The World Didn’t Like What This Feminist Said. So She Said it Again.

This image was only used to help the Facebook link be more compelling clickbait...

This image was only used to help the Facebook link be more compelling clickbait…

I think I’m getting pretty good at Upworthy’s game, which is getting people to follow links of nothing in order to raise their own hit counts with clickbait headlines and images. I only wish more Facebook users were like me, which is people who are skeptical when they see anything with a vague headline that simultaneously says, “We’re the wet dream of activists everywhere!”

I recently had a conversation with Cornell’s EARS, or Empathy, Assistance, and Referral Service. While EARS is sworn to confidentiality, I’ll come out with a conversation topic I had with them. That topic is that I have a very inherent distrust of the motives of basically anyone that comes out to tell us they’re the good guys.

My feelings may have stemmed from having gone to high school in JP Stevens High School of Edison, NJ. That is to say, I went to a high school that wasn’t really that special, but had a lot of college-centric, superficial Asian kids that made the school look good by increasing the proportion of its student body to get accepted to high-end colleges. Many students went off to India, or China, or volunteered at the hospital. Why? I can assure you that it sure wasn’t out of the goodness of their hearts. It was purely to bolster their applications to college.

Similarly, I see it at lot here at Cornell. The fact that we even have a new break in February, which more or less completely derails everyone’s academic plans, and shortens Senior Week and Study Period, is basically the result of some Student Assembly member realizing he has a very mediocre GPA in an underwater basket weaving major, and thus needs an inspirational story about how he saved the mental health of Cornell’s student body so he can hired by an investment bank or get accepted to law school. That is assuming he doesn’t already have big daddy helping him get there to begin with.

This goes back to my problems with sites like Upworthy, which are all in the following screenshot.

upworthy_cap

Long story short, the About section of Upworthy’s page is saying, “We’re the most general-purpose good guys you’ll ever meet!”

What raised a red flag in my mind is when Upworthy sold space on their site to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The operative word here is “sold”. If Upworthy were really so intent on getting the world to recognize the problems the Gates Foundation aims to address, why didn’t they just give space to the Foundation to share what they had to say? Why are they so obviously for-profit instead of just being a team of dudes running a website on the side of working normal jobs? Has anyone noticed Upworthy doesn’t seem to be taking a stand on more controversial topics like the wrongdoings of our own government? Most importantly: What’s to stop a company like Wal-Mart, which is considered by many to be the poster child of companies with unethical business practices, from buying space on Upworthy so they can share videos and infographics about all the things Wal-Mart is doing to benefit humanity?

To me, Upworthy, like most website startups, wants to ultimately get bought out by one of the Internet giants like Google or Facebook, and the best way to get noticed is to have obnoxiously large hit counts. Once again, because Upworthy seems to have a pretty obvious motive, I made it my decision as an Internet user to never click their links.

Ultimately, I have a mentality of believing even if what is done benefits society as a whole, there was some ulterior motive for the action being done. Again, I think JFK Medical Center in Menlo Park, NJ would be perpetually short on volunteers if community service wasn’t something people could list on their college apps.

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