Tumblr: The New Frontier of Advertising?

When you hear the words ‘social networking’ images of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest will most likely flash through your mind.

But have you ever heard of tumblr? If you haven’t, it’s because tumblr thrives on an almost underground vibe, where users can post original content or reblog posts they relate to.  If you have then you are most likely a tumblr user, who prides themselves on the individualized, and therefore authentic, blogging experience. As a precursor to Pinterest, tumblr pioneered the use #’s and reblogging as a way to drive traffic to blogs.

While Twitter and tumblr are very similar -in the sense that you can follow other users and use #’s – tumblr attracts a different kind of blogger. These bloggers are generally highly creative, or artistic and do not hesitate to post their own artwork or current thoughts about the world around them. There is almost a prestige to tumblr that is not present on other social media platforms, which is generated by the genuine self-reflexivity of its users.

With this said, you may think that the presence of advertisements are minimal on tumblr, due to it’s user generated content. In fact, most tumblr users falsely believed the same thing not too long ago. While advertisements aren’t quite as visible as they are on other platforms (i.e. Facebook and Twitter), they are still very present and becoming a more popular way to reach new audiences. Companies are allowed to make as many tumblr accounts as they wish. This leads to the repeated reblogging of their product’s photos, consequently inundating user’s dashboards to promote their brand.

Users have begun to feel cheated or taken advantage of by the advertisements that target them on tumblr. The belief that this platform was an untapped and authentic society diminishes daily with the growing presence of advertisements. The question is now: will users accept the fact that advertisements are present on every media platform or will they find a way to keep tumblr the way it has always been, advertisement free?

– Ally WaltonLauren HabigErin KiffmeyerHannah EureGene Lee