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