Is Tumblr for ya?

So we were in a client meeting last week discussing our social media proposal which focused mainly on Facebook and he said, “Did you see where Facebook is losing traction among teens, I just want to make sure we’re keeping an eye on what’s next.”

Then I read this article in The New York Times touting the sort of microblog Tumblr as Facebook and Twitter’s New Rival. The article points out that media companies and outlets like Newsweek and The Today Show are using Tumblr because of its ability in manner more “rich” than the other more famous platforms.  The thought here that might excite the younger set who are frustrated by the mainstreaming of Facebook and Twitter and the limitations both have in truly sharing rich media.

So what does a PR/social media guy do next?  He signs up for Tumblr.

My usual experience for new platforms is that I sign up, play with them for five minutes, get frustrated and dump them quickly only to come back to them later when others validate them (see Google Buzz…not).   Not so yet with Tumblr.

The platform is a “major mash” of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogging with elements of Flipboard (the new hot iPad APP) sprinkled in.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Once you set up your page you can customize the background and info similar to Twitter.
  • You can post just about anything in a more rich way.  For example, photos are BIG as are videos, you can do full blog posts or random thoughts similar to Tweets.  You can link to anything and bring in your own feeds.
  • Just as with Facebook and Twitter you can follow people or outlets that are searchable through categories.  Once you follow them, their posts will populate your dashboard.  They can also follow you and you are notified of that follow by email.
  • You can “reblog” their posts as a way to show your interest in a manner similar to a retweet.  This of course will help people find each other as common courtesy usually has a follow following a reblog.

Since I’m just starting on Tumblr I’m likely missing about 90 percent of its capabilities.  So I’d love some direction from fellow “Tumblrs” who can steer me in the right direction.

The question over time is whether we can fit a third (or more) social media platform into our daily social media routine.  Tumblr does allow for easy cross-pollination between itself Facebook and Twitter although I hate overdoing that.

But my initial feedback is positive and I will continue my Tumblr experiment and report back soon.

What’s your feedback?

Jon’s 1.5 added to

A quick note to announce that this blog is now available on the PR feed of at is a great aggregator of websites and blogs that is easily searchable by topic.  So if you want to see top blogs for different subjects it’s the place to go.

I’m pleased to join others like former colleague and Richmond-area PR pro Steve Mullen whose blog as been listed on Alltop for a while now.

For more information about, its goals and founders, please click here.

Thanks to Guy Kawasaki and the folks at Alltop for including me.

Blogger vs. Journalist

Thanks to all the folks (all two of them :)) who have inquired about my blog and why I haven’t posted for a while.  Just needed a bit of a mental health break to recharge the batteries and get myself going again.

I have been debating the subject of my “return” post and then stumbled on this article from today.

In a nutshell it uses Technorati’s regular “state of the blogosphere” survey to unearth the latest stats on bloggers, who they are, how much they earn, etc.  All to try the answer the question that we at THP and others in the PR industry are constantly struggling with, “What is the difference between a blogger and a journalist?”

So many people may say, why should I care?  For a PR pro there are many reasons:

– What are the rules of engagement?  Bloggers want to be pitched and treated like journalists no matter what their sphere of influence is.  Do they deserve that right?

– Bloggers can say pretty much whatever they want to say without the normal journalistic “check and balance.”  Who is holding them accountable?

– In some cases, the old media “pay to play” trick (you pay and we will mention or give a favorable review to your client/product) is being used by bloggers.  Is this a good thing?

In the article Kit Eaton takes a swipe at trying to make a distinction between bloggers as those who write online in a self-absorbed manner and about minutiae, and an online journalist as someone who acts more…like…well…a journalist.

As a PR pro my experience with that so far is, if only were it that easy for us to tell the difference.  In many cases, some of those who fall into the category of bloggers as described by Eaton want to be considered in the same breath as say well-known bloggers like environmental blogger/journalist Andy Revkin of the New York Times’ Dot Earth.   Believe me it happens.  I live this new-found reality as a PR person every day.

I wish the line could be drawn that clearly.  Until then we will all struggle with this vague world of online journalism that is still learning to police itself.  It has better do that, before the government (FTC, Supreme Court) feel compelled to step in.


Seek and ye shall find

I'll keep things brief tonight because of the holiday.

One of my goals in starting this blog is that it would force me to "engage."  My Facebook and Twitter activity has skyrocketed and I'm finding lot's of folks out there and many points of view.

Another instant fav of mine is Amber Naslund of Altitude Branding.  Here's her blog.

Amber validates many of my thoughts about the future.  You can use your existing skills and apply them to the "new media" outlets.

In order to do those though you have to get out there and get involved or as one of my TV gurus, Jean Luc Picard, always said to the Enterprise crew, "Engage."

Seth Godin is my hero

As I head down this path and make the transition from the old to new world, I realize that there are a lot of people that I can learn from.  The reason I know this, there seem to be about a zillion people out there who claim their "guruness" in the worlds of viral and social marketing.  My problem, and the problem for countless of others like me trying to navigate those waters, is finding who has it figured out and who is just trying to make a quick buck.

Of those who have a good reputation and who have been at it for a long time, Seth Godin "gets" what irks me the most, and explains things in a way that even I can understand.  His latest post on viral marketing really gets to some of the issues that make me cringe when one of my ad agency friends talks about "that coooool video we made" that got tons of views on Youtube.

The bottom line is, is that video marketing?  Or is it the modern day equivalent of throwing a message in a bottle into the ocean and hoping that someone (anyone) finds it?

I have subscribed to Seth's blog (as have about a zillion other people) and recommend that you do to.

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