Public Relations Tactics

Tumbling and posturing through the statusphere

September 23, 2010

More than 4 billion images are hosted on Flickr, 24 hours of  YouTube video are uploaded every minute and 25 billion pieces of content (links, blogs, photos, etc.) are shared on Facebook each month according to data assembled by Espresso, a Toronto-based integrated marketing agency.

That’s an enormous amount of information traversing the Web — and it’s growing exponentially. Blogs built on platforms like Wordpress and microblogging tools (including Twitter) help generate a good share of this traffic. But a simpler, more flexible style of blogging — sometimes referred to as tumblelogging — has also emerged as a viable publishing option.

Tumblr and Posterous are two of the most popular alternatives to long-form blogging, according to TechCrunch, which cites 23 million unique monthly visitors for Tumblr and 5.3 million for the younger Posterous based on Quantcast data.  These sites are appealing because of their accessibility and purpose-built features. In addition, they’re hosted for free.

Mobile device integration fuels Tumblr and Posterous use. iPhone and smartphone applications offer a real-time method for creating and sharing content.  A frequent stream of short, mixed-media posts is a common characteristic of tumblelogging, which warrants consideration by communicators managing a consistent flow of content.

Both Tumblr and Posterous allow for easy posting, tagging, searching, subscribing, commenting and a fair level of page design via templates or configuration. Nearly all capabilities are available within the sites themselves, rather than requiring plug-ins or code hacking.

Users can click a bookmarklet button whenever they see something online that they want to include in their status stream, and  can also create original posts. Posterous users can e-mail text, audio, video, images and documents and the system will create posts with these elements automatically formatted.

Settings in both systems let users push posts to sites like Twitter and Facebook as desired, and also integrate Google Maps and location status.

Steve Rubel, Edelman Digital’s senior vice president and director of insights, has been a Posterous power user for over a year. Rubel transitioned from long-form blogging to the statusphere, as he and others have called it, and refers to Posterous as the ideal front end for active publishers. He delivers a hybrid mix of videos, images and tweet-length thoughts. He can also post the technology essays for which he has earned acclaim as a blogger and columnist.

Communicators should consider simplified blogging platforms as more affordable, flexible and immediate means of connecting with their audiences. Potential uses include:

  • Lifestream aggregation — Originate all of a client’s or brand’s content and updates from one central stream for followers interested in everything, while syndicating select posts elsewhere.
  • Event and topic blogging — Create a blog supporting a specific industry event or campaign, and consider this format for busy executives who want to engage an audience while on the go.
  • Crowdsourcing portals — Use a simplified blog structure to request and receive ideas from a fan base or customers.
  • Real-time newsrooms — Experiment inexpensively with online newsrooms. While sites such as Wordpress may be the better content management option, tumblelogging lets you explore your options.
Ryan Zuk, APR
Ryan Zuk, APR, is a media and analyst relations professional, Phoenix PRSA Chapter member and Sage North America representative. Zuk can be reached @ryanzuk on Twitter. He also blogs at
Email: ryanzuk at gmail dot com


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