Roll Over Twitter: Tumblr is the Best Social Media Platform for News

To anyone who blogs on WordPress, posts videos to YouTube, updates Facebook, Tweets and has been experimenting with Google Plus: Tumblr might seem like a blog too far....


To anyone who blogs on WordPress, posts videos to YouTube, updates Facebook, Tweets and has been experimenting with Google Plus: Tumblr might seem like a blog too far. Certainly, it seemed that way to me. But when I saw Comscore describe it dryly as “one of the fastest growing consumer oriented Internet sites” and Mashable eulogise over it’s growth in traffic from 2 billion per month to 13 billion in the past year –  I decided to take another look.

If you’re not familiar with Tumblr, it’s often described as a halfway house between a blog and Twitter. It’s effectively a blog where you can post photos, videos, quotes, text and other snippets you find online, in a “tumble” of information. Typically, Tumblelogs resemble scrap-books, loosely held together by a theme, or the personality of the Tumblr, and, I have to say, I’ve usually found them less than inspiring.

That was until I came across ShortFormBlog.

At first glance ShortFormBlog is as unexciting as most of the other Tumblr sites I’ve seen. It’s a bit scrappy-looking, with photos, quotes and snippets of text logged one above the other. But that’s just until you realise what it represents: it’s a near perfect demonstration of online News curation.

In case you missed it, publishers who can curate and share high-value content rapidly and in easily digestible formats online are emerging as the modern News channels of choice. So to see that the people running this site are picking the most interesting photos, quotes, videos and extracts from other News sources (who are always credited) and simply sharing them without comment – thus saving me the bother of reading long articles or clicking through pages – is refreshing in the extreme.

Sure, Twitter’s great for headlines, but for real news you want photos, choice quotes and videos – not a whole blog post or article, but bite-sided snippets. This is Tumblr’s great strength and ShortFormBlog is a great example of what’s possible when you put this curation tool into the right hands.

You could say that Google Plus also offers bite-sized items of content in a stream that’s richer than Twitter, but less onerous than writing (or reading) a blog, yet Google Plus is still in it’s nascent months and will probably never offer the design configuration options that Tumblr does already. I also just don’t think Google Plus is designed for news aggregation, it’s too personal.

So, should you be using Tumblr?

If you’re a busy person seeking to build a loyal readership by finding and sharing interesting and valuable content, then yes, I think you should consider using Tumblr over, for example, a WordPress blog. If you’re hoping to attract random readers via SEO, though, Tumblr might not work. It’s been reported that Tumblr pages don’t rank well in search results. I would also recommend using it alongside Twitter, rather than instead of it.

Whether you decide to Tumbl or not, I’ll bet you’ll be reading Tumblr sites in the next 12 months. To my mind Tumblr stands out as a platform for content curation like no other – and for that it deserves our recognition.

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  1. Carla Reply

    I use Tumblr on occasion and I do love it for catering to my sometimes random interests and hobbies. I can post an image just as easily as a video or a rant or anything really. And while I don’t disagree with your arguments and the praise you give Tumblr, I do have a few concerns about the platform. 

    1- They have too many unpredictable operating issues. You would think after multiplying their work force significantly over the last year, these issues would have been fixed. Queued posts are often held up or posted at the wrong time. Time stamps sometimes don’t work. Servers are down for maintenance every so often. And I’m not even a daily user!

    2- Their search feature is the absolute worst. Twitter isn’t much better in this area but tweets, unlike blog posts, are no longer valuable after some time anyway, whereas a blog post still can be. 

    3- Their demographic is too concentrated, mainly used by teenagers and college students. While several brands, corporations and professionals have adopted Tumblr as their blogging platform of choice, there is still an audience to be gained.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the potential of Tumblr, but there’s still work to be done.

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