Don’t Get Tumbl’d Away

September 15th, 2011


Over the past few years, being a journalist and getting your voice heard has become increasingly easier due to the vast growing popularity of micro-blogging. According to Anthony DeRosa of Reuters.com, the difference between traditional blogs and micro-blogs is that micro-blogs rely on short spurts of information including links, photos, videos, and very brief messages (see here). Unlike Twitter, Tumblr does not have a limit in how much you can write, so bloggers who use Tumblr are able to express themselves in more lengthier ways, if they choose to do so. In comparing Tumblr to Twitter, Mindy McAdams of WordPress describes:

Tumblr is not a replacement for a traditional blog, and it’s not a substitute for Twitter. Tumblr is something else – part bookmarking tool, part FriendFeed, part scrapbook, part serendipitous newsfeed.

Also in her article, she explains how “ridiculously easy” it is for people who use Tumblr to navigate throughout the website. She explains two prominent features of Tumblr being the “heart” and the reblog features. She goes on to describe that Tumblr is much more social than traditional blogs, meaning that it is easier to share with your followers what you are writing about because everything is located in one place.

Tumblr is an easy way in which amateur journalists (even people who won’t even consider themselves journalists) can express themselves amongst their peers and receive feedback. Tumblr is seemingly a much more personal blogging atmosphere, since you have the support of your “followers” and the chance to read other people’s blogs while trying to come up with your own.

Amateur journalists are not the only people taking advantage of Tumblr, however. ABC journalist Matthew Keys used Tumblr for the coverage of Japan’s earthquake, which was nominated by the Online News Association for the best breaking news for a small site (see here). While speaking of how micro-blogging websites have taken off over the past year, John Paul Titlow speaks of Tumblr:

The craze has caught on with traditional media outlets like NPR (National Public Radio), The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and a host of others, who have set up blogs on Tumblr as a way to help grow their audiences, engage readers and drive traffic back to their original content.

The way in which journalists use Tumblr as a resource is quite remarkable. It is a way to get to the audience who don’t necessarily check the news websites daily or who are not really aware of the amount of newsworthy blogs are out there on the internet. Tumblr has been nothing but a good improvement to the blogging world by allowing the general population to talk about their lives or their beliefs among their friends and in the public sphere.

Some people are concerned with what Tumblr and other blogging innovations will do to the traditional world of blogging. In an article comparing Tumblr to the popular blogging resource of WordPress, John Paul Titlow says:

Tumblr has scaled incredibly well and shows no signs of slowing down. WordPress.com hasn’t had the same exponential growth, but it’s certainly been no slouch either. Both services are enormously popular and many people use them side by side. (see graph below)

Tumblr vs. WordPress.com, in visits per month.

The concern still remains, however. I do not think that traditional blogging will ever cease to exist. There has been so much progress in journalism coming from blogging alone, that I highly doubt that micro-blogging will be the end of traditional blogging as we know it. Having a Tumblr myself, I am fully aware of the satisfaction of posting a blog and knowing that my closest friends will read it and appreciate what I have to write. I don’t feel the need to put myself out there in “newsworthy” blogs, because frankly what I have to say I would rather just share among people that I am comfortable with.

Tumblr is a way that someone who is blogging from their bed or an ABC studio can express themselves and experience what it’s like to be part of a conversation.

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