There’s nothing quite like Social Media Week. With hundreds of free events taking place simultaneously in cities worldwide, it’s an inclusive global-and-local gathering that lets agencies, experts, non-profits, brands and individuals share ideas and find inspiration in each other’s work.
Washington, D.C. was one of the 10 host cities during February 2013, and Porter Novelli partnered with Tumblr to lead a session on social storytelling. It’s a topic close to our hearts, whether we are creating publishing platforms for global brands to tell their stories, or helping non-profits find their voice in social networks.
Social storytelling is core to what Tumblr does, too. In a wide-ranging Q+A with me, Media Director Mark Coatney said that while Tumblr is generally thought of as an easy-to-use blogging platform, its real power comes from the communities that spring up within it. These evolve when people feel they are connecting and interacting with an authentic voice.
With 80 million blogs, more than 160 million users worldwide and a committed young audience (average age: 24, core user: 17), Tumblr has a distinctive position in the social landscape that emphasizes engagement and authenticity, qualities these Millennials value. Succeeding on Tumblr involves commitment and an understanding of the visual lexicon this audience expects: infographics, images and animated .gifs.
Coatney called out a few examples of successful approaches. He liked the Obama campaign’s Tumblr for its playful tone and use of personal, behind-the-scenes photos that could be out of place on a more ‘official’ channel. Non-profits in the health space are using their feeds to educate and answer questions from their followers. Meanwhile the New York Times’ photo archive on Tumblr has attracted a loyal audience through the single-minded purpose of sharing thought-provoking images from the Grey Lady’s vast library. This approach showcases Tumblr’s ability to serve as an interactive gallery, something Beyoncé has also mastered. And the U.S. National Archives, whose Tumblr team sat in the audience, was praised for having a clear sense of purpose by publishing a different historic document every day.
The next Social Media Week takes place in September 2013 with participating cities still to be announced. Hope to see you there.