First Lady Michelle Obama Joins Upworthy as Guest Curator

September 9, 2014

12:00 pm

After raising a hefty $8 million Series A last year, Upworthy has become one of New York City’s fastest growing Series A-backed startups. The virality of their content has certainly pushed the company in this top position, and can attribute such success in part to the work of its curators – the ones in charge of finding the content shared on the site. Well, now, First Lady Michelle Obama has joined the ranks of Upworthy as a guest curator.

News of this follows Upworthy’s recent addition of geek idol and all-around social sharing all-star George Takei as guest curator. According to the White House blog post, Michelle Obama will share content on Upworthy that works to serve her Reach Higher initiative, which is aimed at inspiring and motivating young people across the country to complete their education and seek opportunity at every corner.

“Neither of my parents graduated from college, so when I got to campus as a freshman, I’ll admit I was a little overwhelmed…Our young people need to know that no matter where you come from or how much money your family has, you can succeed in college, and get your degree, and then go on to build a better life for yourself,” writes the First Lady in her first Upworthy post.

In her first post (published just yesterday), Michelle Obama shares a video of inspiring stories from first-generation college students at Kansas State University, and shares her own personal struggles as a first-generation college student. It’s a very empathetic take on a medium appropriate to her target audience, mainly: younger Millennials that see content from viral sites like Upworthy on a daily basis through social media.

With the introduction of popular figures like the First Lady and Takei, Upworthy has essentially ensured its own long-term success. No doubt, the inclusion of such big names (already with their own respective track records in social content virality) is contributing to further growth for the company, and makes it even more difficult to argue that such a content model created by Upworthy is only short-lived.


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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things.

Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in ‘Doctor Who’, Murakami, ‘The Mindy Project’, and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a “writer”. Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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