The hip microblogging service Tumblr isn't just for photo blogs about dogs wearing human clothes anymore! As The New York Times writes today, it's also for media companies flailing about on the internet. Are they succeeding? Let's find out!
Are you familiar with Tumblr? Basically, it's a blogging website. You sign up and you can "follow" people, like on Twitter, and read all of the Tumblrs of the people whom you follow in one place—your "dashboard." It's all very easy to use, and mostly people use their Tumblrs to post photographs and awful little inspirational quotes, and, sometimes, funny pictures they found on 4chan and Reddit. There are a lot of animal photos.
But this is what makes it different from other blogging services: Other Tumblr users can "like" those photographs, or "reblog" them, which means the photos will be republished on that person's blog, where they can then be "liked" and "reblogged" and so forth until the end of time. I think if you get enough "likes" you win, or maybe you are transformed into a real boy or something.
Anyway: Tumblr is popular among a "young crowd," writes the Times, and because of that it "could prove valuable for traditional companies and media outlets that are trying to build a relationship with that audience." Well: I am a young crowd myself! So let me take a look at your Tumblrs, old media, and tell you how you are doing.
Newsweek's Tumblr is well-known as the best old-media Tumblr, thanks to a guy named Mark Coatney, who basically made the Newsweek Tumblr his own personal Tumblr and happened to be pretty funny and smart. And then Tumblr hired him away. A-
The Village Voice
There was a nice groove for the the two weeks this was going on, and then I guess whichever intern was in charge was murdered, or got promoted to managing editor, or something, because it hasn't been updated since April. I liked the curses. B-
Solid start. I like that The Atlantic signed the post, in case it wasn't clear whose Tumblr it was. And they're looking forward to seeing us! Flattery will get you everywhere, The Atlantic. B
The Paris Review
Only one post so far, but it's 663 words, which is the longest Tumblr post ever written. The post is about Mark Twain, I guess? That's who's in the picture. I like Mark Twain. Autoreblog! A-
The Huffington Post
Technically Huffington Post is "new media" but their name showed up in the Times article, and besides, their Tumblr has the same kind of ramshackle, crazy-aunt charm as the regular Huffington Post. B+
Life is perfect for Tumblr, since it's all photographs, and that's all anyone wants to do on Tumblr, is reblog photos. Too bad all the photos are "important historical events" instead of "iPhone photos digitally manipulated to look like polaroids." D+
In case you are wondering, Tumblr is still "fleshing out its business model," according to the Times (maybe someday they can afford that "e"), which makes it a perfect match for media companies, none of whom make money either.