Tumblr is the Next Great Social Network – Steve Rubel

mickyates ideas, Innovation, Social Networks, Technology Leave a Comment

Steve Rubel Steve Rubel is EVP/Global Strategy and Insights for Edelman – the world’s largest independent public relations firm. In this role, Rubel studies the future of media and works across the firm’s practices and geographies to help clients unify their communications strategies across traditional, “tradigital,” owned and social channels. In addition he actively shares his observations and insights through his blog, his monthly Advertising Age column, and on Twitter.

Here’s a recent post that caught my attention, not least as I have just started (belatedly?) using Tumblr.

“Brent Simmons sees a natural evolution for blogs…

“New blogging systems like Posterous and Tumblr seem to be pretty popular, and they fill a nice middle ground: short content, easy sharing, social stuff. They’re cool.

But try to imagine replacing Daring Fireball, Scripting News, Apple Outsider, Shawn Blanc, or any of a number of great blogs with something like Twitter. You can’t. You’d have to invent blogs so that these writers have somewhere to write.”

Brent is right. Blogging, once again, is evolving. But he’s a bit off in portraying Tumblr this way.

Tumblr, to me at least, isn’t a blog platform but something new entirely – a social network for both original and curated content that is longer than a tweet and often more visual in nature. It’s a hybrid.

This nuance is lost in the news that Tumblr now has more blogs than WordPress.com.

Consider this: over breakfast last week Mark Coatney from Tumblr shared with me that most of the platform’s billions of page views take place inside the dashboard rather than on the individual domains. That means that Tumblr is less like WordPress and more like Twitter or Facebook – a social network for content rather than a blogging platform.

A huge part of Tumblr’s appeal is its community. Like Twitter and Facebook you don’t have to attract an audience, you just need to get them to subscribe. And while RSS is baked in, subscriptions are disguised simply as follows on Tumblr, making it all the more simple.

The more people start using Tumblr Dashboard as an aggregator, the more they create, share, comment and reblog. The network effect takes over and the platform grows.

When you add in the fact that the media is increasingly using Tumblr, you have an engine in place that can drive additional growth.

All the forces are in place, to me at least, to propel Tumblr as the next big hub. However, it’s not blogging that will do it but – like Twitter and Facebook before it – the community that’s driving the network effect and its meteoric growth.

Here’s the original post – on tumblr of course!