Tumblr is ideal for spur-of-the-moment news projects

Tumblrs are showing up all over the news these days. From Politico to Pro Publica, The New Yorker and Newsweek – it’s become a popular platform for collecting links, images, quotes – pretty much whatever journalists find interesting that they can’t get into their regular stories and posts.

In experimenting with Tumblr for various possible future TBD projects, I’ve been astounded at how easy it is to kick off a theme blog. Aside from the 30 seconds or so it takes to set one up, if you have an idea in mind, you can populate it really quickly. Case in point: My coworker Jeff Sonderman said on Twitter Tuesday morning that he wished there were a Tumblr for holiday clichés. Within minutes, I had one set up and populated. It is now owning my life.

Tumblr says it is adding 25,000 new accounts daily, and each month it serves up 1.5 billion page views. Beyond the on-site following, Tumblr is effective for sharing short bursts of content across the web via social media.

Mark Coatney, who got Newsweek onto Tumblr (and now is employed by Tumblr), calls it “a space in between Twitter and Facebook.”

“People are creating identities and personalities that Facebook and Twitter are not designed to allow you to do,” he said.

And he’s right – you can be more conversational, collect and curate information like you would on Twitter, but the “fan” and following relationship is similar to that of Facebook.

So you want to get into Tumblr

There’s a lot of advice out there on Tumblr for news organizations, so I won’t repeat it.

The Atlantic offers “Five Keys to Tumblr for Media Outlets“, outlining the best parts of the tool for media orgs.

Buzz Feed offers an epic collection of new Tumblrs for 2010, including a personal fave: Awkward Stock Photos. Mashable collects news media Tumblrs to follow.

Cory Bergman writes at Lost Remote that media might want to get into the space, but should be aware of the work involved in upkeep. “If you’re not going to keep it updated (or you’re going to abandon more critical efforts, like Facebook) — then perhaps just reserving a Tumblr name and letting it sit until you can give it the attention it deserves may be the more prudent approach.”

And in an oh-so-meta fashion. there’s a Tumblr outlining rules for using Tumblr aimed at “old and new media”.

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