Eli Pariser / March 26th, 2012 / Tweet
Here’s the challenge: as more and more people discover news and content through Facebook-like personalized feeds, the stuff that really matters falls out of the picture. In the Darwinian environment of the hyper-relevant news feed, content about issues like homelessness or climate change can’t compete with goofy viral videos, celebrity news, and kittens. The public sphere falls out of view. And that matters, because while we can lose sight of our common problems, they don’t lose sight of us.
That problem was one of the main reasons I wrote The Filter Bubble. And today, I’m launching Upworthy, a new website I’ve co-founded with Peter Koechley (formerly of The Onion), to try to do something about it. Every day, we’ll be searching the Internet for the best online content that’s highly shareable and clickable and actually important. Hopefully, we can help bring attention and focus to stuff that really matters in a viral format that can reach millions.
Although the site launches today, we’ve been experimenting with how to super-charge content about stuff that matters for a while. And the cool thing about this stuff is that when you do it right, you can reach far beyond like-minded groups. For example, this inspiring video about gay marriage that we helped draw attention to at MoveOn got seen by over a million people who are against gay marriage. So there’s real bubble-popping potential here.
Check it out, and tell me what you think on Twitter at @elipariser. It’s really exciting, after spending a while researching and thinking about this problem, to take a stab at doing something about it.