July 17, 2013
Without a doubt, Facebook and Twitter get all the social media glory and attention. They’re like the over-achieving older child who seems perfect in every way to outsiders or, in this case, to marketers. Though they get most of the focus, they certainly aren’t the only two social media platforms out there and, in fact, in the fast-paced social media world, people can be finicky which is why it’s worthwhile that from time to time we meet other members of the extended social media family. You may not be familiar with them yet, but depending on what audience you’re trying to reach, you may very well find that these tools might be far better suited for you than everyone’s favorite Facebook and Twitter.
Yes, it’s written this way, that’s not a mistake. But if you thought at first it was an error then chances are you’re not in the 13 – 25 year-old age group who is flocking to Tumblr. in massive numbers. To call Tumblr. a stepchild is a really a bit unfair given that they were recently bought by Yahoo for $1.1Billion but that’s the tech world for you.
So what exactly is Tumblr.? It is, essentially, a simple blogging platform. The best explanation I’ve found was in The Economist which detailed how blogging platforms started off being very simple ‘online journaling’ software and then morphed into software that had far more bells and whistles which enabled people to use blogs as true publishing platforms and website (this site, as an example, is created on WordPress which is, technically, a blogging platform).
But where were the easy-to-use, easy-to-upload from any device that could help you capture your thoughts and experiences via short text posts, pictures, video, etc. as well as follow others’ blog posts? That’s the void Tumblr. came in and dominated – especially amongst the 13-25 year old age group. Tumblr. currently boasts 123 million blogs (that number will probably have gone up between the time I write this and the time you see it) and an interesting study found that Tumblr. is used more by kids and young adults than Facebook (59% use Tumblr. frequently versus 54% for Facebook) and substantially more than Twitter (of which only 20% of respondents said they use frequently.) When asked why, one kid being interviewed for a radio report I heard on NPR said that once they started getting Facebook friend requests from their parents and relatives, they knew it was time to move elsewhere.