Behold the Power of Tumblr

I’ve been a Tumblr user since summer of 2009. I joined because I wanted a simple, aesthetically pleasing format to utilize to document my experiences as a City Year corps member serving in San Jose/Silicon Valley. In the years since I started using Tumblr, it has seriously blown up.

What once was a medium to parooze tattoo designs and cute pictures of corgis is now a major part of communication plans for major organizations. And you don’t have to be a big name to have an impact. Just today there was an article on Mashable talking about how the photo blog Humans of New York managed to raise $85,000 for Sandy relief in less than 24 hours. Pretty incredible.

In the past few months, the City Year Tumblr followership has grown drastically. We only had a few hundred followers about three months ago and now we are nearing 5,000. I used to rarely post on that – but now that we have such a big following, I’m posting on Tumblr at least 2x per day.

But what has really gotten me interested in Tumblr as of late is my friend Evan, whose Tumblr Becoming Bionic is chronicling his journey as a cancer survivor and his new life as an amputee.

Admittedly, his blog is not for the faint of heart. It’s raw, it’s emotional, and at times – graphic. But it has been truly inspiring for me to be able to take a look inside of his life and I know that he has been able to connect with people who are sharing his experiences as well.

Decided to do a little Q&A with him to talk about why he chose Tumblr and what his experience has been like using the platform:

Q: So, why Tumblr?

I wanted to connect with people while having the freedom to document my experiences as thoroughly as possible in as many formats as possible. Twitter bring people together and is a strong medium when you want to communicate with a large number of people, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say there are “communities” on Twitter. Tumblr borrows Twitter’s ability to reach more people, but it also gives you a diverse array of methods to get your message across and express what you need to.

Q: As someone who has spent a lot of time connecting with others via online forums, what makes Tumblr more advantageous? 

Tumblr strikes me as a hybrid medium, at least when you compare it to Facebook and Twitter. It has a chronological layout, which fits the form of a blog but you can spread that message through the use of tags, which is how I’ve managed to reach out to people quicker than I expected. Honestly, I didn’t really know how effective Tumblr would be in that regard. It sort of surprised me. But I found myself in direct contact with other young amputees and cancer patients within a few days – all thanks to #Cancer accompanying every post. 

Q: Can you share an example of someone who have connected with so far?

I made friends with a girl who’s terminal with Leukemia. She “liked” a couple of my long, winded entries, and I subsequently followed her blog (and her family’s as well… both document her battle with cancer). Her story touched me for obvious reasons, but I wrote to her because of the way she put it out there. She’s open about her struggle and a lot of people are learning from it.

You can check out Evan’s Tumblr here: becomingbionic.tumblr.com

Social media personas I love

So last week I mapped out for you the social media character types that I really can’t stand. As I promised in that post, here is the flip side. These are the types of social media personas that I follow diligently and re-blog and retweet to my heart’s desire.

1) The Sharp Tongue

I’ll be the first to admit that I tend to have an immature sense of humor… those of you who know me best can probably attest to that fact. So naturally, I love bloggers and tweeters who exemplify that immature (and sometimes dirty) sense of humor. I’m also a sucker for celebrity gossip (lame, I know), so when you put those two together, there is a great shot I’m reading your blog. While I do check out Perez Hilton every other day or so to update myself on gossip, I never go a day without reading Dlisted. Michael K is absolutely hilarious. From his “Hot Slut of the Day” feature to his banters about “Mah Boo” Anderson Cooper, he keeps me rolling in laughter all while keeping me up with the Kardashians. Who could ask for more?

There are also quite a few Twitter feeds that I enjoy.

They include: @FakeAPStyleBook, @NotGaryBusey@StellaRTwot@theandyorr and @skittlesbeard

2) The Creative

I love typography, photography and graphic design. Thankfully Tumblr exists to assuage my appetite for creativity. Some of my favorite Tumblr accounts to follow are: I Love Chartsideaboner (Note: a lot of his stuff is NSFW) fuckyeahhelvetica, hellonewyork, The Avid Eater and  Puffin’s Nest.

3) The Activist

As I’ve mentioned about a bagillion times in my blog, I am an AmeriCorps member and I really, really love community service. Lucky for me, there are a lot of other people out there who are just as passionate as I am about national service.

Some of the people I know through City Year that represent this well include: @MichaelMessina, @WStephenAnfield, @RomelAntoine, @Mamawooster, @LauraPeterPants and @MissnoTORIous

4) The (Interesting) Information Sharer

I’m a news junkie. Therefore I love it when people share interesting information with the world. One of my favorite places to get news from is Good.is. I follow them on Twitter and receive an e-mail with one good piece of news a day. I like that it is a blogger and designer community where people can submit work and share, well, good news.

Some other folks that do a good job of sharing info include: @BillKuchman and @Ckanal

What are some of your favorite bloggers, tweeters, photographers or designers? I’m always down to find new addictions to follow…