Attracting young audiences to the Arts using Tumblr
In the Arts world attracting teenagers and young adults can be an extremely difficult strategy to fulfill. Many organisations including museums and art galleries are beginning to use tumblr social network to spread the word.
Although only a year younger than the ubiquitous Twitter, blogging platform Tumblr is less well-known – unless you’re a teenager. Its highly-visual format and the ease with which it allows users to share content have seen it attract a rapidly growing user base, particularly among a younger audience, and it is now starting to make an impact in the arts.
There are over 140 million Tumblr sites, with more than 103 million posts every day. For the uninitiated, Tumblr is a cross between a blog and a social network. You choose other Tumblr blogs to follow, and content from those blogs appears in a stream, in a very similar way to social networks like Facebook or Instagram. Users post photos, videos and text updates to their Tumblrs, and other users can like, comment on or “reblog” the content – the latter being similar to a retweet on Twitter, and a fundamental feature of Tumblr. As with Twitter, hashtags are used extensively to tag content.
Its popularity with a younger audience comes down to the highly visual nature of most Tumblr content – particularly photos and animated GIFs – together with its simple functionality and the speed at which material can be posted and (crucially) shared. It has also invested heavily in creating dedicated mobile apps to make it easy to post from anywhere.
Adrian Murphy, the museum’s digital media manager, explained “Tumblr seemed like the right platform for unique, interesting mainly photographic content,” he says. “On a practical level, Tumblr is very easy to update, since it can be done on the phone via the mobile app. This means that it was relatively straightforward for the team to take a photo, add a description and upload it without too much additional work. Using a shared login also means that multiple people can feed into the same Tumblr blog.” The museum has seen high engagement on the blog and although it is early days, Adrian says they are pleased with the reaction to it.
Like any blog or social network account, it’s important that Tumblr is used as part of a digital strategy, also it requires regular updating and commitment.