If your attention span is too short to blog, but you’re turned off by Twitter’s boring lack of pictures, Tumblr has emerged as the Internet’s most important self-publishing platform for self-important people.
Just yesterday the NY Times did a real buzzy piece on just how important Tumblr actually is (John Mayer is on here now - important). It was a pretty nice stratnalysis, except for the part where they called SoupSoup the ‘King of Tumblr’. He’s a cool bro, but I think we can all agree that I am Tumblr’s one true king (correct it, NY Times).
Anyway, if you haven’t already gotten the hint: You need to get Tumblring. So here are 10 tips to help you put together a real tight Tumblr strat.
1. On Tumblr people are not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their content. This ain’t LinkedIn, and around here your personal brand is only as sticky as the cool/funny stuff you find on the Internet and then put into the stream. But remember: the early bird gets the meme reblogs, so if you want to drive lots of likes, you’d better be jacking buzz by 6am EST.
2. So what kind of content works on Tumblr? People love to like: Viral Vimeos with Zach Galifianakis, things/stuff hipsters love/hate, random photographs or screenshots of things we forgot about from the ’80s or ’90s, pop culture-related infographics, animal pictures, pithy little passive-aggressive rants about anonymous people who pissed you off, artsy shit, CollegeHumors, songs everybody obviously likes, design/font porn and the phrase “Fuck Yeah” placed before everything.
3. Giving credit is for losers. If you’re sitting on a hot piece of viral gold-meme, don’t even bother checking to see if it’s already been posted on BuzzFeed/Videogum/The Daily What/Urlesque/FFFFound!/Gawker/Vulture/EPIC Ponyz/et al. Just go ahead and post it like you made it yourself. Maybe no one else will notice and you’ll get a bajillion reblogs.
4. Post Gratuitous Pictures of Yourself. Finally, a place for you to put every single grainy iPhone photo of yourself taken at some AMAZING media event or karaoke night or just sitting in your bedroom illuminated by the lonely glow of your laptop screen. Posting cool/flattering photos of yourself is super-important, because it visually reinforces the personal brand you’re trying to cultivate with your content. Tumblr has even created GPOYW (Gratuitous Picture of Yourself Wednesday), an entire day every week in which everyone is encouraged to post pics of themselves without the shame of seeming narcissistic (thanks to the ingenious move of ironically acknowledging its gratuitousness).
Let’s go about this systematically: Rudeboy7969, please stop following us. Among other things, you’re not a chick.
YM are now attempting to get people to unfollow them by
noting the more unflattering facets of said followers Tumblrsbeing assholes.
On days when I look at my Tumblr feed, and think, fuck, I hate all of these people, there’s always YM to cheer me up. I will not stop following you. Talk all the motherfucking shit you want. And then go listen to some Minor Threat or some shit.
Tina Fey’s twitter <3 (via sylvysparrow)
or as Chuck Klosterman said: “You used to be able to tell the difference between hipsters and homeless people. Now, it’s between hipsters and retards. I mean, either that guy in the corner in orange safety pants holding a protest sign and wearing a top hat is mentally disabled or he is the coolest fucking guy you will ever know.”
- The Contrarian: I know I’m going to get flamed, but -
- The Cheerleader: OMG, [Starred Commenter], you are the bestest of the bests!!!11!
- The Echo Chamber: ZOMG, gr8 shoes!
- The Size Stater: As a size 8 and a 34D who weighs 120 pounds, this contributes to the patriarchy because of ______
- The “I Don’t See It!”: You guys are overreacting. I insinuate this to make me look cooler/more guy friendly on Gawker.
“We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime. It’s easy. The first girl I ever loved was someone I knew in sixth grade. Her name was Missy; we talked about horses. The last girl I love will be someone I haven’t even met yet, probably. They all count. But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. These are the most important people in your life, and you’ll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years. But there’s still one more tier to all this; there is always one person you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it always happens eventually. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of those lovable qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable. You will remember having conversations with this person that never actually happened. You will recall sexual trysts with this person that never technically occurred. This is because the individual who embodies your personal definition of love does not really exist. The person is real, and the feelings are real—but you create the context. And context is everything. The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, and they’re often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else.”
(Chuck Klosterman, Killing Yourself to Live)
The main thing people were unsure about last night at the 90s panel was whether they were remembering things wrong. Everyone seemed motivated by this sense that we probably are glorifying the 90s a little, maybe a lot, and we should sort out what’s what. I think that is what it was built to address, anyway— Mark Greif, the moderator, very clearly wanted the more nostalgic of his panelists to snap out of their fantasies and realize the 90s were actually awful.
One person who really wasn’t down with that was Aaron Lake Smith, who I think is my age (24) or maybe a year older. That guy, who was in 10th grade in 1999, loved the 90s and as far as he’s concerned it’s been downhill ever sense. When Mark Greif said the 90s totally sucked, and kind of jokingly offered by way of support that there had been no good bands after Pavement, ALS said he was dead wrong, that there had been tons of good bands.
It makes sense that ALS was the panelist most nostalgic for the 90s, because he was the youngest by a couple years, and was obviously there because he could bring the perspective of someone who was a baby when Nevermind came out. He said something at one point about how the “national conversation” had deteriorated in recent years— that back in the 90s we used to talk about inequality, and now we just talk about… torture. He fore flannel and defensively insisited when this was remarked upon that he always wore clothes like that, that it wasn’t some ironic costume.
Two facts I learned about ALS: he edits and distributes his own print zine, and used to go to a lot of protests except doesn’t anymore because the institutions he once threw rocks at, like the World Bank, are these days crumbling under their own weight. Another fact: he just joined Facebook the other day, reluctantly. He expressed great distaste for the idea that a political protest could be organized via Facebook, and said with thick sarcasm that maybe he should get into Tumblr. That would be lame, was his point.
All of which makes me confident that what ALS is really nostalgic for are the days when we were all less free— when it was harder to do, be, and say whatever we wanted than it is now. Being different, and finding people who were different in ways we found interesting or sympathetic, required more work— and more conspicuous work— back when there wasn’t an internet. Back then you had to spend money on printing a zine and time on giving it out at basement shows. Now that he can just blog and build an audience online without ever leaving his room ALS isn’t as into it. What he was saying but not saying: do-it-yourself used to mean something, and now it doesn’t, because everyone does everything themselves. Where’s the fun in that?
Basically what ALS is sad about is that being a non-conformist doesn’t look as cool anymore now that we’re all just on our computers. I think at one point he told a story about the guy from Fugazi, and how back in the day he used to be able to just come up to a skinhead chick and start talking to her. Nowadays, ALS said, everyone just wears hipster uniforms, and it’s impossible to tell who you’re gonna see eye to eye with and who just bought their shit at American Apparel and Urban Outfitters.
At the end of the panel ALS got told, in an “oh snap” kind of moment, to stop pretending he was living in the 90s. Which, OK, I guess he should stop doing that, but he should also think about whether he really likes having a zine and if so, why.