I despise emotional manipulation. It's very cynical.

Biff said...

"They wound up working together at MoveOn.org…"

Seems like an understatement. Did they work in the mailroom? Were they interns? Maybe junior copy editors? Well, no. Pariser was the Executive Director of MoveOn, later becoming "Board President." He remains a MoveOn board member. Meanwhile, Koechley was Editor in Chief of
MoveOn.org Civic Action. (I'll leave the latter's status as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization for discussion another day.) Seems odd to understate their work history. Also seems odd to downplay the clear political content and perspective of the site by suggesting that "overtly political" content is one thing, among any other number of unimportant things, that is a "no-no" for sharing. Somehow, the article does not include the words "progressive," "Democrat," "left", or "liberal" at all, and only includes the word "political" once.

Nope. I'm not cynical about this article at all, though the upworthy gang seems completely sincere about cynically manipulating younger people into supporting the Left's agenda without having younger people realize what is happening.

Henry said...

Everyone loves jello casserole!

stlcdr said...

Internet society isn't what it used to be.

Kylos said...

There are some good parts in there about the approach Upworthy uses to drive traffic. It's an ok read, but not a great read.

The subhed caught my attention anyway.

Freeman Hunt said...

You Won't Believe How Long This Tricky Article Goes On Without Saying Much! You Might Not Even Read It. Whoa!

Freeman Hunt said...

Upworthy:

Wow! Non-Secret So Unamazing You Won't Believe We Used Exclamation Points! Reinforce Your Groupthink With Something Banal!

Jim said...

I'll answer your question: It's noticeable.

I "liked" Upworthy on Facebook because I enjoyed their non-partisan, uplifting stories. But in November, the proprietors decided they would change tack with their stories and do more political advocacy (which they admitted in an article about the changes in Facebook's algorithm and its supposed effects on their traffic which has declined steadily since that time).

By January, I "unliked" Upworthy because I was already tired of their liberal politics cluttering my newsfeed. So I agree that their stridency has been a no-no for shareability, but that hasn't stopped them from trying.

Henry said...

I hated Upworthy from the get go. I hated the click-bait teasers. I hated the lousy lede writing. I hated the entire "guess what I'm hiding behind my back" schtick.

There's a difference between a brand and a marketing campaign. Upworthy's brand is its marketing campaign. Which means that when its marketing campaign runs its course, so has its brand.

Between the copycats and the parodies, the Upworthy brand is already tainted. Soon, instead of being the domain of the Facebook hipster, Upworthy will turn into just another category of embarrassing spam forwarded by clueless squares who don't know better.

Jim said...

I found the link to the article I referenced: http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-changed-how-the-news-feed-works--and-huge-website-upworthy-suddenly-shrank-in-half-2014-2

Notice this quote from the article:

Specifically, Upworthy decided to publish fewer stories that are "just personally uplifting" and don't deal with "income inequality, gender discrimination, or racial injustice."

TCR James said...

One weird internet trick to silence dissent: take a stand against "stridency" and then define "stridency" as = people who disagree with me.

See, e.g. Civility Codes.

chrisnavin.com said...

10 Things This Scottish Fold Kitten Meme Can Teach Us About Empathy And Advertising Revenue.

Sam L. said...

It ain't worthy of my Up.

KenK said...

More like "waste your time worthy". A low rent version of the HuffPo. It has less unique content than even a Gawker site.