As Upworthy’s launch editors openly admit the first offering from the new website is “super-basic”. It contains nothing more, so far, than a mission statement and a couple of links relating to the Trayvon Martin story.
But as any start-up entrepreneur will tell you, you’ve got to begin somewhere. Upworthy’s founders hope that Monday’s modest offering will snowball into a website that becomes “the place to find awesome, meaningful, visual things to share”.
So why should this attempt at aggregation prove any more successful than the myriad other start-ups that never quite make it? Well, the track record of its founders certainly make Upworthy worth watching, even if it doesn’t guarantee success.
The mission statement is written with trademark satirical touch by the Onion’s former editor Peter Koechley. The other two founders are Chris Hughes, who was in at the beginning of Facebook and used the ample proceeds recently to buy the New Republic magazine, and Eli Pariser, president of the left-wing internet campaign MoveOn.
The founders are remaining annoyingly coy about their aspirations for Upworthy, formerly known as Cloud Tiger Media, so we have to rely on the mission statement to divine their intentions. It sums up their hopes with the phrase “I can haz meaning” stamped over a cute picture of a cat.
They want to bring together content that is “awesome”, “meaningful” and “visual” and make it viral through sharing across social media – hence the name Upworthy. By so doing, they want to help fight the inanity of internet content, of which only 0.1% – by their estimation – actually matters.
It’s too early to tell whether their offering will rise to the surface amid the sea of competing porn, adverts on how to get a flat belly in 30 days and – yes – pictures of cute cats. But at least now we have a URL, and that’s a start.
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