Tumblr: A Really Weird Platform

img_logo_34465d_2xTumblr is what is described as a “microblogging” platform that also incorporates social elements. Launched 9 years ago (February 2007) by creator David Karp, Tumblr has provided its user base a rather unique way to share a variety of content and also find other blogs (known as “tumbleogs” internally).

Tumblr made more of a scene in 2013 when MTV began advertising its Tumblr on TV, and the site was acquired in May of that year by Yahoo! under CEO Marissa Mayer’s leadership. Since then, ads have been showing up on user’s screens, which used to not happen at all prior to then.

What Can You Do On Tumblr?

Tumblr users are able to both create their own content as well as share content that they like. Both are done primarily through the Dashboard. An example Dashboard is pictured below:

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Here, users can create the following content:

-Text posts, which can include anything from random thoughts to deeper conversations

-Photos, including GIFs (and a library of them through Giphy)

-Quotes, with an area to provide attribution

-Chat logs

-Audio, such as music or funny recordings

-Video, with a limit of 15 minutes of original video able to be uploaded per day

To share content that users enjoy, they can “reblog” posts from their dashboard and it will show up on their blog. Additionally, they can “like” posts and view them later and can tag posts with a hashtag system to be tracked.

Where Can I See My Blog?

As with other blog sites like WordPress, you design your own blog using tools provided by Tumblr. You can pick a variety of themes and customize them. There are even themes you can pay for to support the coders who design them. There’s no real set format for a blog; you can have two or three columns, a traditional blog format…there’s a lot of possibilities! You can then see your blog at a URL, like “yourblogexample.tumblr.com”. Here’s an example of a more chic, minimalist blog with an emphasis on photography and aesthetics:

tumblr_msmcwl0ha41qcbugro1_1280

How Popular is Tumblr?

According to Expanded Ramblings, Tumblr has over 550 million active monthly users and 280.4 million active blogs. Tumblr is also mainly geared towards Millennials; 69% of Tumblr’s user base are Millennials. Tumblr sees an average of 120,000 new signups each day and has now handled over 129.7 billion posts since 2007. (Check out the Stats Here)

You Said That Tumblr is Weird…

Sit down with me for a second. Let me explain.

Tumblr has managed to create a great community of younger, diverse bloggers who are really more active in their world. Lots of current issues are discussed on there every day (the Black Lives Matter movement, social injustices, people helping those in need with donations or other actions, etc.). That is the wonderful part because young people are becoming more socially engaged and invested with their world, which actually helps break this notion that kids aren’t engaging their world.

The weird part: all the unusual memes that it can spawn. I fear for my sanity.

Take a look at some of these dank memes that Tumblr has managed to spawn (WARNING some of the blog names are vulgar, I’m so sorry):

no its becky:

image

“Perfect couples don’t exi-“:

ecd

Any variety of the “tag yourself” memes:

a20

And my personal favorite (as a response to poor design taste):

tumblr_inline_npt6s9jznf1qb24j0_540

 

How Can Businesses Use Tumblr?

Businesses on Tumblr have mainly advertised on the site, but there are a few examples of their blogs going above and beyond in different ways. The Denny’s blog is an example; using really weird GIFs helps advertise their diners and gets lots of reblogs and likes on their posts (http://blog.dennys.com/). However, most publications and broadcast companies just blog links to posts on their main websites, effectively making their Tumblrs content gateways (see: http://gq.tumblr.com/ and http://abcworldnews.tumblr.com/)

The thing is, not every brand will work on Tumblr. Denny’s does work, but most people are on Tumblr for more personal content, like venting feelings or cat GIFs. A brand can succeed, in theory, by appealing to that. Old Spice has been doing this, like Denny’s, by using bizarre and hilarious content, like videos and photos. Take a look here for their “football” campaign: http://oldspice.tumblr.com/

Discussion Points

  1. Have you ever had a Tumblr? What did you mainly blog about? If you don’t have a Tumblr, theorize what you would mainly blog about (art, architecture, cats, personal stuff, etc.)
  2. Businesses on Tumblr have to take an unusual approach to marketing their content. What kind of content would you think you’d post if you were, say, the social media manager of a local clothing boutique or eatery?
  3. Millennials make up a majority of Tumblrs users, and I think we can all agree that we’re not that much into ads. But there are some ads that do work. What kind of ads would you be okay with seeing on Tumblr or on any social media platform?
  4. Tumblr’s user base has also been described as mainly “hipsters” who are ahead of the curve in social movements, trends, and other ideas. With Tumblr becoming more popular, do you think this will remain true as the platform reaches its 10th anniversary? Why or why not?
  5. Fun question: tag yourself from the third meme. I’m hot dog.
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37 thoughts on “Tumblr: A Really Weird Platform”

  1. Great review of Tumblr, Matthew! I have never had a Tumblr, and honestly, it never interested me too much because I had seen some of the crazy memes that came out of it and it’s not my style of desired content. If I did have Tumblr, my guess is I would blog about personal stuff. However, if I was a social media manager for a clothing boutique, I would reblog trends, post new arrivals, and promote with local customers by posting pictures and content about them. To answer your question about ads, I honestly don’t mind them. To me, they are a part of life. I don’t mind seeing ads especially if they pertain to something I am interested in such as make-up, athletic gear, etc. I think that Tumblr draws a certain person who is eager to make their voice heard about up-and-coming topics, social issues, etc, and though I am sure there are plenty of “mainstream”account holders, I feel as if Tumblr will remain for mostly “hipster” individuals.

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    1. Haley, I completely agree with your thought on ads. Ads definitely don’t bother me if they pertain to something I am interested in. I think that if social media sites would have ads that are sharing a common interest with their users then that would make them more beneficial.

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      1. Haley and Emily -I agree with you both! I even though it is kind of creepy when you visit a site and then their ads start showing up on your social media sites, I think the idea targeted advertising is great. It makes both the user’s experience and the advertiser’s experience much better.

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    2. Haley I agree that Tumblr draws a certain person that is wanting their voice heard. I also agree that Tumblr will remain mostly for “hipster” individuals.

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    3. I’m on board with you about Tumblr remaining a very hipster platform, Haley. I do still have a tumblr, but I don’t use it much except to see what’s going on. Aside from the memes that I posted, we see a lot of hipster content on there: Lana Del Rey lyrics superimposed upon black-and-white images, “mood boards” (basically a form of neo-Dadaist art), indie band images, and “vintage” looking photographs, usually involving a vinyl record player. That being said, there are still a variety of voices on there. As I mentioned, social movements have a strong presence there, so we may see more community organization on there too.

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  2. No, I don’t have tumblr… But I guess I would blog about Graphic Design.
    If I was doing the social media for a boutique I would probably post photos of new arrivals and fun behind the scenes things to make it more personable.
    I think our generation really appreciates funny ads and that seems to be fitting on this platform.
    Maybe it is because I’m not very familiar with the site, because I don’t see the huge draw to it. So personally I can’t say I see it growing a ton in the next 10 years.

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    1. I agree with Lauren! I am not connected to Tumblr in anyway..had no idea what it even was, so I don’t see it growing a ton either!

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    2. I definitely agree with you about the funny ads, especially ones you see during the Super Bowl. I know tons of people that only watch for the commercials.

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  3. No I do not have tumblr, but I think that if I were to blog about something it would be personal experiences I have had. If I was a social media manager for a clothing boutique I would post pictures of new arrivals and promote the business with fun catchphrases or hashtags. I would appreciate seeing more local ads. I think a lot of time ads are for corporate businesses rather than local ones. I see tumblr staying true to its “hipster” population.

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    1. I really think that Tumblr is a platform only for the hipster types and is the only service that can be seen that way. Unless Tumblr drastically alters what their site is used for, then I can’t see it becoming a dominating social media site anytime soon.

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    2. I agree that local ads would be more appreciated–people get really excited about seeing smaller businesses that they care about getting attention online.

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  4. I have never had a Tumblr and I actually really didn’t even know what it was, so thanks for the insight.
    If I were to blog it would probably just be about my life. I really don’t do anything cool but maybe just about every day experiences…not that people would actually be interested in that though..
    If I were to blog for a clothing bouqitue, I would post things such as what styles are trending, daily deals, and inventory in the store.
    I know the previous people that have commented have said they don’t mind ads, but I don’t really like them. They take up space and I typically scroll and don’t read them. I guess the only thing I wouldn’t really mind seeing would be ads for clothing stores I like to shop at.
    I guess since it is so popular to “hipster” individuals at the time that it may remain that way, but I don’t see myself ever using it and I don’t know many people that do so I don’t really see it being so popular come 10 years.

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    1. I totally agree, Bekah! I don’t feel like I do much thats Tumblr-worthy, but I would probably Judy make my content about clothes or other trends. I’m not hipster enough for that either though!

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    2. I totally agree with you Bekah! Ads really annoy me and I wish I could just do away with them. I also agree with not seeing myself using Tumblr either. I know practically no one that uses Tumblr.

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    3. I definitely agree about the ads thing. Most people always talk about how ads are tailored to their personal tastes but I wouldn’t know because I use a service that blocks them out of every web page I go to. They easily distract you from the content.

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      1. I definitely need to do what you’re doing! It creeps me out when I am online shopping and then whatever I was searching pops up on my facebook..ads just annoy me

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  5. I have never had a Tumblr and I honestly didn’t really know what it was.
    If I were to post for a boutique I would probably post pictures of the staff working or the latest arrivals.
    Ads really annoy me on Facebook and Instagram. If I were to pick ads I would want to see I would probably be okay with seeing ads for local businesses in my area that are interesting to me.
    I don’t think Tumblr is ever going to grow. I think there will always be the “hipsters” that are around to use it, but other than that there will be no other growth. I don’t ever plan on creating an account and I don’t think any of my friends have accounts.

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    1. I wish they would do away with Ads all together, but I also don’t want to be paying to have a membership to see what’s up with my friends! I agree that ads should be local and related.

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  6. 1. I have never had a Tumblr. I would probably use my blog as a place to post my creative writing and receive feedback for it.
    2. I would probably post a lot of pictures of food and maybe fun recipes if I owned a small eatery and then blog about crazy customers or something.
    3. If an ad is funny and doesn’t take itself too seriously then it is ok with me.
    4. I think Tumblr will remain where it is simply because it is what you called an “information gateway” and serves the purpose of harboring more intellectual conversations.
    5. I am definitely an excalibur because I once tasted a star.

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    1. Tumblr is definitely a great information gateway, but that’s what made it annoying for me after a while. You have a blog, you post things to it. I want to see content, not just article summaries that link to a website!

      I totally believe you tasted a star. Now guess why I’m hot dog. (Hint: I don’t even go to parties, so that’s out of the question)

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  7. I have never had a Tumblr before! I theorize that I would blog about graphic design trends or old concepts of design that I thought were interesting.

    If I were in charge of ads for a local clothing store or boutique, would post things that buzzfeed users would be interested in. I think if I could do that, I could appeal to the same sort of demographic I am hoping to reach.

    If I didn’t already have an adblocker, as a growing amount of millenials do – I would be interested in seeing tech and fashion ads.

    If more people are in on the trends, I’d argue that the trends would become less ‘hipster’.

    I am barnaby because I am not secretly 1000 bees.

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    1. The only reason I don’t have an adblocker is because it would still make my pages load slower than molasses. Also, our network has a built-in blocker, so I always have to avoid going to Forbes because they insist that you deal with their “ad-light” experience. UGH.

      I was hoping somebody would pick barnaby. You never disappoint, Alex.

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  8. 1)no
    2)I would post about food cause I love food
    3)Nike and pastas
    4)I think it will remain the same, because once you have a trend it is hard to break that certain trends
    5)I think I would Excalibur

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  9. Have you ever had a Tumblr? What did you mainly blog about? If you don’t have a Tumblr, theorize what you would mainly blog about (art, architecture, cats, personal stuff, etc.)
    Yes, I have a Tumblr and I really enjoy it! I just blogged about my life and looked at other cool blogs.

    Businesses on Tumblr have to take an unusual approach to marketing their content. What kind of content would you think you’d post if you were, say, the social media manager of a local clothing boutique or eatery?
    I would post pictures of our products and possibly funny things to encourage people to look at our page.

    Millennials make up a majority of Tumblrs users, and I think we can all agree that we’re not that much into ads. But there are some ads that do work. What kind of ads would you be okay with seeing on Tumblr or on any social media platform?
    Funny ads would do it for me or ads of things that I would actually buy.
    Tumblr’s user base has also been described as mainly “hipsters” who are ahead of the curve in social movements, trends, and other ideas. With Tumblr becoming more popular, do you think this will remain true as the platform reaches its 10th anniversary? Why or why not?
    I think it is for hipsters but I think I see more hipsters on Instagram if anything.

    Fun question: tag yourself from the third meme. I’m hot dog.
    I am excalibur, I think.

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  10. 1. I have never had a Tumblr! I’ve always seen those funny posts on Pinterest, but I never had much knowledge to make one myself!
    2. If I were the social media manager of a local clothing boutique, I would definitely post picture of our clothing items, pictures of sales going on, and probably pictures of the weather and what items we have that can accommodate.
    3. The Ads that I wouldn’t mind viewing would be the ones that actually related to me. I’m tired of seeing the one that tells me to go get my prostate examined haha.
    4. I do in a sense that Tumblr is made up of solely pictures. The pictures that are most pleasing to the eye are soft, warm, neutral colors of something that can relate to everyone (a flower, bicycle, a stack of books, etc.) and that just so happens to be categorized as ‘hipster’.
    5. I’m probably wichita because I eat bugs.

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    1. I totally agree with you about ads that have nothing to do with my interests! I wonder sometimes how I fall into the target audience for some of the things that pop up on my Facebook.

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  11. Of course Matthew you went over and beyond, but great post!!

    No I’ve never had a Tumblr, I’m not a big blog post writer so that really didn’t intrigue me when it was created. If I was to have an account, I would probably talk mostly about my personal life or something interesting that is going on with sports or some celebrity.

    Posting pictures of our different products and talking about the different sales and such that are occurring would be the approach that I would take when trying to market for my business/company.

    I would rather see clothing advertisements or something that is very funny. Maybe even quick workout routines or something of that nature.

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  12. 1. I do not have a Tumblr, but if I did it would probably be about things I’m interested in and the happenings of my life.
    2. If I managed a Tumblr account for a boutique, I would probably post photos of whatever clothing or accessories were at the store and any promotional content for sales or events that would be going on.
    3. I’m usually okay with ads if they’re funny or visually appealing or are advertising something that I’m actually interested in.
    4. I can’t really see Tumblr reaching into demographics it hasn’t already drawn in, so it will likely remain where it is.

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  13. Have you ever had a Tumblr? What did you mainly blog about? If you don’t have a Tumblr, theorize what you would mainly blog about (art, architecture, cats, personal stuff, etc.)
    I have never had a Tumblr, but if I did, I would blog about my jewelry line.

    Businesses on Tumblr have to take an unusual approach to marketing their content. What kind of content would you think you’d post if you were, say, the social media manager of a local clothing boutique or eatery?
    My unusual posts would include gifs of people in the store or fun contests for people to participate in.

    Millennials make up a majority of Tumblrs users, and I think we can all agree that we’re not that much into ads. But there are some ads that do work. What kind of ads would you be okay with seeing on Tumblr or on any social media platform?
    I don’t mind seeing an ad if it’s entertaining and well-done, while also being targeted correctly.

    Tumblr’s user base has also been described as mainly “hipsters” who are ahead of the curve in social movements, trends, and other ideas. With Tumblr becoming more popular, do you think this will remain true as the platform reaches its 10th anniversary? Why or why not?
    I think the “hipsters” will remain simply because while Tumblr may be becoming more popular, it still isn’t the most popular social media.

    Fun question: tag yourself from the third meme. I’m hot dog.
    I’ll take Wichita because I do know how to cook french toast.

    Like

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