A screen shot of Tumblr’s website.
Lauren Kasman is no stranger to blogging. Over the past eight years, she’s been typing away in her room and jotting down her thoughts for friends to read. When she moved to Washington, D.C., for college, she wanted to connect with others outside of her social circle.
“I felt like no one was listening. And with a blog the whole point is to have someone on the other end,” she says. “Otherwise, you know, it’s like placing a phone call to no one.”
Kasman’s frustration grew. She couldn’t quite figure out how to connect with others. Then, her friends told her about Tumblr.
She created an account on Tumblr, or what’s called a tumblog, in this case. Within a day, she had 10 followers — people who have linked to her blog and are reading what she writes.
Users can post text, images, videos, audio, quotes from a story or famous person, and links to other websites by clicking clearly visible buttons on the top of the main screen.
Tumblr’s Growth: At A Glance
Tumblr, founded in 2007, has a fairly small workforce of 33 employees. But its traffic and usage have accelerated, with 20.8 million total blogs at last count. Here are key measures of the company’s growth:
May 2009: 1 million
May 2010: 3.6 million
June 2011: 9.2 million
May 2009: 100 million
June 2010: 1.6 billion
June 2011: 7.6 billion
May 2009: 4 million
June 2010: 37 million
June 2011: 85 million
Total Blog Posts:
August 2010: 1 billion
June 2011: 6.5 billion
In January, the 4-year-old site had more than 7 million individual blogs. In the past six months, the number has nearly tripled. Tumblr now has about the same number of bloggers as Wordpress, a blogging site that has been around for eight years.
Mark Coatney, who works at Tumblr, equates using Tumblr to a daily activity many of us know pretty well.
“It’s more almost like, you know, an email experience in a way,” he says. “You’ll dash off an email or do a tweet or something like that because it’s quick and easy, so it’s kind of taking that thinking and applying it to blogging.”
“It kind of speaks to what I think is a new and emerging thing in journalism, which is kind of talking to your audience on a peer-to-peer level,” Coatney says, “as opposed to the broadcast model where you put it out and people consume it.”