Matthew Keys made some interesting points in a live chat on Poynter about the use of Tumblr. He made some useful suggestions about how to get started, and what individuals and news organisations are using Tumblr well (Poynter’s Joe Grimm also offered up this list of 60 innovative Tumblr accounts). It’s worth checking out the entire live chat, but one of the points Keys emphasised that came through to me most was about collaboration:
Independent journos are some of the best users of the Tumblr platform. They’re not afraid to promote content that wasn’t created by them — they don’t feel like they’re in competition with other Tumblr users, they feel like they’re collaborators.
As a reporter for an “old media” organisation, I could not agree more, especially because I share those same characteristics of jealously guarding information and refusing to cite others. On my Twitter feed, it takes an incredible story by the Associated Press or Reuters for me to cite them, though I am a little more willing to give credit to newspapers and other news organisations. Competition brings out the absolute worst in me.
Comment From Prashant: Is there much point in maintaining/updating a Tumblr account if a journalist is already running a WordPress blog and tweeting regularly? Where does Tumblr fit in?Matthew Keys: Prashant: Absolutely. Tumblr is another social community that reaches a different audience than you might usually find on WordPress or Twitter. It is the ultimate social blogging platform.
Comment From Prashant: Matt: I’ve seen lots of people say exactly that — that the community is different, but could you elaborate? Different how?Matthew Keys: Prashant: Most of the people on Tumblr are also on Twitter and Facebook, so that much isn’t different. It’s really how people choose to use Tumblr. Its ease of use for publishing multimedia-rich content gives it a major advantage over other platforms, so Tumblr users tend to publish photos, video, audio, chat convos, etc. Tumblr also give a person a feeling of “ownership” over other people’s content. When you reblog a piece of content found on another blog, you can add in your own two cents. That’s something a retweet can’t always do on Twitter or a “share” can’t always do on Facebook.
To me, my Twitter feed is a personalised wire service, except, unlike the traditional wires, I have to interact with it. I’ve found there is an added benefit to interacting and becoming known for being quick to break news: my followers have become an extra tipping service. I often receive tweets from followers along the lines of ‘have you seen this’ or ‘check their timeline’, and this interaction has proved invaluable, leading to me being first to a number of big stories.