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:

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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:

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“Perfect couples don’t exi-“:

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Any variety of the “tag yourself” memes:

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

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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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LinkedIn

LinkedIn started in late 2002 with a production of people from PayPal and Social Net. They wanted to try something that would allow a company or an individual to connect like they have never been able to do before. It took the creators of LinkedIn six months before launching for the first time. The growth was slow at first with only 20 sign ups a day however, the website still looked promising. After a slow start, within the next year, over half a million people had signed up.

In 2005 and 2006 the office has moved several times and is now starting to publish personal profiles and jobs. They began to post more applications for the public to look at and think about the certain jobs they would like. Through 2005-2006, the company expanded rapidly and had already 4 million profiles, whether that be businesses and or the public. LinkedIn began to make profits from their site.

Today, LinkedIn has topped 315 million users globally which statistically is the majority of professionals.The research is not conclusive but numbers seem to be estimated between 350 to 600 million business professionals on the planet. They now reach people that love the technology, being in a community, and just being creative. The site is very interactive and is looking for many different job opportunities for the people around the world.

Linked in makes its money in a special way, Commercially LinkedIn has done really well, social site listings to start at $45 per share, and sits around the $120 mark at present.

The developers of the internet site have made the site very intrative with the different types of selections you can go into. For example if you wanted an engineer job you can go into the community section and find all the job listings from different types of engineering job sites.

Do you have an account?
Why do you think LinkedIn Boomed so quickly
Go through LinkedIn.com and find a job you want and post the one you want?
Where do you think LinkedIn is going in the next five years?

Twitter

Before reading this post make sure to follow me on Twitter @iancraft11 and enjoy the barrage of chapel tweets you will see on every Tuesday. In all seriousness, marketing yourself, your tweets, or your product is just that simple. With the push of a button a person can see your content, and with another press send that content to millions of people in an instant. So, a simple social media site, or a marketing genius?

In 2006, a social media site was born with little more than just five words. “Just setting up my twttr.” The incredibly simple social media site was created on the top of a playground. A group of creators sat on top of a slide to create an “idea so simple you don’t even have to think about it, just write.”

Every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter, try saying that 5 times fast, which corresponds to over 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year.From when Twitter started up in 2006 and until 2009, the amount of tweets grew at crazy high rates, approaching a 1,400% gain in daily volume year to year  and around 1,000% gain in the amount per year.

Twitter is a very simple social media platform. You say what you want when you want to and to who you want to. There’s only one hitch, it’s limited to 140 characters, so as to limit the ranting factor you have on Facebook. You can even link a picture, video, or Vine to the tweet. Twitter created a feature called a “retweet” early in its life where the user can share a tweet with all that follow them with the press of a button. This allows the content to possibly be seen by 100s of 1,000s of people. Hashtags are another example of how twitter can reach the masses. If you put a hashtag, a pound sign followed by a word, on your tweet, people can search that hashtag and see all the tweets with that inside it. Followers are what make the twitter experience really interesting to the normal user. Instead of being bombarded by whatever may come your way, you can pick and choose who you follow limiting the content you see to whatever you like. A person can have multiple accounts. So, if you are someone who loves fashion or sports and likes to comment and rant about that, you can have a separate account for those specific content users you follow so as you don’t spam the friends who follow you with a mass of retweets on a topic.

As Twitter grew into this massive entity, businesses caught on immediately. Marketing teams are constantly looking for ways to easily spread their message or product to all corners of the earth, and Twitter makes this mission fit right in the palm of your hand. Twitter allows you to promote a product better than any other social media site. You can connect with millions of people with the touch of a button. Think about it, the site has 288 million monthly “highly-active” users. This doesn’t even count the full 2 billion accounts on the site. If a business, say a shoe company tweeted a picture of a new shoe and a celebrity with millions of followers retweeted it, the tweet would immediately be seen by a great deal of people, who could then retweet it to all their followers and so on. Your product just reached as many people as it would through one Super Bowl commercial, because of one retweet. Oh and did I mention this kind of marketing is free? It’s because of this that Twitter will stay as a staple in business marketing for a while.

As long as you can get your product into a box with less than 140 characters, your marketing team will be #Winning

Questions:

  1. Back when twitter first started, and people understood Twitter better, users would update all their followers on their every move, i.e. “I just ate a slice of pizza and it was great.” Did you ever succumb to this kind of so called snapshot tweeting?
  2. What is your favorite account you follow on Twitter and why? What is your favorite business that you follow on Twitter and why?
  3. Do you personally use Twitter more for fun, or do you stick to serious matters?
  4. Twitter use has dropped off significantly recently, and it’s growth rate has stalled. Why do you think that is? Do you think Twitter will respond with more ads to make up for this loss of users?
  5. Twitter has discussed increasing the character limit for a tweet. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad one?

Blogs as Social Media

Blogs pioneered the way for widespread, far-reaching social media in the 1990s. Justinpicture Hall, a Swarthmore student, developed the first blog site known as Links.com in 1994. A couple years later as blogs continued to grow, Jorn Barger coined the word “Weblog” that replaced the phrase “logging the Web”. Eventually, Weblogs began to be known as blogs, and became available for free to users who desired to develop their own content.

In the early 2000s, the site “Gizmodo”, a blog empire, was launched by Nick Denton. The following year, in 2003, Google builds upon their blogging capabilities with AdSense that helped match blogs to specific content. For example, a women’s clothing blog would consist of ads about department stores or accessories. This helps companies market to target audiences through the use of interests generated by the types of blogs they are visiting.

(On http://www.mile-posts.com/ you can see the use of Ads for Fitness magazines and marathons because the blog is about running, fitness, and healthy living. This is an example of target marketing through blog content and ads.)

Throughout the history of blogs from creation to current, we can see the constant growth in ownership of domains and readership of the content. In 2005, a study was conducted to discover that over 32 million Americans read blogs. With new sites such as Blogspot, WordPress, and more, the knack for blogging continues to expand nationally and globally!

Blogs are a way of expressing personal ideas without necessarily owning an entire website. Blogs allow users to attain a domain name (simple versions are free, but can be charged for specific additions), and these now “bloggers” are free to publish anything they desire. The cool thing about blogs is that it expands social media into social networking. Anyone can become a self-producer of content and an internet personality without going through anyone of the big name media outlets like the New York Times – a blog only has to contain information important enough for regular people to read and share. Unlike media producers who have a certain audience, blogs are not contained by geography or money.

Many times people do not consider blogs a form of social media. However, it very much is a very important social media we cannot ignore. Opposed to the shallow chit-chat centered media we are accustomed to, blogs are focused on the content. This is an crucial thing to remember as the content is deepened by comments and interlinked conversation. As a social media, blogs also offer a substitute, auxiliary approach to traditional media.

What do you think?

  1. Do you have your own blog?
  2. If so, what do you mainly blog about?
  3. What types of blog posts do you read/follow?
  4. Do you think blogs are a social media or not? Why or why not?
  5. Do you think blog content should supplement traditional media?

Sources:

http://nymag.com/news/media/15971/

http://www.copyblogger.com/blogs-social-media/

FourSquare

n13foursquareLaunched in 2009 by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai, FourSquare is driven by location. The mobile application allows users to “check-in” at restaurants, coffee shops, museums, club or wherever they may find themselves and connect with friends in the area. The idea for the apporiginated in 2003 when Crowley and Alex Rainert tested the concept of a check-in based social network with a mobile service called Dodgeball. The service was initially successful and was acquired by Google in 2005, but was unable to be sustained due to lack of support and eventually shut down in 2009.

With the death of Dodgeball, Crowley launched FourSquare with Naveen Selvadurai in 100 metro areas across the world on March 11, 2009. Based on a user’s location, they could check-in to local venues and nearby friends would be notified. In addition to the check-in service, local search and recommendations were a huge part of the app’s initial launch. Users could create a profile personalized with their “tastes,” or preferences in food styles or environmental aspects, and their tastes would be used to personalize what was recommended specifically for them. Users could also review locations they checked into and leave “tips,” or short messages about a location limited to 200 characters. Tips could be made more prominent by being “liked” by other users. If a user checked in to a particular venue multiple times, they could accumulate points that would eventually unlock rewards, badges and coupons. Frequent check-ins to one location could also allow a user to become “mayor” of that particular location, and some businesses chose to offer rewards or discounts to FourSquare mayors.

Upon its launch, FourSquare took off in these metro areas and eventually spread to places that were not so heavily populated. The service reached 7 million user IDs on February 21, 2011, less than two years after its launch. President Barack Obama even created an account in August of 2011.

FourSquare was successful during this time because it simplified social interaction and mobile venue-creation. Users could go to services like Yelp for phone numbers and longer reviews, but FourSquare offered concise reviews and let users see what locations they would enjoy based on their own personal tastes and tips and reviews left by friends.

With the app’s growing popularity among local businesses, FourSquare launched “FourSquare for Business” in early 2013, a separate mobile app that allowed a business to manage their listing on FourSquare. This provided a way for businesses to update business information as well as create “specials” and see which visitors frequented their venue the most.

While the app saw a surge in popularity in the U.S. around its initial launch, usage has since declined and the app has seen several major redesigns as a result. In May of 2014, FourSquare launched a separate app called Swarm as a companion app. The location sharing and social networking aspects of FourSquare were moved to Swarm, and FourSquare shifted its focus entirely to personalized local search. Swarm includes all of the location sharing, rewards and badges that characterized its predecessor and also incorporates a direct messaging feature and allows users to track their check-in history.

Today, more than 50 million user IDs are registered to FourSquare, and more than 50 percent of the service’s users are outside the United States. The post-Swarm version of FourSquare never shares a user’s location publicly and no longer allows users to check in. The local search app still allows users to leave tips and reviews and searches are still catered to what users specify as their tastes, but the app is now entirely dedicated to helping users find places to go based on where they’ve been and what they like.

For Discussion:
1. Do you use or have you ever used FourSquare? (Personally, I had never even downloaded the app prior to this assignment.)

2. What do you think led to FourSquare’s decline in usage?

3. How can you see a service like FourSquare benefitting local businesses?

4. Do you think it was a smart move on FourSquare’s part to shift its focus to local search and transition the social networking features to a separate app? Why or why not?

5. How can you see FourSquare being used differently in a metropolitan area as opposed to a community like Arkadelphia?

Facebook

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BRIEF HISTORY OF FACEBOOK

In February 2004, 23-year-old Mark Zuckerberg launched “The facebook” which he founded while studying psychology at Harvard University. Within 24 hours of “The Facebook” launching, 1,200 Harvard students had signed up, and after one month, over half of the undergraduate population had a profile. Shortly after it was introduced to the Harvard students, “The Facebook” was extended to other universities in the Boston area, the Ivy League and eventually all US universities.
Zuckerberg had already developed a number of different social-networking websites for fellow students, including Coursematch, which allowed users to view people taking their degree, and Facemash, where you could rate people’s attractiveness.
In August 2005, “The Facebook” became Facebook.com after the address was purchased for $200,000. This allowed US high schools to sign up starting in September 2005, then it began to spread worldwide, reaching UK universities the following month. As of September 2006, the network was extended beyond educational institutions to anyone with a registered email address. The site remains free to join, and makes a profit through advertising revenue.
Yahoo and Google are among a few companies which have expressed interest in a buy-out, with figures of around $2 billion being discussed. Mark Zuckerberg has so far refused to sell.This month the company announced that the number of registered users had reached 30 million, making it the largest social-networking site with an education focus.

FACEBOOK STATISTICS

  1. Worldwide, there are over 1.55 billion monthly active Facebook users (MAUs) which is a 14 percent increase year over year. (Source: Facebook as of 9/30/15)
  2. 4.5 billion likes generated daily as of May 2013 which is a 67 percent increase from August 2012.
  3. 1.01 billion people log onto Facebook daily (DAU) for September 2015, which represents a 17% increase year over year (Source: Facebook as 9/30/15)
  4. There are 1.39 billion mobile active users (MAU)
  5. On average, the Like and Share Buttons are viewed across almost 10 million websites daily.

*CHECK OUT THE REST OF THE STATISTICS BY CLICKING HERE!!*

Discussion: In your opinion, why is Facebook still the leading social media to this day? With the statistics steadily rising, where do you think Facebook is heading? Do you believe that there may be a fee to be a member of the social site as it continues to grow? What is your thought as to how vast it has grown just from 2004?

Snapchat

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More than 400 million photos and messages are being sent each day through an app called Snapchat. These photos can be viewed for up to 10 seconds (the sender has the choice) and then they vanish. Because these images self-destruct, Snapchat is being embraced as an antidote to a world where nearly every feeling, celebration and life moment is captured to be shared, logged, liked, commented on, stored, searched and sold. For those people who don’t want to have to worry about unflattering photos being plastered on the Internet forever, the apps appeal seems obvious…..until theres a screenshot.

Snapchat allows users to screenshot photos and messages they receive. So although you may think your photo vanishes, it may never truly be gone. Each time your photo or message gets screenshotted, you receive a notification letting you know…but at that point there’s not much you can do about it. Many young people seem to be growing tired of “polished” Facebook profiles filled with advertisements studies show. Also, active social media users are becoming more aware of the permanence of content share via The Internet and its repercussions in life, therefore they switch to a more private and less permanent outlet, Snapchat.

The Snapchat service started two years ago but has rapidly grown and gained a reputation for an easy way for people to send naughty pictures. Evan Spigel, the creator, says “You can’t build a service off of sexting”, disagreeing with many of the critques from parents he has seen. Since the overwhelming majority of Snapchat’s users are age 13 to 25, the application has provoked concerns from parents. The company acknowledges that the service can be misused, but does not dwell on it. “We are not advertising ourselves as a secure platform,” Mr. Spiegel said. “It’s a communication platform. It’s not our job to police the world or Snapchat of jerks.”

Scott D. Cook, the founder of Intuit and a prominent entrepreneur and investor, has taken the Snapchat founders under his wing, and the start-up recently raised $13.5 million in venture financing, led by Benchmark Capital, which values the company at $60 million to $70 million even without an established revenue stream. Snapchat has become one of the hottest means of social media and it is still continuing to grow!

Feedback:

  1. Do you use a Snapchat?
  2. If so, how often do you snap?
  3. Do you prefer for the best friends list to be visable to all?
  4. Do you think parents should be concerned with children using Snapchat?
  5. What do you like and dislike most about Snapchat?