Unleashing the Creative Expression of 100 Million People

An interview with Derek Gofffrid and Danielle Strle of Tumblr about the unique experience behind Tumblr and its 100 Million users. 

Derek Gottfried and Danielle Strle at Big Boulder

What is Tumblr?

Tumblr is not a social network.

Derek Gottfrid explains that Tumblr is about the content, not relationships and relationship-building. Hence Tumblr is a media network — with a focus on content propelled by user passion for that media.

When broken down the Tumblr platform fills two roles around sharing media: for users to consume and to share. A Tumblr is a channel for a user to post, create and share to the world in an unlimited way. Second, the dashboard is an incredible media consumption tool.

What Makes Tumblr Special?

It is the diverse formats to share the different types of content (photo, video, text, links, quotes, chats, audio) available in one place. With 7 post types, it’s easier to take part in the community because sharing doesn’t mean having to fill a big white text box. Users can select to share photos, videos, quotes or even reblog content. It removes the intimidation many users find in long-form text blogging.

When it comes to the incredibly viral nature of posts on Tumblr, it’s no question their most unique and valuable asset is the reblog.

Derek explains reblogs as a unique, nuanced feature of the platform that encourage users to adopt content as their own. He adds quickly that a reblog is much like clothing. You could make your own clothes, or you could go buy and wear it. Either way, you make it your own when you put it on.

To fully understand the impact of the reblog feature, consider this — 85 to 90% of posts a day on Tumblr are reblogs. The Tumblr team has seen single posts be reblogged 10,000, even 100,000 times in one day.

How Are Brands Utilizing Tumblr?

As advertising and brands on Tumblr celebrate their one-year anniversary, Derek is quick to note that the development of Tumblr was not motivated by creating a space for brands. Instead, the Tumblr team, has taken time and care to figure out the best way brands can contribute to user’s content stream. Successful brands are utilizing the tools available on Tumblr to tell robust stories. The result is brand content that is a thoughtful, mindful addition to the stream of users, which can be adopted by users as their own content.

What Are The Untapped Opportunities Available With Tumblr Data?

There is a huge volume of data provided by Tumblr, yet analytics and understanding of much of it remains unexplored. As Derek explains, the next level deep dive (analytics) on Tumblr is a huge opportunity. To explore and understand the power of reblogs, specifically how they travel through the userbase. Another untapped opportunity is tools to understand the massive volume of data going through the system.

Big Boulder is the world’s first social data conference. Follow along at #BigBoulder, on the blog under Big BoulderBig Boulder on Storify and on Gnip’s Facebook page.