1. Posted:

    Our Mission Is Huge. Here’s How We’re Building The Business To Support It.

    We started Upworthy with a clear mission: to bring massive amounts of attention to the most important topics in the world. We never thought that would be easy. The sheer volume of Internet chatter around personality quizzes, LOLcats, sideboobs, and the like still vastly outnumbers conversations around income inequality, public health, and climate change (for now). But, with your help, we think we’ve been able to make a sizable dent for important issues: More than 50 million people engage with Upworthy every month, spending more than 5 million minutes daily watching, reading, and sharing.

    To really accomplish our mission, though, we’ll need to operate at a much more significant scale. That’s why we started Upworthy as a business. But building a revenue strategy isn’t something you rush into, and we like iterative learning — so we began to test and learn.

    Over the last year, we’ve worked with some amazing folks like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who helped fund our section All 7 Billion, where we’ve gone deep on really important issues like global health and poverty. We’ve also collaborated on pilots with brands like Dove and Skype that have created compelling videos giving voice to important messages — messages you proved were important by reading and sharing as much as any of our other posts. It’s still early, but the signs are good. And we think there’s an amazing opportunity to work with both brands and nonprofits in a symbiotic way — underwriting our work to draw attention to the most important topics.

    Today, building on those pilots, we’re introducing a new advertising program called Upworthy Collaborations. Here’s where we’ve landed and why we’re excited about it.

    What is Upworthy Collaborations?
    Let’s be clear: It’s advertising. Let’s be even clearer: It’s more than that.

    Upworthy Collaborations is about finding a shared mission with brands and organizations — working together to connect the best of what they stand for with what our community cares about. Brands get an opportunity to participate in the Upworthy community, we get to go deeper on important content areas, and together we push the mission forward.

    Here’s what it looks like for advertisers:

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    On a practical level, it means you’ll see sponsored sections around topics we think are important and promoted posts that fit with the Upworthy mission. Most importantly, you’ll always know when a brand is involved — it’s very clearly marked — and you can rest assured that we’ll only work with folks we think are actually making a real effort at improving the world, not just those saying it.

    We realize there’s a lot there, so let’s unpack it.

    Upworthy won’t be a fit for every brand — and some brands won’t be a fit for Upworthy.
    We’re looking for organizations interested in drawing attention to ideas that are truly important to society — that’s always our first and most important question. And we’re happy to draw attention to great things companies are doing, but we make sure they’re really doing it and not just “greenwashing” (covering up bad behavior with superficial work to improve their image). 

    We aren’t weighing our site down with the usual hallmarks of Internet advertising.
    We want to keep the experience as clean and enjoyable for you as possible. That’s why there are no expandable banner ads, homepage takeovers, or garish advertorial content on the site. You will see tasteful sponsorships, clearly disclosed promotional content, and excellent curation around topics that both the brand and Upworthy believe in deeply.

    Our editorial content is still 100% independent.
    Advertisers have no ability or leverage to affect what we cover on the rest of the site — even when it directly touches on what they’re doing or is critical of them. 

    Our latest collaboration is with Unilever’s Project Sunlight, a long-term initiative to motivate people to live sustainably by inspiring them to create a brighter future for children. It will start with Upworthy promoting the best of existing Project Sunlight content and curating stories from across the web highlighting leaders working to make the world better and more sustainable.

    Why do we think this campaign is a fit? Drawing more attention to the stories of leaders who are working on making the world better and more environmentally sustainable is a good thing, and it touches on several of the top topics our audience voted to see more of in 2014. Kismet. Why do we think Unilever is a fit? Because they are making great strides toward a more sustainable world, and we think we can help.

    We’re committed to making these collaborations a win for everybody, and we’re confident they will be.

    • Our readers win. With brands and nonprofits behind us, we can go broader and deeper on the topics that matter to you, experiment with new types of content, lift up underreported issues, and make the Upworthy experience even more rich and engaging. These collaborations will allow us to invest and experiment with new ways to tell stories that matter.
    • Our advertising partners win. Participating in one of the most active, socially connected communities on the web comes with its advantages. It gives brands a chance to show what they believe in and care about.
    • Our mission wins. For example: Since the beginning of the year, with just a handful of curators, we have driven millions of Attention Minutes to topics surrounding hunger, income inequality, and homelessness. Collaborations will help us scale up this kind of effort so we can elevate more great stories around these topics and reach more people. Twice as much? Three times? We can’t wait to find out.

    We know there are serious concerns any time a media company decides to work with advertisers. The most important thing for us is to find a way to grow with integrity while retaining your trust. That’s why it’s so important to us to be straight up with you — our community — and let you know what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. We’ll keep tweaking this model as we learn and get feedback from you, but we both believe we’ve found the right path to start on today — one that advances our mission and will hopefully help Upworthy to remain strong, independent, and sustainable for years and decades to come.

    — Peter & Eli


  2. Posted:

    The Most Important Topics Of 2014, According To You

    We tend to hear an awful lot about how little regard you have for important, substantive issues. To hear the cynics tell it, you split your time on the Internet exclusively playing Candy Crush and taking celebrity quizzes. But we have a hunch that you care about more than that. Last month, we asked you what you felt were the most important topics: the big issues of our day that deserve more focus and attention than they generally receive in the media.

    And boy, did we hear from you. In the couple of days the poll was open, tens of thousands of you from all across the country and world chimed in to vote. Many of you even gave us personal and moving reasons for your choices. So without further ado, here are the top three vote-getters from the poll. We’d tell you why we think these issues are really important, but we actually think you’ve said it best:

    #1 Climate Change and Clean Energy

    image

    #2 Income Inequality and Poverty

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     #3 Human Rights

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    We don’t think it’s quite enough to promise to bring more attention to these topics: We’re also proud to announce we’re teaming up with some experts in these fields to get the coverage just right. The good folks at Human Rights Watch, ProPublica, and Climate Nexus have stepped up to help us deliver great posts on these topics.

    Human Rights Watch is one of the biggest and most effective research and advocacy organizations in the world. Their focus on a broad range of human rights issues — from child soldiers to freedom of the press — is exemplary, and we’re very excited to amplify their incredible work.

    ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit investigative news organization that produces hard-hitting and exhaustively researched pieces on everything from fracking to poverty wages and substandard working conditions in the temp economy. We’re thrilled at the opportunity to work with them to shine an even brighter light on underreported issues.

    To help bone up on climate change and clean energy issues, we’ll be partnering with the good folks at Climate Nexus. Chock-full of environmental science experts, reporters, public affairs specialists, and documentary filmmakers, Climate Nexus already does excellent work in telling the story of our climate in new and clever ways. We’re excited about putting our heads together to think of even bigger and bolder ways to bring attention to one of the most pressing issues facing our planet.

    And we hope to announce more partnerships in the weeks to come, so stay tuned.

    Too many media companies assume the worst about their communities — they think just because they’ve seen starlet scandals get more site traffic than foreign revolutions, that’s what their audience really wants to see. We couldn’t disagree more, and we think that the millions of you who make up the Upworthy community help prove it every day.

    — The Upworthy Team


  3. Posted:

    Why We Fact-Check Every Post On Upworthy

    Hi, I’m Upworthy’s Copy Chief. I come from the journalism world, with years of experience on the copy desks of major newspapers. It’s my job to make sure you can trust everything we post to the site.

    Some of the things we curate at Upworthy seem almost too crazy or shocking or good to be true — citizens in Colorado taking on a huge energy company and actually winning? Humans killing more than 11,000 sharks per hour? A 17-year-old recording racial profiling with his iPod? And we all know that the web is littered with bogus stories, unchecked “facts,” and half-truths that are spun and taken out of context.

    That’s why, while we count on our curators to get their material right, we have an independent group of fact-checkers holding them accountable. My team scrutinizes everything that goes up on the site before we post it — a rarity at a time when even print magazines are laying off fact-checkers. All facts asserted in our content have to be backed up by reliable sources such as major trustworthy media outlets, government agencies and reports, scientific experts, and authoritative nongovernmental organizations.

    We’re curators, not journalists — we don’t do investigative reporting, we don’t report breaking news. But we absolutely believe in editorial ethics.

    Of course, we’re human, which means we screw up sometimes. When we make mistakes, we don’t hide from them — we correct them, and then we tell you on social media that we screwed up so you have all the facts. I’m happy to say that this is exceedingly rare: We’ve had only one major correction and a handful of smaller ones — out of thousands of posts. We feel pretty good about that track record.

    The bottom line here: We take the trust our community places in us very seriously. Credibility is perhaps the most important trait of great curation. So don’t worry about spreading bad info. If it says “Upworthy,” you can share it with confidence, knowing that it checks out.

    — Matt Savener, Upworthy Copy Chief


  4. Posted:

    Dear Upworthy Community, Which Important Topics Should We Lift Up Together In 2014?

    Upworthy started as a long-odds bet on people — that hundreds of millions of us actually care about the pressing, substantive issues that affect our world.

    Together, we’re winning that bet. In 2013, 286 million unique visitors checked out the stories we shared on really challenging topics like health policy, racial discrimination, and domestic violence. The Upworthy community is now spending about 5 million attention minutes per day on important topics. (To put that in context: Think of a minute. Now imagine 5 million of those!) And no, not a single one of those minutes has been spent on a quiz to figure out which Spice Girl you are.

    Now, in 2014, we want to go deeper — deeper into the big issues that have already attracted huge amounts of engagement, and deeper into new issues that are just as important but haven’t yet proven to be as shareable.

    Today we’re doubling down on our bet. We’re wagering that Upworthy’s community is more eager to engage with meaningful issues than the cynics might suggest. As a first step toward deepening our editorial mission, we’re asking our community to tell us what they think are the most important topics. (We’ll still post on a wide variety of issues, but we’ll make sure to give our community’s picks the extra tender, loving, care they deserve.)

    So: What important topics should Upworthy go deeper into this year? Let us know what you think right now, and we’ll share what we hear from you in the weeks ahead. We’re all ears.

    —Team Upworthy

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  5. Posted:

    3 Interesting Things Attention Minutes Have Already Taught Us

    Our new Attention Minutes metric doesn’t just allow us to make sure we’re providing an excellent content experience for the Upworthy community — it also lets us compare notes with other organizations that are committed to real engagement over mere pageviews, like Chartbeat, YouTube, and Medium.

    So we thought it’d be fun to examine some findings they’ve published to see if we’re finding the same things. Of the three things we looked into, we found one clear point of agreement (with a twist), one area of partial agreement, and one major difference.

    Finding #1: Referrer matters — and so does device.
    First, we looked at a Chartbeat finding that the average amount of attention per visit depends heavily on where the visitor came from. For our comparison, we looked at the data for a 10-minute French film about sexual violence we posted last week.

    image

    Like Chartbeat, we found that visitors who came to the video from another page on our site paid the most attention (nearly 5 minutes) while direct traffic and Facebook visitors paid somewhat less attention. However, unlike Chartbeat, we found that visitors arriving from Google paid more attention than those from Twitter (though both groups were quite small in this case, so it’s hard to draw meaningful conclusions).

    The interesting bit came when we took our analysis one step further, breaking Facebook visits into those from facebook.com and those from m.facebook.com (the mobile version). We found that desktop visitors from Facebook spent more than 5 minutes watching on average. That’s more attention than visitors from any other source. Mobile Facebook visitors, on the other hand, averaged 4 minutes of attention. 

    image

    Finding #2: People who stick around share more.
    Next we looked at a tweet from Chartbeat that said they found “effectively no correlation between social shares and people actually reading.” That surprised us, but a longer version of what they found might be stated as, “Just because an article is shared a lot doesn’t mean that people are reading the whole thing.” And that makes more sense. Lots of people might share a breaking news article after reading only the first paragraph, for example.

    But when we zoomed in and looked at individual behavior, rather than post-level data, a different story emerged. Reassuringly for content producers, the propensity to share is closely tied to how much attention each user pays.

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    As you can see, we found there’s a large group of people who do share early in the content. We can’t know their motivations, but perhaps they’ve already seen the content elsewhere? Perhaps they get the point quickly and just want to share it already? The folks who consume much, but not all, of the content are the least likely to share. But it’s those who make it to the end who are the most likely to share. 

    Finding #3: There’s no ideal length for content.
    Finally, we looked at a blog post from Medium announcing that the optimal post length is 7 minutes. They found that although posts of any length can be big hits, on average, 7-minute posts garner the most attention.

    However, we didn’t find the same thing. 

    image

    Among our posts, a piece of content as short as 37 seconds has driven millions of attention minutes, as has content that’s 20+ minutes.

    Perhaps this is because of differences between written content and visual content. Or maybe it’s due to the ways our respective audiences engage with our content. But we found no correlation at all between post length and the total amount of attention paid.

    So what have we learned from Attention Minutes so far? Whether your content is short or long, whether your audience comes from Facebook or Google, whether lots of people have seen your content before or it’s brand new, quality is what counts. 

    Publish great stuff, and people will stick with it and share it with their friends. Hardly a revolutionary idea, but it’s good to confirm it with data.

    – Daniel Mintz, Director of Business Intelligence


  6. Posted:

    What Uniques And Pageviews Leave Out (And Why We’re Measuring Attention Minutes Instead)

    We’re big believers that you are what you measure. Our mission here at Upworthy is to draw massive amounts of attention to the most important topics. So, how do you measure that?

    We dabbled with pageviews, but that’s a flimsy metric, as anyone who’s suffered through an online slideshow knows (20 pageviews! Zero user satisfaction!). Pageviews are only a great metric if you’re being paid for each pageview; we don’t run banner ads, so they’ve never meant as much to us.

    Unique visitors are fine but reward breadth over depth of user experience. Shares per piece of content are quite a valuable signal, but they don’t get you all the way there. And time on site, as Google measures it, works great for e-commerce but is often confusingly broken for media companies. Google Analytics at one point had us at 21 minutes on site per visit on average; we’re good, but we know we’re not that good.

    So we decided we needed a new approach. If we’re trying to maximize attention for meaningful content, let’s actually solve for that.

    Introducing attention minutes, Upworthy’s new primary metric, which we’re planning to track in two forms:

    • Total Attention on Site (per hour, day, week, month, whatever) — that tells us (like total uniques or total pageviews) how good of a job Upworthy is doing overall at drawing attention to important topics.
    • And Total Attention per Piece, which is a combination of how many people watch something on Upworthy and how much of it they actually watch. Pieces with higher Total Attention should be promoted more.

    We love thinking this way because it rewards us for sharing content that people really enjoy and find valuable — not just stuff they click on a lot. It may mean that we don’t do quite as well on uniques or pageviews, but that’s a trade-off we’re happy to make because this is a metric focused on real audience satisfaction.

    How does it work? Attention minutes is a fine-grained, conservative measure of how long people are engaging with the content on our pages. YouTubeChartbeat, and Medium are all moving in a similar direction: They’ve all recognized the advantages of measuring whether visitors are actually engaged with their content and have rolled out similar measures in recent months.

    Our implementation is far more precise than “Time on Page” as it’s usually measured. Time on Page generally relies on a very sparse set of signals to figure out whether viewers are still paying attention. And especially on the last page of a visit, it can be hugely misleading. (Here’s a handy explainer about why that is. Incidentally, our Average Time on Page was 5:24 in December and January according to Google Analytics. But we just don’t think that metric is terribly reliable or useful for our purposes.)

    We built attention minutes to look at a wide range of signals — everything from video player signals about whether a video is currently playing, to a user’s mouse movements, to which browser tab is currently open — to determine whether the user is still engaged. The result is a fine-grained and unforgiving metric that tells us whether people are really engaged with our content or whether they’ve moved on to the next thing.

    In the charts below, we show what attention data for three popular posts looks like from the last couple of months. As you can see, attention follows very different patterns for different posts. The first one looks great if you only look at pageviews. (1 million pageviews! Woohoo!) But when you look more closely, it’s not driving much attention per pageview. The second post had far fewer pageviews but more total attention minutes. And the last post had about the same pageviews as the first but vastly more total attention minutes.

    chart

    Being able to make charts like this helps us get past the focus on pageviews to see what’s really grabbing our visitors. They allow us to focus not just on how many people landed on a page but how many people watched a substantial portion. That’s how we define our biggest successes.

    Last quarter, the Upworthy community spent more than 7 million attention minutes on our site per day. That’s more than 13 years of attention, every day. We’re pretty proud of that. But we’ve got a long way to go. (For reference, American adults watch 79,000 years of television per day.)

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    We also think this is how social networks will want to think about the content being shared on their sites — not just in terms of clicks or shares but in terms of what’s grabbing users’ attention. A comprehensive approach that looks at clicks + watchability (attention minutes) + shares + engagement (comments and Likes) can give a strong signal about which content users find highly satisfying and rewarding, and which content they’re bored by.

    In the coming months, we’ll be making the details of our implementation, including the source code, public; we’re excited to have other media companies engage with this metric. We think adding attention minutes to the arsenal of metrics that publishers look at will accelerate the drive toward quality. The media landscape is constantly changing, and how we judge success needs to evolve constantly, too. We think attention minutes is a step in a better direction.


  7. Posted:

    You Helped Get A Girls’ Toy Company All The Way To The Super Bowl. Wanna See What They Did?

    Once upon a time, Debbie Sterling, a woman fresh out of engineering school, noticed a problem: Men outnumbered women in engineering 10 to 1. From a young age, girls are exposed to dolls, lots of pink frilly things, and kitchen toys (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but rarely to toys that help them improve their cognitive skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Boys, on the other hand, are marketed toys like Legos and models. Debbie knew girls are just as capable in these fields — now if they were just offered the right opportunities…

    So Debbie made a prototype of an engineering toy for girls — but she needed money to get it off the ground. When we found GoldieBlox, they had just launched their first Kickstarter. They had met their goals, but one of our curators decided to see if he could make it even bigger. So we wrote up their amazing launch video, and you all got them 2 million more views and over $100,000 more in funding. Because, as we already know, you are awesome.

    A year later, after hitting the shelves of Toys R Us, becoming the #1-selling board game on Amazon, and helping a bunch of young girls realize their science, technology, engineering, and math talents, the amazing folks at GoldieBlox made another ad for the Intuit Small Business Big Game contest. We wrote it up, and you guys shared it all over the Interwebs. Over 12 million views came from the Upworthy community. What’s more, you voted in droves for their chance to have a commercial in the Super Bowl. And now, thanks to their talent and 200,000 of your votes, over 100 million people were introduced to GoldieBlox during the big game. Which means they are about to get a whole lot bigger. Which means an investment in girl engineers 10 years down the road. Which means we love you guys. And that real change is actually possible.


  8. Posted:

    The Most Upworthy Topics of 2013

    With the new year upon us, we thought it would be a good time to look back at what grabbed your hearts and minds in 2013.

    Overall, the thing that excites us the most about this data (other than the pleasing colors) is that it demonstrates there’s a truly enormous audience for content about important social topics — from global health to economic inequality to domestic violence.

    And if you shared or subscribed or just visited last year: THANK YOU. You demonstrated just how intense the interest is in meaningful media, and we’re incredibly grateful.

    But let’s go to the chart. Each circle represents a topic covered by one of our top 100 pieces this year; the bigger the circle, the more traffic that topic got. The colors tell you which of nine broad categories each topic belonged to as well as which topics were shared by the most viewers.

    Most Upworthy of 2013

    Want to explore the data yourself? Please do! Click above for an interactive visualization. (And hey, if you have interesting reactions to this or ideas for future visualizations, please share them with us at @Upworthy or on Facebook.)

    Here are some cool things we saw:

    Our mission here is to draw massive amounts of attention to the most important topics, and we’ve still got plenty of work to do to achieve that mission on a societal scale. But thanks to all of you, we’re on our way.

    Thanks again, and here’s to a great 2014.


  9. Posted:

    What Actually Makes Things Go Viral Will Blow Your Mind. (Hint: It’s Not Headlines Like This.)

    By now it’s fairly well known that we care a lot about headlines here at Upworthy. We write at least 25 of them for each post. We test them rigorously. Sometimes, we even make up a word to catch your eye.

    Why? Because for us, headlines are an important means to an even more important end: drawing massive amounts of attention to topics that really matter, like health care costs and marriage equality and global health.

    And good news: It’s working. Last month, 87 million people visited Upworthy for videos about racial profiling, gender bias, reproductive rights, and other issues. We’re constantly amazed and inspired by our community’s desire for really meaningful content.

    But coming up with catchy, curiosity-inducing headlines wasn’t the reason Upworthy had those 87 million visitors. It was because millions of members of the Upworthy community watched the videos we curated and found them important, compelling, and worth sharing with their friends.

    Upworthy posts don’t go viral because people click — Upworthy posts go viral because people share.

    "Clickbait" — overselling content with outrageous headlines in order to get people onto a website — is a totally viable (if totally annoying) way to get a bunch of initial views. But it doesn’t create viral content. By far the most important factor in getting people to share a post is the actual quality of the content in the eyes of the community. To share, they have to love what they see.

    And that’s the reason we focus on quality over quantity. We gauge quality on three things:

    1. Is the content substantive, engaging, and maybe even entertaining?
    2. If 1 million people saw it, would the world be a better place?
    3. Does the content actually deliver on the promise of the headline?

    Our top curators comb through hundreds of videos and graphics a week, looking for the 5-7 that they’re confident are super-shareable. That’s not a typo: We pay people full-time to curate 5-7 things a week. What are they doing with all that time? Partly, crafting headlines. Mostly? Finding really great stuff people will want to share with everyone they know.

    And things are going pretty well in this department, too. NewsWhip, an independent company that analyzes social sharing, recently took a look at shares, Likes, comments, tweets, LinkedIns (whatever those are called), and pins for the top 50 media websites. Here are some of the biggest publishers, ranked by how many social interactions their average post gets:

    So, yes, headlines matter. But content doesn’t go viral unless people love it so much they want to share it.

    (If this post felt valuable to you, feel free, of course, to share it with everyone you know.)


  10. Posted:

    Upworthy Isn’t In The Movie-Making Business, But Our Community Is

    Ever feel that you were being judged based on your looks, instead of who you actually are? Last week, Upworthy curator Carolyn Silveira posted a Kickstarter video about one actor’s struggles with breaking out of stereotypes. With fewer than two days to go, the Kickstarter campaign went viral, and Iyin’s movie got funded thanks to Upworthy’s incredible community. Yesterday, she recorded a heartwarming video for us:

    At Upworthy, our mission is to draw massive amounts of attention to topics that matter. We’re thrilled that we were able to help Iyin green-light this important film. We look forward to her updates as it gets made, and being there at the premiere in New York.


  11. Posted:

    We Had A Kinda Crazy Idea. You Made It Real. Thank You.

    Hey all,

    We launched Upworthy 18 months ago based on a pretty crazy idea: that if you can catch people’s attention, they actually care more about the most important topics in the world than they do about celebrity sideboobs or iPhone rumors or weird old tips about belly fat.

    The thing was: We had no idea if it was true.

    We certainly wanted to believe that we could help gay marriage and racial discrimination and bank regulation win out over the frivolous stuff we all find ourselves drawn to sometimes — but we really weren’t sure.

    Then, people like you started showing up. A million the first month, 2 million the next, 10 million in Month 10, and then 30 million three months later. Close to 5 million of you are subscribed to get Upworthy on a daily basis. And these days, more people come to Upworthy each month than visit People.com, Entertainment Weekly, or TMZ.

    It’s not just that you come and watch stuff, though. You actually do some pretty wondtacular things. Seventeen million of you saw the story of Zach Sobiech's heartbreaking last months — and then helped contribute over $300,000 to his cancer charity. When we found this amazing video about GoldieBlox, a toy set that encourages girls to become engineers, you didn’t just watch and share — you went out and bought 23,000 of them in two days. Now GoldieBlox is one of the top toys in Toys R Us. And you’re lifting up the stories of people like Alice Guy-Blaché, a cinema pioneer whose contributions were in danger of being forgotten. In just two days, you donated more than $80,000 to filmmakers who can now create a documentary about her life and impact.

    So thanks to you, today that crazy idea doesn’t sound as crazy. It sounds so un-crazy, in fact, that some of the world’s best tech, media, and social impact investors are putting $8 million behind it.

    Joining us are Spark Capital (early investors in Tumblr and Twitter), Catamount Ventures (a mission-driven investing firm that backed Seventh Generation and Plum Organics), Uprising (a new firm focused on epic endeavors that matter), and the Knight Foundation (the largest funder of journalism and media innovation in the country). We’re very happy to have them in our corner, invested in what we’re doing, and offering their advice and experience and immense networks as we grow. (We’re also hugely grateful to the social-good-oriented angel investors from New Media Ventures and elsewhere who helped get us rolling in the beginning.)

    Our mission here has always been to draw attention to stuff that really matters using irresistible social media. This investment will help us double down on that mission in a few huge ways:

    • It’ll help us expand our amazing team. Speaking of which: Should you join our amazing team? You probably should. We’re hiring engineers, editors, audience development mavens, product whizzes, salespeople, and more. Apply now at: upworthy.com/jobs
    • It’ll help us branch out into new editorial areas. There are a ton of very, very Upworthy issue areas that we can’t wait to dig into much more deeply. But don’t worry — despite the urging from a number of potential investors (who we didn’t work with), we won’t ever launch a “New Reasons For Women To Feel Bad About Their Bodies” section.
    • It’ll help us build out our business so that we can keep growing and get to the scale where we can really make a lasting impact. Speaking of which: Do you have a great idea or piece of socially important content that deserves more attention than it’s getting? Maybe you should work with us! Hit us up at partnerships@upworthy.com.
    • It’ll help us launch some really amazing new tech. Not CNN-style talking holograms — though we may have those in our secret labs — but we think you’ll like what we’re building, all the same.

    You’ve made this all possible. Thank you. If we could, we would hug every one of you personally. But hugging 30 million people would take a lot of time (694 straight days, according to math). And eventually get very tiring. And probably a little weird, like when you say a word over and over again and it loses all its meaning.

    So instead, we’re going to get back to work sharing meaningful media with millions upon millions of people. We hope you’ll join us. It’s going to be a great ride.

    Onward,

    — Peter, Eli, and the whole Upworthy team


  12. Posted:

    The Myriad Ways People Respond When You Ask If They’re Human

    A little while ago, we sent out an email to see if some of our email subscribers were, y’know, human beings.

    Wait, what?!

    OK, OK, we’ll explain: At Upworthy, we have a little somethin’-somethin’ called the Upworthiest, which is a daily email of our most awesome and meaningful stories. It’s pretty rad; you should subscribe if you haven’t already.

    Anyway, some folks have subscribed to the Upworthiest but have never opened a single email from us. So we thought maybe they were dead. Or robots. (Most likely robots.) Naturally, we sent out a simple email to our dormant, possibly robotic subscribers asking them a simple question: Are you human? If so, please reply.

    About 3,400 people opened the email — but more importantly, 104 actually wrote us back. The responses were priceless (and almost none were of the “Hey, you suck” variety). Here’s some of our favorites:

    "I am a human, at least I think I am."

    -C.

    "Heyy.
    My name is S., I’m not a spam-bot; just a girl who likes the inspiring things some real humans still do. (:”

    -S.

    “If I were a cat I’d be adorable…. :)”

    -R.

    ”Definitely human. Sadly enough.”

    -R.E.

    “But why would you guys think am a spam bot? What is that even. Much love from Zambia xoxoxo”

    -N.

    "I am not human. I am a robot. And I will rule the world."

    -R.

    "I am human. are you?"

    -M.

    "Am very much a real human. Been moving house for the last three days hence little Internet availability, and now I’m stuck upstairs at my parents whilst family friends thrash out their divorce downstairs. 

    Hope you’re having a nice day x”

    -K.

    "The owls are not what they seem. ;)"

    -H.

    "I confirm that I am indeed not entirely human. I am half man, half machine designed specifically to foil any and all attempts of the UDoSE to root out Spam bots. 

    Now that I’ve alerted you of my presence, I can destroy you for all the world to see!!! Bwhahahahahahahaha!!! - stranger”

    -Z.

    "It’s nor clear what a human should say, but I guess that uncertainty makes me human.

    Thanks for a great service.”

    -J.

    Looks like a lot of you aren’t sure if you’re human. And that’s OK! We have the sneaking suspicion that we’re not human either (sometimes we have dreams about being a Tumblr blog; it’s weird).


  13. Posted:

    Here’s What Happens When A Little Girl, A Bigger Girl, And Upworthy Notice Something Amiss In The Toy Aisle

    A couple of years ago, a little girl named Riley noticed something that didn’t make sense to her in the toy aisle. We posted her ensuing rant – because sometimes it takes a four-year-old calling out toy stores for propagating gender stereotypes to make the rest of us notice.

    imageVIDEO: What’s So Bad About The Color Pink?

    Debbie Sterling, an engineer, also noticed a discrepancy between “girl toys” and “boy toys”: there are a lot of toys out there that help boys develop spatial skills and an interest in engineering and science. And there are a lot of toys out there that… teach girls to be princesses. Something was missing. So Debbie took it upon herself to fill the gap.

    imageVIDEO: Move Over, Barbie – You’re Obsolete

    When Debbie developed Goldie Blox, a game to encourage girls to pursue engineering careers, she needed a minimum of 5,000 orders on Kickstarter to go into production. She reached her goal in five days.

    And then Upworthy got ahold of the video. A million and a half views later, Debbie received 22,000 orders for GoldieBlox.

    In a Q&A with Tim Ferriss, Debbie wrote, “But our biggest PR win to date was on November 14, 2012, we call it ‘G Day.’ Edwardo Jackson from upworthy.com posted our Kickstarter video about a month after the campaign had ended. It instantly went viral. In just a couple days, the video spiked to almost a million views. There were so many orders, we literally sold out of our first shipment and had to push back the delivery date.

    We are overjoyed that we were able to help get this ingenious way to engage in building and engineering into so many young girls’ lives.

    And, we’re excited to share that Debbie and Goldie Blox just had another big win:

    imageVIDEO: Watch A Bunch Of Little Girls Sing A Power Ballad Shattering What Little Girls Are Supposed To Like

    Now when Riley, or any other little girl, goes to Toys ‘R’ Us, she’ll see Goldie Blox next to the dolls and dress-up clothes. It will help teach her about building and engineering. But it will also help teach her that she is more than just a princess – and that when she grows up, she can become anything she wants to be.

    Congrats to Debbie and the Goldie Team – and to all of the young girls out there who are discovering that they can be engineers or scientists or superheroes or anything they can imagine and more.


  14. Posted:

    We Did, Like, A Ton Of Talks

    If you follow us on Twitter, you might have heard that Sara Critchfield, Upworthy’s editorial director and professional badass, went on a world tour in June. (Well, when we say “world tour,” we really mean the White House and New York, which is totally like the same thing as the entire world… right?)

    Sara presented at two conferences: the White House National Conference on Mental Health and the Personal Democracy Forum. We’re incredibly honored to have been part of these amazing conversations and wanted to share our contributions with you, dear Tumblr users.


  15. Posted:

    We Couldn’t Think Of A Better Day To Launch Our New, Full-Content RSS Feed

    Later today, Google Reader will close its virtual doors forever.

    In certain corners of the web, it’s a sad day — one full of digital self-reflection. At Upworthy, we looked at ourselves in the mirror this morning and asked: What can we do to make this dreary day just a little bit brighter?

    Well, we’re happy to announce that we’re officially doubling down on RSS. Up to now, our RSS feed had just featured the headline and a teaser to our content. But starting today, our RSS feed contains full content for each post. Full video. Whole infographics. And of course, that enlightening attribution line that points you to the original creator. All of it!

    We know you’ll miss Google Reader. We miss it already. Some new options include Feedly, Digg Reader, Feedbin, and NewsBlur. Wherever you wind up going, take comfort in knowing that Upworthy’s meaningful and irresistibly shareable content will be there with you.