By Joy Loving, PBS Interactive
Because of its collaborative environment and visual structure, Tumblr has become one of the fastest growing blog platforms in recent years. The Blog Herald is reporting that Tumblr, previously known for its ad-less slate, will add advertising links to its dashboard starting on May 2, 2012. A few questions come to mind: Will its new monetization blur the lines between Tumblr and other ad-inclusive blog platforms such as Blogger and WordPress? Will Tumblr still remain a more personable platform, despite the monetary incentive? How can member stations best utilize Tumblr, given these changes?
Most people don’t start a blog to earn a profit. Rather, blog writing is like having an open-diary to share your thoughts and interests with the world. Tumblr is a great canvas for this. If you notice anything about Tumblr blogs in general, you may see that a majority of them are just shared images, videos and quotes, similar to Pinterest. Tumblr users have the ability to share and repost from other bloggers on the site, making viewership a communal effort.
Station blogs should be designed to capitalize on this sense of community, giving visitors an inside look at their local station. This is a way of encouraging blog readers to tune into station programming, events, and other offerings. If your blog leads to more membership support, that is a plus! Using a blog host such as Tumblr is a creative and sure-fire way for your local station to intrigue readers.
Tumblr gives bloggers a chance to create a space without necessarily defining a “niche”. The posts usually found on Tumblr show that the bloggers are "human”. They aren't making posts to overtly sell you a product or promote an event - these bloggers make posts to give you a glimpse into their personal worlds. For stations, using a blog like this could give you an edge over more formulaic broadcasting blogs.
KLRU and Mountain Lake PBS both have intriguing Tumblr pages full of engaging images. Does your local station have a Tumblr blog? Share it with us! Please leave all comments in the section provided.
**This post was updated on 14 May 2012.