Why media brands have gone crazy for blogging platform Tumblr

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There’s an interesting feature at Mashable http://mashable.com/2010/10/03/news-media-tumblrs/#The-Economist which lists about 30 or so media brands that now have blogs on the platform of the moment – Tumblr. They range from serious stuff like Newsweek through to more edgy blogs from the likes of Vice and Buzzfeed. There’s also a few Brits namely Future Mags’ Total Film and The Economist.

Anyhow today we sat in the Sutro Digital office and tried to work out why media brands are all over Tumblr. It is especially curious as 1 The blogs aren’t monetised in any way and 2 They generally aren’t stuffed with links to the media brand’s mothership.

So why the proliferation of Tumblr media blogs?

1 Tumblr is oh so hip. Blogging platforms haven’t been cool for a while, Tumblr has attracted a young, creative and quite probably very influential audience.

2 Tumblr gives media brands a chance to engage with their fans on more neutral territory – There’s a real community in Tumblr, more so than its rival of sorts Posterous. Tumblr users have welcomed media brands’ recognition of their space on the web and have been forthcoming in reading the blogs and engaging with the owners.

3 The Tumblr blogs take readers behind the scenes – The blogs show images of news rooms, content that didn’t make the main mag/website, informal videos of staff. If you are a media junkie this stuff is compelling.

4 The blogs are image and video lead – Last week Nick Denton was talking about how he feels that video and images are the future of blogging, perhaps more than words. Tumblr blogs look great as they tend to be designed to make the most of striking images. Media companies create a lot of images and Tumblr is the perfect place for them.

Personally I am not entirely sure how long the trend will last. Tumblr is not the new Twitter, and besides there is a strong argument for media companies placing that ancillary content on a site where millions could see it – Facebook. It is however clearly a trend to keep an eye on.

Incidentally I searched in vain for brands doing anything interesting on Tumblr. Which is odd because the Sutro team has got some great ideas for branded Tumblr blogs. If you are a brand who want to experiment with Sutro Digital in this space give me a shout. Check out the Sutro site sutrodigital.com

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A few Twitter alternatives…

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So Twitter is apparently being hacked by Russians Australians who do odd things with a mouse. If you are too scared to visit the Twitter home page, and it really is fascinating viewing this afternoon, why not take a look at these micro blogging alternatives

1 Plurk – Very smart micro blogging system, puts your posts in a timeline. Deserves to be more popular.

2 Posterous – Proper blogging system that is almost as easy as using Twitter. The downside is that one of the key ways you get people to read your posts is via the site automatically pinging Twitter when you post.

3 Tumblr – Rival to Posterous, but not quite as intuitive and better for words than images.

4 Google Buzz – Google’s micro blogging system. Use it quick before it goes the same way as Google Wave.

5 Dailybooth – This is like Twitter, but is more image focused. You upload an image and add a comment

There’s also 12 Seconds (updates via video), Jaiku (very like Twitter) and some no mark site called Facebook

What Vox’s closure says about the state of blogging

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I was a little sad to hear about the closure of blogging service Vox last week. Not especially because of losing my own Vox blog, but because Six Apart, the company that created Vox, deserved better. Over the years many blogs I have been involved with have used Six Apart platforms. I had my Paul on the Damascus Road experience with Typepad and developed Shiny on the platform before upgrading to Movable Type.

As any Shiny writer can tell you there have been issues with MT, but I think many of these stem from Shiny’s under investment in technology rather than the platform itself.

Vox was a bold attempt to invent a social networking platform with the emphasis on blogging, rather than shorter updates like Facebook and eventually Twitter. It probably didn’t work out because ultimately bloggers already had established blogs on platforms like Typepad and WordPress and Vox was never going to be able to compete with Facebook and Twitter for new users.

Where Six Apart missed a trick was by not making blogging ultra simple (like Posterous) or ultra pretty and image focussed (like Tumblr). Maybe Vox was a result of the company following other people’s agendas and not setting its own.

Six Apart is apparently in merger talks with Videoegg http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/03/six-apart-and-vox%E2%80%94how-promise-gets-s… which probably forced the closure. There is a feeling though that the once very promising start up may have missed the boat a little.

According to Techcrunch

Back in 2007 when Six Apart sold off LiveJournal and named Chris Alden CEO, the mantra was the company was finally going to focus. There’s a fine line between healthy diversification and doing too much to do anything well. Six Apart has always had an Intuit problem—they had several valuable properties but they didn’t necessarily add up to one big consumer Internet brand in the golden age of huge consumer Internet brands.

I think it is true that if you have one hero brand you become more desirable.

This is something that also rings true for many of the blog networks that sprung up in 2004-6. They could boast about having lots of traffic, but not one flasgship brand. It is something Shiny was acutely aware of a few years back, but never acted upon.

So goodbye Vox. I doubt if you’l be missed too much. And if you want to read people’s Vox’s blogs I’ll bet you’ll find a lot of them, on Posterous very soon.

Cool new Pad app Pulse teams up with my fave blogging platform Posterous – very smart!

via Retro To Go

A while back, we reported that the BT Tower, formerly the Post Office Tower, could be re-opening in the future as a boutique … Read More >>

Amid all the kerfuffle about Flipboard the other week, the other big new app for the iPad, Pulse, got kind of forgotten. This is a real shame as it is a very neat RSS app that turns your feeds into pics and headlines in an attractive way.

Sure it has its limitatations – you can only have up to 25 feeds – but it works well and is well worth the few quid you pay for it.

Today, in another smart move, Pulse teamed up with Posterous to offer an easy way of creating a blog composed of your favourite articles. You simply like an article in Pulse and it is pinged straight away to your blog

Mine is here http://ashleynorris.pulsememe.com/

The big advantage of Posterous is that you can switch autoposting on so that the posts are automatically pinged on Twitter and Facebook.

There has to be some very clever use for this for both brands and publishers, but I haven’t thought of one yet

Future of blogging becoming a very hot topic. Has Twitter killed it?

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Really interesting to see this post http://mashable.com/2009/07/07/future-of-blogging/ from Edelman SVP Steve Rubel on Mashable about the future of blogging.

I have been thinking about this for a few weeks now and am going to add my twopennyworth shortly.

For what it’s worth I don’t think that Twitter will kill blogging. It has shaped blogging in that many posts are much shorter now, however I see Twitter as a mini personalised RSS feed shooting me all the blog posts I need to read.

Also I think it is a very dull person who can condense their thoughts into 140 charactars, and even a duller world where no one has more than a few words to say about each topic.