Eli Pariser is the chief executive of Upworthy, a website for “meaningful” viral content. Pariser spoke at the 2014 South By Southwest Interactive conference about viral content.
In this interview, Suzi Dafnis and Cat Matson discuss some of the highlights of his presentation including:
- What Pariser said about what makes content viral and the role that emotion plays in content that work
- Why a ‘like’ or ‘thumbs up’ to your content means less than ever before
- How the site gives a voice to news stories that were not being heard including those on human rites issues
At Upworthy, Eli Pariser has designed a hella fast growing news site, using careful curation, point of view and crafty headline arts to engage people in serious news. We’ll talk about the nature of viralness, feedback and quality and ask, what happens when algorithms are smart enough to figure out what smart content is?
We will also discuss the soul of the new machine, whether computers are actually better at chess (or headlines) than humans and Why Everyone All Of The Sudden is Talking Like This. Look for a showdown on humans vs. robots, algorithms vs. editors, data vs. intuition. And a spirited discussion on whether there should be a Pulitzer for most viral content. This discussion is what happens when two lesbians have a baby, someone write an amazing headline about it, builds a business based on the concept and then shows up at SxSW.
Here are some highlights from the session’s Twitter stream:
We’re entering a world where we don’t necessarily decide the information we consume, because it isn’t all offered to us. #sxsw #dream”
Let’s not give up on the 96% of people not reading serious news. We just haven’t served it up in a compelling way – @elipariser #Dream #SXSW
“It’s more ‘duh’ than ‘ooh'” — @carr2n, referring to news headlines #dream #sxsw
Upworthy defends its link-bait headlines: if content isn’t good and compelling on its own then it won’t be shared. #dream #sxsw
People who are content creators tend to prefer Twitter, while businesses/those that promote content tend to pick Facebook. #dream #sxsw