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I Didn’t Get the Upworthy Job, Then Amazing Things Started to Happen

A Journey That Was Meant to Be

A couple of years ago, as I sat, dreaming up a business plan of my own, a message on Twitter caught my eye. A name I recognized, with a message that seemed meant for me, scrolled down the screen. A startup website, looking for a ‘viral editor‘ experienced in social media, who can tell a good story and make it appeal to a wide audience.

By now you’ve likely heard of Upworthy. The website for viral content, which went live in March 2012, curates positive stories blanketed in headlines that are nearly irresistible to click. (See some of their biggest hits here.) With a knack for finding stories that connect with readers, over the last year the site has experienced monstrous growth, surpassing nearly 50 million unique visitors in October alone, putting it in the ballpark with heavy hitters like Fox News and

However, back in 2011, when this tweet appeared on my screen, Upworthy was an unknown and may not have even had its name yet. I was on my way to do my own thing, so what made me consider this job, 400 miles and a world away?

The founder and CEO of Upworthy, the person who sent the tweet, Eli Pariser, grew up about seven miles up the road from where I live in mid-coast Maine. I had heard his name through Pop Tech, where he spoke in 2010 and he had also just published his book, Filter Bubble, which was on my must-read list. Now this job opening! Surely this was meant for me.

The Maine Connection

I cleaned up my resume, crafted a cover letter to Eli, being sure to mention my location, and sent it off that same day. I never heard back. I guess I didn’t really think I would. But deep inside there was that hope, the thought that maybe the Maine connection would resonate with him or catch his eye and tip the scales just enough. It did not.

However, this Maine connection would come up again, two years later.

In early 2012, through an amazing coincidence in its own right, I found myself part of a social media startup right here, just a few miles down the road from where Eli grew up. From Dream Local Digital founder, Shannon Kinney’s garage, to our new office in Rockland, I find myself part of an amazing group of friends creating something special right here at home, and I’m doing just what I want to be doing.

Then, yesterday, precisely two years after sending my resume to what would become Upworthy, I discovered that for the last 23 months here at Dream Local Digital, I’ve been sitting beside a guy who knew Eli growing up and went to elementary school with him.

There have been many strange coincidences on this journey and I’m really loving the success Upworthy is having. I’m going to stay right here though. Maybe, Eli, you could just teach me some of your secrets.

Interested in staying up to date with the latest trends in social media for your business? Contact Dream Local today.

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