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).

Communicating with the generations.

During a daily trolling of the PR/Media blogs, I came across this interesting little cheat sheet from Ragan’s PR Daily. Titled How to communicate to different generations, it gives a brief synopsis of what a variety of age groups best react to in messages from companies. Connect to the article here for more information, but here’s a brief run-down and some parts I found most interesting:

Age Group: Oldest generation (WWII generation),

communication preferences include:

  • Concise summary, sometimes known as the ‘Reader’s Digest approach’
  • Highly specific
  • Linear and sequential presentation of the information
  • Greater emphasis on formality

Age Group: Baby Boomers,

communication preferences include:

  • Experience that allows individuals to share own views/experiences
  • Democratic approach
  • Sense of equality and fairness is ‘critical’

Age Group: Gen Xers,

communication preferences include:

  • Hands-of approach
  • Visuals and graphics, with minimual text
  • Perceived sense of expertise from messenger
  • Relevance
  • Use of technology
  • Feedback and affirmation without strict intructions

Age Group: Gen Yers,

communication preferences include:

  • Collaborative learning setting
  • MOST visual (i.e. demonstrations) and technologically adept
  • Want to know exact expectations
  • “Active” learners

It’s interesting to see how differently each generation will react to a message. It certainly makes one pause and wonder how each individual interprets a single message– such as an advertisement or even a blog post. Since I assume that the majority of bloggers are of the younger generation, I guess I should start using more visuals. But, according to Gen Xers, I better make sure those visuals are RELEVANT.

So what do you think about this little guide to generational communication? What most surprised you?