Marissa Mayer promises not to screw it up. The Yahoo! chief has just paid over $1bn for Tumblr so she’s probably entitled to do what she likes with it.
While there are said to be 110 million bloggers using Tumblr, there are many among that number who haven’t quite worked out how to use it to its full potential and have given up. And that includes many in the news media.
Here are four who have, are using it well and haven’t screwed it up so far.
1. Financial Times | financialtimes.tumblr.com
The FT popped its head above the paywall to mark its 125th anniversary earlier this year. And it used Tumblr to do it. It was a smart move, smartly executed. Its Tumblr blog features memories from former staffers, key covers from history, old photos from the newsroom and lots of nice things said about it from lots of famous people (Barack Obama and, er, Gwyneth Paltrow included).
2. The Economist | theeconomist.tumblr.com
The tagline under most entries on The Economist Tumblr site is “Tomorrow’s cover today” which is a nice, if hardly new, idea. Over and above that, the magazine posts quotes, charts, videos and cartoons. It also features early sketches for cover ideas, such as one for the recent “Send in the Clowns” cover, apparently scrawled by the editor.
3. The Times | timesopinion.tumblr.com
Like the FT’s 125 site, Times Opinion represents a rare appearance on the other side of the paywall for the Thunderer. It provides a forum for op-ed/blog posts from the likes of Oliver Kamm and Daniel Finkelstein (well, mostly Kamm). It perhaps lacks the variety of Comment Central, Finkelstein’s blog that effectively bit the dust when the thetimes.co.uk went paid-for in 2010, but it does more than a fair job of jumping on to the news agenda with interesting things to say. Tuesday’s personal tribute to the paper’s own foreign editor, Richard Beeston, is a good example of how the paper uses Tumblr.
4. New Statesman | newstatesman.tumblr.com
I should declare an interest as a former Staggers employee. But I should also say the Tumblr blog had nothing to do with me. Like The Economist, the New Statesman plays to the strength of the medium. That means covers, cartoons and lots of the big images. The NS prides itself on the photography it uses in the magazine and this is a good showcase for it.
Jon Bernstein is a freelance digital media consultant. You can read his personal blog here.