The Gong

The mostly official blog of the Hodges Partnership.

Is Tumblr for ya?

August 03, 2010 | by Jon Newman

So we were in a client meeting last week discussing our social media proposal which focused mainly on Facebook and he said, "Did you see where Facebook is losing traction among teens, I just want to make sure we're keeping an eye on what's next."Then I read this article in The New York Times touting the sort of microblog Tumblr as Facebook and Twitter's New Rival. The article points out that media companies and outlets like Newsweek and The Today Show are using Tumblr because of its ability in manner more "rich" than the other more famous platforms.  The thought here that might excite the younger set who are frustrated by the mainstreaming of Facebook and Twitter and the limitations both have in truly sharing rich media.So what does a PR/social media guy do next?  He signs up for Tumblr.My usual experience for new platforms is that I sign up, play with them for five minutes, get frustrated and dump them quickly only to come back to them later when others validate them (see Google Buzz...not).   Not so yet with Tumblr.The platform is a "major mash" of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogging with elements of Flipboard (the new hot iPad APP) sprinkled in.Here are some of the highlights:

  • Once you set up your page you can customize the background and info similar to Twitter.
  • You can post just about anything in a more rich way.  For example, photos are BIG as are videos, you can do full blog posts or random thoughts similar to Tweets.  You can link to anything and bring in your own feeds.
  • Just as with Facebook and Twitter you can follow people or outlets that are searchable through categories.  Once you follow them, their posts will populate your dashboard.  They can also follow you and you are notified of that follow by email.
  • You can "reblog" their posts as a way to show your interest in a manner similar to a retweet.  This of course will help people find each other as common courtesy usually has a follow following a reblog.
Since I'm just starting on Tumblr I'm likely missing about 90 percent of its capabilities.  So I'd love some direction from fellow "Tumblrs" who can steer me in the right direction.The question over time is whether we can fit a third (or more) social media platform into our daily social media routine.  Tumblr does allow for easy cross-pollination between itself Facebook and Twitter although I hate overdoing that.But my initial feedback is positive and I will continue my Tumblr experiment and report back soon.What's your feedback?

Picture of Jon Newman

Jon Newman

Jon worked on-air and in management at a number of radio and TV news organizations in New Jersey, Tennessee and Virginia before joining The Martin Agency. He parlayed his media background into national media placements for countless clients, and that media relations focus is still a core competency at The Hodges Partnership. As the media landscape has changed, Jon’s focus now also includes social and digital media. Read all posts by Jon Newman »

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Picture of Justin Whitaker

By Justin Whitaker on August 03, 2010

The only downside of Tumblr is that you can’t use SEO or Affiliate Marketing tactics on their platform. So if you want to follow one of the product launch or monetization strategies common these days…you are SOL.

On the other hand: the Tumblr community is vibrant, active, and viral. Using it as a replacement site or as an integrator might be well worth the time for the community and word of mouth it generates.

Picture of Lackeyman

By Lackeyman on August 03, 2010

I use tumblr for about 15-20% of it’s capacity, but it met my niche needs.  I do a 365 Photo of the Day project, and I wanted a place that would take my Flickr hosted photo, put it on a blog, tweet, and fb post it, all in one click.  Tumblr was the answer.

As for how well it works, it catches all of my posts (when I click the “Share on Tumblr customized icon on my toolbar), but it occasionally struggles to display the photo several days later.  Not to mention, if you’re trying to log into the administrator tool/aspect, prepare yourself for some seat time - it takes a while to log in.

Check it out, let me know what you think.


Picture of Jeff K.

By Jeff K. on August 03, 2010

I’ve used Tumblr for about a year, largely as an extension of the Twitter community and as a journal of sorts. The mobility is what makes it nice…being able to easily post content on the run. It’s also deepened relationships with people I’ve met through Twitter, to the point that I know many of them better than some people in real life (though that sounds weird).

As for business, loads of possibilities. This is the blogging platform of choice for creatives, tech, and companies that want to be transparent with the public. Do Tumblr right and it gets no more transparent online. It’s best used in combination with Twitter.

Also, re:backgrounds and look. Really customizing Tumblr takes a CSS programmer. You can only take it so far if you have no design experience. Which is aggravating. But still, cool platform. And big RVA presence.

Picture of Doug Meacham

By Doug Meacham on August 03, 2010

As long as you are looking at Tumblr, you should also look at Posterous.  A relatively new challenger, it shares many of the same features.  We’ll see who, if any, ultimately win out

Picture of Steve Mullen

By Steve Mullen on August 04, 2010

I actually started playing with Tumblr a couple of years ago, and really just started using it to aggregate my blog.  I just checked, and was shocked to find my account still active.  Sounds like they’ve made a lot of changes over there since I first started playing with it.

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