What does Tumblr mean to you?

I’ve been on Tumblr for about 6 months now and I’m surprised to say that the novelty has yet to wear off.

I mainly use the site to keep updated on and entertained by my television and movie fandoms ( [n] The community that surrounds a tv show/movie/book etc. ), and generally let out my inner nerd. From my own personal use, I would have supposed that the site would remain more of an alternative social site, always in the shadows of the more thriving Facebook and Twitter. And yet, despite my suppositions, a Nielsen Co. report finds that Tumblr has gained 183% in popularity from 2010 to 2011.

Further findings from the study include:

  • The site averages 21,280 messages and links posted daily. To better understand this figure, understand that it surpasses the number of blogs hosted by WordPress in one month.
  • More than 57% of Tumblr users are under 34 with only 17.5% over 50 years of age.
  • Tumblr uses are more often female (53%)…but not by much.

So why has this site gained so much popularity? And does its notably younger user base point toward Tumblr’s continued trend and growth?

Technically speaking, Tumblr is a form of microblogging. Microblogging  “differs from a traditional blog[ging] in that its content is typically smaller in both actual and aggregate file size. Microblogs ‘allow users to exchange small elements of content such as short sentences, individual images, or video links.'” Other examples of microblogging include Twitter and even Facebook.

To me, it is easy to see how Tumblr is more similar to Twitter than to a blog, such as WordPress. For one, people don’t often use Tumblr for longer messages or posts. On Twitter, individuals are actually forcibly limited in their content (140 characters max).

As for myself, on Tumblr I often just reblog posts that I find informative, humourous, or interesting; I rarely add unique content to the site. Many times, as with Twitter updates, the content of a post may send  the user to a completely separate site. The main focus is not the post itself, but the links or pictures that may lead to another domain.

Tumblr emphasizes how easy it is to use the site. And certainly, the directions are as simple as the  functions of the site. While some may use Tumblr as a primary blog, I still find the site to be less professional due perhaps in part to its simplicity. By this I mean that I don’t feel that one can accurately learn about me via my Tumblr page, whereas I consider my WordPress blog to be an accurate professional representation of myself (much as some people would consider Facebook to be a personal representation of themselves). There are just fewer opportunities to personalize and declare oneself on Tumblr. But then again, as I mentioned earlier, my primary purpose in having a Tumblr account is to free my inner geek.

I also want to clarify that by “less professional” I do not mean that companies and brands are wasting their time on the site. In fact, I feel that Tumblr is a really great way to reach a niche market– whether it be youth in general, or more specific fandoms of certain products and programs. Tumblr is a community in which people are constantly sharing information, even if there isn’t nearly as much direct conversing. It is also a community filled with very opinionated and interested individuals who are purposely seeking information on things that may interest them.

In my opinion, Tumblr is a fun site, but not one that I would ever put on a resume. It’s a place for me to relax and learn more about things that I might enjoy outside of a professional environment. I would love to hear more about other people’s opinions on the site.

Sound off below or respond to the poll. (Note: the last time I tried a poll it failed miserably. Please prove me wrong and restore my faith in both bloggers and polls).

A Professional Student’s Laments

Please forgive the lack of modesty here, but I’m a good student. Or rather, I’m good at being a student.

I breathe ‘A’s and eat compliments for breakfast, lunch and dinner. These things are simply important to me, and thus I’ve taught myself to be the best possible student I can. I’m not trying to say I’m smarter than all of my peers who get ‘B’s and ‘C’s, for I certainly know that is not the case. I am, however, saying that I’ve mastered the skill of studenting (let’s pretend that’s a verb for a bit).

Maybe it’s my PR mentality, but I’ve learned to position each assignment to the professor who has assigned it. I don’t mean this in a manipulative sense, since I never lie, cheat, or steal to get an ‘A.’ I simply observe. I realize that in one class, including a paragraph about politics in an essay would be beneficial, while if I had that same assignment with a different teacher, I might use an example tied in with family. You can learn much about teachers and their values by simply paying attention. I don’t bend my own beliefs when I position my work, I simply highlight what I know they would find most important and appealing.

More than that, I’ve perfected my own personal studying techniques. I know what works for me (writing, and rewriting, and rewriting my notes again), and I put effort into it.

I guess what I’m saying is, it took me long enough, but ever since I’ve entered college I’ve developed into what I can only refer to as a “Professional Student.”

And now it’s time for me to retire.

I graduate this upcoming May, and while I’ve been liberally applying to jobs, I’ve been unsuccessful as of yet. My fear, even if/when I  get a job, is that I simply won’t excel at it. I know how to be a good student. Years of training and practice and I’ve mastered the art. But now I’m being thrown into a whole other shark tank, where a  high GPA  could quite possibly be as meaningless as a bicycle to a fish (I hope everyone enjoys the aquatic theme of that last sentence).

I know many of my peers who, despite being nervous about getting out into the real world, are incredibly relieved to be done with their school careers. I, however, am hesitant. What if I can’t find success in a workplace? What if my best talents are those of being a student? I’m sure some of my skills will transfer, but I’m going to need to learn to play by a whole different set of rules.

While the concept of being  a Professional Student for the rest of my life has crossed my mind (think Buster from Arrested Development, minus the mother complex), I realize that I’ll be broke enough after graduating from my 4-years here to even think about any more schooling for a while. I may go back to graduate school, but I can’t go simply because I want to stay in school. I need to have a reason and a goal. I need to find a specific area of work that I enjoy and, hopefully, excel in. Then I can build on that.

So while I enjoy my last couple months of professional studenting (again, we’re pretending it’s a verb), I look with trepidation upon the future. Is it possible that I can someday drop the ‘student’ and learn to simply be a ‘professional’?

Will Tumblr get Tossed?

My first thought was that Tumblr must be some distant cousin of Flickr. Social media sites ignoring the use of the letter ‘e’ (still looking for a scientific explanation behind that).  This was more than a year ago, when the site was still getting off its feet and riding on the road of uncertainty. Even after its success, it took me a while to hop on board. Finally, I took the plunge, using my Communications major as a justification signing up for yet another social networking platform. It’s been about a month now, and I must self-consciously admit– I’m hooked.

The Tumblr site to me seems like a more visual, less organized Twitter. While your posts don’t need to be fewer than 140 characters, I personally tend to ignore the longer passages. The greatest benefit is the visual aspect– no need to click away to another page to view pictures and, more importantly, gifs. While my experiences on Tumblr are still relatively limited, I’ve found the community to be littered with positively every imaginable gif known to man. Than again, I say ‘littered’ like  bad thing. In fact, Tumblr has brought out in me the absolute geek and fan-fanatic. Unlike my twitter and blog, where I try to maintain a certain level of professional posts and demeanor, Tumblr has quickly become my guilty pleasure. Not that the material is inappropriate, but it certainly is without educational benefits. Instead, my favorite posts (is that even the correct lingo?) include gifs from my numerous favorite television shows.

But enough about me and my utter television/film nerdiness. Back to my initial point in writing this post. During my own use of Tumblr, I couldn’t help but wonder how often the platform was used at a professional level. I have one friend who uses Tumblr for the local publication she writes for– that seems like a reasonable and intelligent use of the site. However, unlike Twitter or Facebook pages for companies and brands, I feel like Tumblr isn’t nearly as professional. Once again, this is simply my opinion on the matter, one I’ve gained from only a limited introduction to Tumblr.

I decided to look into the overall use of Tumblr, and found a some interesting facts. For instance, it was only in early 2010 that Tumblr really hit its stride. Within 6 months, Tumblr doubled its page views. People were starting to catch on to this new fad, with nearly 25,000 people a day signing up for profiles.

I discovered that some of the most popular professional users of Tumblr are mainstream media. Tumblr was another medium through which they could publicize their stories. Everyday bloggers (like myself) also caught on, enjoying the ease the platform provided for posting pictures as well as words.

While the businesses that use Tumblr come from various fields, there remains a high presence of media outlets and personal bloggers. Especially in comparison to the rise of Twitter use among big name corporations (i.e. Fortune 500 companies), Tumblr remains a more personal and  social platform. That’s not to say that a company wouldn’t have any success with the website. I think one of the more endearing factors about Tumblr is the lax environment and community. For this reason, small- and medium-sized organizations are among the first professional groups to turn to Tumblr.

But what about everyone else? What do they, and you, think the benefits of Tumblr are?

One article I found explained Tumblr’s success as such: “Many attribute it to a thrust for the ‘tweener’ social media site – more content than Twitter, less than a full blog… Many use Tumblr as a simple alternative to WordPress, Blogger, or Typepad with quick blogging, reblogging, and feed integration options that allow for faster, more automated methods of running a blog.”

Right now, I’m hooked on the site, but how long will my interest in my own obscure obsessions last? How many Princess Bride or Sherlock (BBC) gifs can one possible watch before wanting more? Overall, I wonder if Tumblr will survive to become the “next big thing.” This, in many ways, will be dependent upon industrial adoption of the platform. Will companies make profit from this website? Can they use it to their advantage? Will it really make a difference with their consumers?

What do you think? Will it last? Do you use Tumblr? What are the benefits? Negatives?

I would love to hear opinions from more ‘experienced’ users.

PR Humor: “The Most Amazing Press Release Ever Written”

How would you like to read the [self-proclaimed] “Most Amazing Press Release Ever Written” ?

Well you’re in luck, because Mitch Delaplane, founder of PitchPoint Public Relations, has seen fit to bequeath upon us this most amazing release.

Delaplane clearly displays his unique approach toward the industry, but putting a twist on the classic release. This tactic is sure to garner much deserved attention for his company. So read on and enjoy, but beware contradicting the release’s title, because, as the press release concludes: “If you disagree, issue your own press release and prepare for war.”

The Most Amazing Press Release Ever Written

PR Professional Distributes Groundbreaking Press Release

CHICAGO, Jan. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – Mitch Delaplane of PitchPoint Public Relations has issued the most amazing press release ever written.  While hundreds of press releases are distributed daily, Delaplane feels this particular release will go down in history as the most amazing press release that has ever been written.

“I’ve been in the business for over ten years and have to say, I’m speechless,” claims Delaplane.  ”The title alone grabs you and demands that it be read.  Then there’s this quote that completely takes things to an entirely new level.  I’m proud of this press release.  In fact, I think it is [really] amazing.”

Typically reserved for company news announcements and other public relations communications, the press release has long been the favored default for informing media about exciting, groundbreaking news.  Then this news release comes along and changes everything people thought they knew about press releases.

“I’m quoting myself again because the first quote didn’t do it justice,” says Delaplane.  ”If you’re still reading this news release, then you know what I’m talking about when I say it’s something special.  In fact, it’s 483 words of pure awesomeness.  When it crosses the wires, I believe history will have been made.”

The science behind this Earth-shattering news release lies in its simplicity – no science, just pure old press release craftsmanship.  It started with an incredible brainstorming session that asked a very simple question: “what makes a press release amazing?”  Elaborate notes from that brainstorm were then formulated into mesmerizing sentences, paragraphs and pages…all expertly designed to make you pause and reflect at the brilliance of this press release.

Every single word of this news release was track changed, stetted, then track changed again to its original draft.  Upon final approval, it was spell checked, fact checked and printed for posterity.  The result is a two-page, 1.5-spaced news release that is like no other news release in existence.

According to PitchPoint Public Relations you have just read the most amazing press release ever written.  If you agree, tell Mitch at mitch@pitchpointpr.com or follow him on Twitter at Lifeisamitch.

If you disagree, issue your own press release and prepare for war.

About PitchPoint Public Relations

PitchPoint Public Relations is a very small public relations company located in Chicago, IL.  It currently consists of Mitch Delaplane, an Apple computer and his bloodhound Sally (no overhead, just great PR).  Mitch has been doing public relations since 1999 and has worked for some of the largest public relations agencies in Chicago and many of their Fortune 500 clients/brands.  While he can do every single facet of public relations, his background is in consumer and sports marketing.  His main interests are helping companies develop creative programs and alternatives to traditional public relations tactics.

SOURCE PitchPoint Public Relations

B is for…Blatant Bias

When it comes to school, I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I never used to be this way until college. And now, alas, it is my curse.

So, when I get a bad grade (keep in mind, a bad grade in my sick little world is anything below an A-), I want to know that I at least deserved it. Instead, I am stuck with a dreaded ‘B’ in a class that I can only begin to describe as the worst college experience of my life. Not only was the teacher inexperienced– something that can be understandable if they at least admit their novice position– but she also clearly wasn’t well versed in the subject at hand. A major part of the class, and an aspect she graded us on, was so beyond her ability that she asked another professor to come in and teach class for a couple of days. Now, call me crazy, but I don’t want this same woman who has already admitted her ineptitude in a field to be grading me on that same field.

Her tendency to play favorites was also beyond obvious. We all have favorites– favorite friends, favorite neighbors, favorite relatives. That’s normal and acceptable. However, it is incredibly unacceptable and unprofessional for a professor to act on this favoritism.

Before I explain this specific situation, let me backtrack a few years and explain why I so hate when teachers blatantly favor one student over another. It was 10th grade, English class. I was loud, talkative, and, I’m willing to admit, a bit annoying. Therefore, my teacher did not like me. Understandable. What was not understandable was my inability to get above an 84 on an essay. I wasn’t the best writer, but I was convinced some of my work was worthy of at least a B+. And yet, like clockwork, my essays came back with the dreaded ’84’ on top. Somewhere half way through the semester I started going to my father for help. Gradually, as my grade refused to change, his corrections became more and more intense. Finally, for one of the last essays of the semester, my father practically wrote my paper. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t approve of parents during their kid’s homework, but this was just ridiculous. And, once again, I got an 84. Now let me explain a few things to you. My father is a pretty smart guy, and I’m not just saying that as his daughter. He’s a partner in a law firm. He went to Yale. And, ironically enough, his was an English major. And yet, according to my teacher, his essay was only worthy of an 84 in a 10th grade English class.

Well, I gave up on that futile fight. As I mentioned, grades were less important to me back then. However, ever since then, I’ve had a special hatred of favoritism by teachers (I think this is a good point to mention that I graduated from High School with the superlative “Teacher’s Pet”– I had learned to play the system, but still didn’t approve of it). Now, this inept professor also showed favoritism as extreme as my 10th grade English teacher. When handing back tests one day, she said to one girl that she was “shocked” and “disappointed.” I myself had gotten a similar grade, but did not receive such a comment. Was she simply not shocked at my having done poorly? Did she expect as much from me? And this was only a couple of weeks into the semester. We had gotten no other grades in the class by which she could judge are scholasticism. Later, she had a conversation with this same girl about how people like “them” had a “hard time” and more was expected of them because of their genius. At this point, I would like to call shenanigans. You see, my teacher was far from a genius. As previously mentioned, she didn’t even understand the subject she was teaching.

She just simply didn’t like me. I got a 100 on an exam and when she handed it back she said, “I looked it over 3 times and couldn’t find anything wrong with it.” She was frowning and I detected a blatant disappointment in her not being able to penalize me in some way. When she handed an exam that got a 90 back to an owner that she clearly preferred over me, she said to them a simple “good job,” with a smile on her face. Can you figure out what’s wrong with this picture? (and I’m not saying a 90 isn’t worthy of a ‘good job’)

I am also 99% sure that I got points taken off an essay because I didn’t have time to send her a copy of my rough draft to look over. Instead, my friend who was doing a different essay and had sent in her rough draft, sent me the corrections on hers so I could gauge the corrections I would have to make on my own. Apparently that wasn’t good enough. So what if I put in hours upon hours of work. It was a damn good essay, but not to her. To be perfectly honest, and I swear this isn’t just some low blow, but I’m pretty sure the reason I got points off (though she would never admit to it) is because I used B-I-G words. Oh. Dear. God. What has this world come to?

So yes, I’m peeved. I got a B, which isn’t horrible, but the fact remains that I got it in a class where no actual learning/teaching was done. All the classes got out a half hour early, and most of them had us “doing group work” when we really didn’t have any “group work” to speak of.

If I get a B, I want to have deserved the B. Instead, I had the misfortune of getting a B from a professor who I am completely unable to respect. Listen, the simple truth of it all is that some people are just naturally great teachers, some people can learn to be great teachers, and then some people have no freaking clue what they’re doing and should get out of the field as soon as possible before they anger another group of students (oh yes, there are multiple students who have expressed similar discontent) and lower their GPA (right before graduation, thanks for that). Can you guess which category my teacher fell in?

And now to enjoy a very merry winter break filled with emails and phone calls as I attempt to repeal my grade and ultimately challenge the authority of this professor. Oh joyous occasions.