Tumble into a world of updates

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There are plenty of reasons to blog. Almost as many reasons, in fact, as there are not to blog. Like, maybe time isn’t on your side. After all, you’re the type of person who refuses to sacrifice quality for the sake of an update, right? R..Right?

Luckily, falling somewhere between blogging and buzzword-become-practical-obsession Twitter lies Tumblr. Think of Tumblr as baby steps into the world of blogging. Except, unlike actual baby steps, Tumblr has the built-in potential to be witnessed and shared by thousands upon thousands of users. And unlike actual baby steps, the follow-up action doesn’t involve scotchguarding the house. I’m going to drop the baby analogy now.

Tumblr gives users the best of both worlds. You can provide original content (ala blogging). And you can customize your Tumblr (albeit to a limited extent). But that’s really not necessary. Yet Tumblr’s unique interface allows it to be instantly shared by a multitude of users (ala Twitter). That’s important because with Tumblr, sharing is the name of the game. And share the users do — things like videos, photos, music and buzz-worthy items.

Here are a few of my favorite Tumblrs as examples:

Letterheady
From the Internet people who brought you the fantastic blog Letters of Note comes Letterheady, a regularly updated collection of unique/tacky/well-designed/grotesque/interesting letterheads from businesses and organizations from all walks of modern design history.

My Parents Were Awesome
Simple concept: 1.) Followers submit old photos of their parents and 2.) The guy who runs the site publishes them for all to see. Retro photos of parents are scientifically proven to be 140% cooler than modern photos. Scour the site for “Tim & Cathy” if you want to see my folks. Or just click this link.

Clients From Hell
Outlet for passive-aggressive creative types who simply can’t cope with their markedly non-creative client counterparts. Ed.Note: BBR Creative has never once submitted an entry to this blog. (Winky-face emoticon. [But seriously, we haven’t.])

You’ll note that each of these Tumblrs could just as easily function as a blog or website all its own. But Tumblr’s unique structure ensures that each update has the potential to go viral with a single click. Here’s how it works:

• Once I sign up for a (free) Tumblr account, I get a unique URL and a dashboard page. Then I begin exploring.

• Let’s say I discover My Parents Were Awesome first. I like what I see, so I click “Follow.” Now, each time I visit my Tumblr dashboard page, I see all updates from that user, along with other users I may be following.

• When I spot an update I think is cool, I have the option to “Reblog” it. That means users who are following me get to see the cool update too. Reblogs automatically contain attribution for the original poster. This is how word spreads about other Tumblrs.

• Repeat this process, ad nauseam, until the end of time (i.e., the year 2012).

Can Tumblr work for your business or organization? It’s possible. By sharing things you love, you’re telling your followers more about yourself — and that goes a long way toward building brand character. But Tumblr is worth investigating if only for a lesson in how things go viral. And each day, my dashboard is cluttered, quite beautifully, with material well worth sharing.

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