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I'm Drew Breunig and I obsess about technology, media, language, and culture. I live in New York, studied anthropology, and lead strategy at PlaceIQ.

These are reactions to things I feel are important.

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Posts tagged tumblr

These photos of Karl Lagerfeld’s Paris apartment help us understand why Tumblr is special.

Lagerfeld stands immaculate and polished in front of what can only be described as a mess of books. For someone who’s facade never breaks, whose brand is comically consistent, it’s surprising to glimpse behind the scenes and see how many different sources influence Lagerfeld’s creative work.

This collection, the magazines and books created by many different people, is strikingly similar to a Tumblr blog. But instead of ‘liking’ and ‘reblogging’, Lagerfeld buys pricey monographs and stashes them in his spacious Parisian apartment.

Tumblr is special because it makes creative spaces like Lagerfeld’s public, allowing audiences to explicitly connect the act of collection to the act of creation.

I use Lagerfeld as an example because the contrast between the messy collection and the polished output is so stark. But I could have chosen almost any creator’s space to illustrate the connection between collecting inspiration and creation, because artists tend to collect: Warhol was an obsessive collector, John Lennon lined his walls with filing cabinets, Keith Richard’s library fills me with envy, and even Steve Jobs, who obsessed over every detail of Apple’s stark products, had a wonderfully messy office.

Speaking of Steve Jobs, something he said to Wired in 2002 perhaps best explains why artists tend to collect:

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

This is why creative people tend to surround themselves with interesting work, ideas, and people. All of these are experiences, things they can connect.

So: collection and curation begets creation.

On Tumblr this holds: liking and reblogging leads to creation. The important difference is that, on Tumblr, these acts are public.

On Tumblr, the creative space - the messy assemblage of inspiration - is shared, allowing not just creators but their audiences to draw a line between the act of collection and creation. Polished works no longer just appear. Langerfeld’s library is open, Warhol’s Time Capsules can be pawed through, and Lennon’s filing cabinets are unlocked.

On Tumblr the process of collecting experiences, finding inspiration, and connecting two things to make something new is completely visible. And because its visible (not locked away in a Parisian apartment) audiences can play along at home.

First they’ll start collecting. Pretty soon, they’ll be creating.


27,228 notes over 4 days and growing. Pretty good case study.


Now 35,000+.

Take note advertisers: the Spotlight unit’s closest equivalent is a two-page spread in a glossy magazine, except with Spotlight audiences can request that you be included in all future issues (aka they follow you).
27,228 notes over 4 days and growing. Pretty good case study.

Now 35,000+.

Take note advertisers: the Spotlight unit’s closest equivalent is a two-page spread in a glossy magazine, except with Spotlight audiences can request that you be included in all future issues (aka they follow you).

We think the users are smart, and don’t need things ‘sold’ to them. Keeping this in mind gets rid of the clutter, like labels and chatty copy.

Tumblr Designer Peter Vidani (via maxistentialist)

Perfectly said.

Down with chatty copy. If you need clever copy to convey your voice, you’re doing it wrong. Think Blade Runner, pre-director’s cut.

(via joshuanguyen)

85% percent of those new people who signed up are still posting a week later, which is spectacular.

David Karp

Absolutely incredible. Designers, programmers, and community managers: Tumblr is the case study for UX. You don’t achieve retention like that without perfection.

I found and created a Tumblr account.
An 18 year-old girl, explaining why her Facebook usage has declined. From one of our most recent surveys.
Whether your metric-of-choice is book deals or raw numbers, The Kids Who Tumble graduated to big boys on the playground, not so much by stomping the other kids as by inventing their own game in the corner. Tumblr’s make-or-break premise was always that the semi-closed platform (insular, secular, participatory) would eventually make a deeper connection than the open online systems (cosmopolitan, egalitarian, populist) powered by Feedburner and retweets. Whereas anyone can read blogs or tweets, tumbling nearly demands participation.
Rex Sorgatz, writing in The Bygone Bureau's year-end blogging wrap-up.

GMail’s down, so Google uses Twitter. People talking about GMail takes Twitter down, so Twitter uses Tumblr. When… uh-oh.

What happens when Tumblr’s down?