Is Tumblr dead? Best platforms for content creators
Sep 30 '21 • Written by Yassen Shopov
📖 8 minute read
If you have been on the Internet in its relatively early stages, you may remember a specific social media platform. One filled with fanarts, cringey pics, and awful jokes - yes, we’re talking about Tumblr.
Tumblr was one of the early social media platforms, and unlike some of its contemporaries, it managed to survive to this day. Yes, its user base has been shrinking in the last decade, but it is still an active community. It remains the place where fandoms meet and geek out about their favorite characters. This begs the following question:
Is Tumblr dead for content creators?
Just because a social media platform is not used by your friends, it doesn’t mean you would not gain a benefit in partaking.
Tumblr is a bit more specific than the other ones. I would say that gathering an “audience” there is not really essential, because the number of followers is itself not visible to other people. This can be a good thing - your blog can be visually the same in terms of how good it looks when put next to a really popular blog. Numbers don’t really mean a lot. The main focus is on how well you interact with other users. Surprisingly, 90% of my income to this date comes from Tumblr, because of the genuine artist-follower relationships I’ve built there. People are generally more inclined to work with a person they trust, and gaining this trust outside of the realm of numbers is crucial.
So I’d say, if you still believe in genuinely good content, you’ll find success on Tumblr. While other social media are more geared towards following an algorithm and obeying its “unspoken rules” in hope of getting more engagement, Tumblr doesn’t have a special algorithm. This has pros and cons, the main con being that your content is harder to find by the average user if you’re just another creator on the platform. However, if your post goes viral, it’s not hard for it to reach tens of thousands in likes and reblogs (the so-called “shares” of Tumblr).
Overall, if you value the interaction with your followers, create original content, and participate in any particular fandoms, Tumblr may still be a pretty viable platform for yourself.
What platforms are trendy?
However, even if Tumblr is quite the popular platform, there are others on which you can gain inertia much faster.
Instagram is currently one of the leaders in terms of popularity. Artists and other content creators can create beautiful portfolio grids for themselves where they showcase their work. As of recently, Instagram has also been implementing more and more video features, including their own version of YouTube - IGTV, and Reels, where short videos are posted.
You will notice that a general rule of thumb for social media is that it tries to prey on viewers’ short attention spans. This is the reason most social media platforms are moving to more short-form content. The vast success of Tik-Tok, which utilizes minute-short video templates, pushed YouTube and Instagram to also create their own version of Tik-Tok as an app feature.
YouTube’s search engine is so powerful, that it ranks as the 2nd most popular one after Google. It only makes sense, since they belong to the same company, but anyway.
For the people who prefer the video format as a way of self-expression, YouTube is the perfect place. The versatility of content creation and promotion makes it relatively easy to find success there. My own YouTube channel launched just a few days ago, and I am very excited to see the progress I get there.
Of course, not everybody is keen on showing their face/voice to the camera. However, many creators achieve success there without ever really revealing their identities, as long as the video is full of engaging content anyway. Think about all the animations, sketches, and video essays you’ve seen that never really had a person in front of the camera.
The strong point of YouTube that makes it much preferred is the ability to monetize your content. Once you activate your Adsense account, reach 4,000 hours of overall watch time on their channel within the past 12 months and have at least 1,000 subscribers, you can get money by showing ads on your videos. And since we are being bombarded with ads anyway, you won’t seem like a sell-out by doing so - it’s what everybody does anyway.
Twitter, unlike Instagram, relies more on written text as a medium of expression, rather than colorful pictures and videos. If you read a book, you can easily summarise your thoughts into a concise Twitter thread, titled “10 Things I learned from insert book title“ (with relevant emojis, of course).
Of course, as with other social media, it takes a while to gain a following there, and since you’re relying on text as a form of “content”, it can literally feel like shouting into the void. This can’t really be avoided unless you get a very loyal small following in the beginning. Yet, once you master the Art of Twitter, it becomes a powerful tool to expand on your relationship with your followers and to promote your new projects.
Now this one is a bit more specific. Reddit, in general, is a forum-based community. You can post content, be it text or images, in the relevant subreddits, which means that you are automatically limited by the type of niches you delve into.
Reddit also has a very strict anti-marketing policy, and most attempts at self-promotion would result in a ban. However, if you mindfully participate in discussions, you can drop your links down the way, if the conversation allows for it. It takes a little bit of time to get used to this form of discrete promotion, but it can certainly pay off in the long term.