Among the cold, often critical world of the web, HelloGiggles is warming it up with fun and empowering, lady-friendly content.
The website — created by Zooey Deschanel, Molly McAleer and Sophia Rossi — is a space where people can creatively connect in an entertaining and supportive environment.
“There is so much negativity online, so even if the content on a website is positive, the community is often incredibly negative,” says Deschanel. “I was always shocked by how mean people could be when they were allowed to make comments anonymously online.”
Deschanel was a big influence in the site’s design, which is splashed with cheerful colors and cute animations.
Content-wise, the site covers everything from crafts and recipes, to tips on how to get along with your roomate — or even how to do your taxes. HelloGiggles is mostly editorial, but there are also a number of video series, such as “Video Chat Karaoke,” which recently got a lot of attention from Deschanel’s New Year’s Eve duet with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Overall, the site enforces a “no gossip” policy, something the creators say often encourages negative commentary from readers.
“We don’t curse, we stay positive and we dont have alcohol sponsors,” says Rossi. “Every article must have a lesson learned, or contribute something to our readers — we really want to make sure that it’s not a personal blog.”
According to McAleer, who is responsible for gathering most of the contributors to the site, it is the content’s value that is driving conversation among readers. “I really believe that if there’s maturity in the content and the overall tone of the site, that it will inspire real conversations,” she says. “Even if there are disagreements, they can be executed in a respectful and intelligent way.”
Primarily, the site’s audience is women ranging in age from 13 to 35. However, Rossi, who manages the day-to-day business of the site, says there are a lot of male contributors and supporters. “I think our ‘About’ page probably feels a little bit ‘man-hatey’ than normal,” admits Rossi. “I don’t think [the site] alienates women, but it’s thought-provoking and conversational.”
Among the 150 contributors, male bloggers include producer and father Shane Nickerson, whose story about his daughter turning eight was a huge hit, according to Rossi.
Young bloggers like Maude Apatow and Ruby Karp, are also prominent on the site, where they cover content about elementary school and middle school.
Rossi says that some of the younger bloggers’ parents choose to monitor content, but the comments they receive are overwhelmingly positive, and that they continue to encourage feedback from adults.
“I am proud to have helped create a place where women and girls can feel safe to be their creative selves,” says Deschanel.