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No politician in history has leveraged social media to the extent of President Obama. Here’s how his administration stays ahead of the curve—and what you can learn about effective social brand-building from the Tweep-in-Chief.
photoAug 27, 2012 8:32 pm
Upworthy Meets World: A Q&A With The Man Behind In Other News
We at Upworthy couldn’t do our job at all without the existence of amazing people on the Internet, and that’s a fact. We want to highlight those people on Tumblr (and beyond!) who are using their Internet forces for good, awesome, and interesting. And thus, Upworthy Meets World was born!
Who better to start with than the one and only inothernews?
We caught up with him in his natural habit, pictured here:
… And, through the goodness of his heart, he agreed to talk to us about life, the universe, and everything on the Internet.
So, an obvious question: why blogging? Why Tumblr, specifically?
I actually started out commenting on Gawker, which – back then at least – was a great outlet for talking about and snarking on events of the day, from politics to pop culture. It was great fun and I always tried to be never mean-spirited, and there really was a great sense of community among a lot of the commenters, who are here today on Tumblr with their own full-blown blogs. I came over to this platform gradually, when I realized that Tumblr gave me a chance to expand commentary into actual blog posts, covering pretty much what I wanted to cover. About four years and tens of thousands of followers later, it’s still worth doing, and it’s still a huge amount of fun — and yes, I hope to do it for a living one day. :-)
Do you believe the Internet can be a force for good or is it a desolate wasteland of GIFs like this one?
There’s nothing about the Internet that says “desolate wasteland” to me. GIFs and memes and rants and trolls are all part of its awesome infrastructure, and every time I see an article online or in print that bemoans those elements I get a little peeved. Add in things like emoticons and LOLs and WTFs and OMGs and what you basically have is a modern-day lexicon; the Internet speaks a certain type of language. And that’s just fucking cool. :-) It goes without saying that the Internet can and is a force for good. After all, where else can things like Change.org or crowdsourcing / crowdfunding exist? Yes, they may have their real-life counterparts, but it’s the ease of use and access to the Internet that enables just about anyone with a computer – whether at home, at school, at a library etc. – to join in the conversation, whatever that conversation might be. Are there bad elements, like people sharing manuals on how to build incendiary devices, or hate groups with their own websites? Absolutely. But again, like IRL, that’s going to happen, and call me an optimist or an idealist but I believe all of the good on the Internet like waaaaaaaay drowns out the bad.
Who are the Internet superheroes who make it more meaningful for the rest of us just chilling in Gotham?
Oh gosh. This goes back to the previous question. I cannot possibly name all of these people and organizations, nor could I try. But Change.org is a favorite. Here on Tumblr, there’s plenty of awesomesauce folks and their roles vary. There’s just about everyone in the News group (http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/news), and folks like STFUConservatives and Think Progress and cognitivedissonance (who has a radio show which you should listen to!) and so, so many others. Brooklynmutt, who I have to meet one day. Rosasparks and mar-see-ah and imwithkanye and notnadia and soupsoup and guardiancomment and ccinsider and newsweek and hey, it’s really, REALLY unfair of you to ask me this question. :-)
How do passionate people successfully get all political on their social network friends? It could easily backfire.
Oh yes it can. Some of the stuff I say on my site –- stuff that’s politically charged –- would probably result in fisticuffs IRL. But I’d like to think that there is genuine discourse on social media platforms –- questioning the intent and motives of either political party -– that result in the complete opposite of whatever CNN’s “Crossfire” was back in the day before Jon Stewart called that d-bag Tucker Carlson out for being a dick. Or an asshole? I forget whatever it was he said, but I remember it being accurate. “But you just called Tucker Carlson a dick or an asshole!” some of your readers might say. “That’s ad hominem! That’s bad!” I’d argue that me on my little blog calling out a blatantly one-sided bloviator who just happens to have access to –- and is accessible by -– a large cable “news” organization with tens of millions of followers isn’t ad hominem or bad. It’s just offering a counterbalance, an opposite POV – and perhaps, an unvarnished truth.
What is the upworthiest piece of content you’ve seen recently?
Anything and everything that calls out the bullshit of what Todd Akin and his ilk have said. Anything and everything that tears apart the notion that 1) we shouldn’t have universal healthcare; 2) that says women shouldn’t have complete control over their health and their own bodies; 3) that says tax cuts for the rich is somehow beneficial to society (and, for that matter, that someone who wants to be President of the United States is stashing his money away in the Cayman Island or inSwitzerland when he should be paying taxes on that shit like anyone else does; 4) that tries to tell others who they can love; 5) that says people should be allowed to own semi-automatic rifles and ammunition that can rip a body to shreds; 6) that there is no racism or class division in this country; and much, much more. “Upworthy” is never just one thing; it’s never just a few things. But to me it’s always the right thing.
Emphasis ours. Upworthy would like to thank inothernews profusely for his time in answering these questions. If you know someone doing amazing, meaningful things on the Internet that you think we should talk to, let us know!
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