Nitsuh Abebe writes about Upworthy, which “publishes both some of the web’s most successful material and some of its most widely mocked and reviled.”
“I think marketing in a traditional sense, for commercialism–marketing to get you to buy McDonald’s or something–is crass,” says Sara Critchfield, the site’s editorial director. “But marketing to get people’s attention onto really important topics is a noble pursuit. So you take something that in one context is very crass and you put it in another. People will say, ‘That’s very crass,’ but in the service of doing something good for humanity, I think it’s pretty great.” This happens often when you ask questions about Upworthy: It turns out that whatever you were curious about is actually wonderful, because it’s ultimately in the service of the good of humankind. Would you need to be a black-hearted monster to feel that there must be a catch? Or that one will arrive next month, when Upworthy is slated to announce its long-awaited monetization strategy?