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    Upworthy — or, How we are losing the internet to lowest of low information young liberals

    Upworthy — or, How we are losing the internet to lowest of low information young liberals

    I previously wrote about how BuzzFeed Politics has combined “the culture” and savvy crafting into a highly effective tool for undermining Republicans with subtle and not-so-subtle mockery.  “Look at the goofy cat, look at the goofy celeb, look at the goofy Republican” is more dangerous to us than a 5000-word article in The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

    To follow up on that theme, I happened upon a website called Upworthy, which had one its posts run at HuffPo, Elizabeth Warren Asks The Most Obvious Question Ever, Stumps A Bunch Of Bank Regulators.

    The post was so wrong on substance, I just had to click over to the source.

    And therein I learned what millions of very low-information young liberals already knew — there is this website called Upworthy which is one giant liberal activist social media machine which creates viral social media memes in the cause of liberal political activism.

    Upworthy was co-founded by the former digital media consultant for  Upworthy touts its political agenda (emphasis in original):

    Upworthy is…

    …social media with a mission: to make important stuff as viral as a video of some idiot surfing off his roof. Here’s a piece by The New York Times‘ David Carr about our first 100 days….

    Our mission at Upworthy is to elevate and draw attention to the issues that really matter — from gay marriage to body image to global poverty — through irresistible social media. You should judge us by how good a job we’re doing at that. And please do, sincerely—we want you to hold us to that standard. Send us feedback on how we’re doing, anytime.

    For mission-driven organizations working in a business like lead generation, where you’re very tangibly and concretely building organizing power to create change, whom you work with is a moral decision. We promise that we’ll never do lead generation/membership-building work with groups that we don’t believe are, on balance, creating positive social change.

    Upworthy is the fastest growing website and already receives millions of visits a month despite being less than one year old, and has over 55 thousand Twitter followers.  It recently received $4 million in venture capital funding.

    Upworthy is not interested in deep thinking, or you:

    Who’s your audience?

    Basically, “The Daily Show” generation. People who care about what’s going on in the world but don’t want to be boring about it

    The Elizabeth Warren post at Upworthy is a prime example of how low information is combined with a political agenda to create a meme which is based on a lack of understanding, but very, very catchy.

    As mentioned above, HuffPo ran the post with the same title as the original Upworthy post, Elizabeth Warren Asks The Most Obvious Question Ever And Stumps A Bunch Of Bank Regulators.  The post has been featured on Upworthy’s homepage all weekend:

    Upworthy Elizabeth Warren most obvious question

    The first thing to note is that when you click on the homepage link to the post, an anti-NRA poll pops up.  It’s the equivalent of a push poll, delivering a political message in the form of a poll.  The “I Agree” button already is highlighted, so that the reader does not even need to think through the already biased question.  How long before Upworthy runs a post about the overwhelming demand that Congress “stand up to the NRA”?

    Upworthy pop up NRA

    If you click “No” you go to the post.  If you click “Yes” they ask for your email address:

    Upworthy - NRA pop up Yes

    Here is the entire text of the post:

    Someone drank too much coffee this morning before a Senate Banking Committee hearing and decided to “do the job we hired her for” and ask the question the rest of us have been “asking for years.” That someone is my new favorite senator, Elizabeth Warren. Someone go on another Starbucks run for her, pretty please?

    • At 1:20, she asks the question we’ve all been wanting someone to ask FOREVER. Then a government lawyer stumbles over his words.
    • At 2:20, she rattles off another one. Then a government lawyer stumbles over his words.
    • At 2:55, she asks another lawyer the same question. Said lawyer then tries to not stumble over her words.
    • At 3:25, she asks the same question again. That lawyer asks for some time.
    • At 3:45, she gets our back and goes for the knockout punch.
    • And then right after that you reward her good behavior by sharing this with everyone on the Internet. You know you want to.

    As I explained yesterday, Warren engaged in pure demagoguery, asking a question which not only was not “most obvious” but was a designed-for-TV distortion of what the regulators appearing before the Committee do, Elizabeth Warren’s heroic Senate demagoguery.

    Upworthy doesn’t actually get into the substance of Warren’s questioning or the answers, just presuming it was pure genius and urging people to “shar[e] this with everyone on the Internet.”  To that end, Upworthy’s post becomes one giant share button as you scroll down:

    Upworthy Elizabeth Warren most obvious question share buttons


    And so they did.  The video now appears at Reddit with the exact same headline as at Upworthy and has generated over 1000 comments:

    Reddit Elizabeth Warren most obvious question

    The social media has helped propel the video to over 600,000 views as of this writing.  It’s on target to exceed Warren’s Factory Owner rant.

    There is nothing like Upworthy or BuzzFeed on the right.  The closest we have come is Twitchy, Michelle Malkin’s brilliant website.

    Are you surprised that Obama won the youth vote even though his policies are a complete disaster for the young?

    We are losing the fight to the lowest of low information voters, who are pushed toward a liberal agenda by very smart and talented people who understand the power of social media in a way we don’t.

    So often when I ask readers to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, I’m met with comments about privacy concerns on Facebook and “I don’t do Twitter” type responses.  Fair enough, but at least understand the swarm effect a website like Upworthy can create based on dumbed-down politically-savvy social media interactions, and how that swarm may result in Elizabeth Warren being on the Democratic 2016 ticket if Hillary doesn’t run.

    When I read about plans for Republicans planning to narrow the digital divide, I can’t help thinking we are fighting the last war.


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    Quick update, a few days ago Upworthy sent an email asking for feedback. “Email us at [email protected].” They are hiring too.

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