The Daily Caller posted an article about U.S. government agencies starting to use Tumblr. It is a social media platform that is especially great for quick posting of photos, videos and images, so it lends itself to organizations such as the National Archives or the Peace Corps. These agencies have a lot of visual elements to share.
For the public sector in general, it is yet another platform to figure out and support, so we will see whether adoption will increase over time and beyond the U.S. federal government (which centrally negotiated terms of service with Tumblr). Computerworld blogger Barbara Krasnoff just asked “how many social networks can one person handle at once?” in a post entitled “Drowning in the seas of social networking“. What is true for individuals is also true for the public sector. How many social networks can one public sector organization handle at once? Especially because almost all organized support of a new service has resource implications.
Tumblr experienced a lot of growth in the last year. At the same time, Barbara Krasnoff describes the recently launched Google+ service as the “cool kid on the block, at least for the moment”. It is way too early to predict the impact of Google+ on other social media platforms. But it is also too early to predict long-term success for Tumblr, although it is clear that it has a lot of potential with its approach. Many public sector organizations are still very much focused on getting the basics of social media right before branching out into a lot of different services. The U.S. federal government is certainly a trailblazer, not just with Tumblr usage but with social media adoption overall.
What I like about Tumblr is that it could be used instead of a traditional blogging platform and potentially make it easier for staff to adopt and manage, compared to enterprise-level blogging platforms currently used by some government organizations. In addition, I like that anybody can view Tumblr content without having to sign up for anything. Having a Tumblr account adds some social media features to the experience. But it is not a requirement. And its content can easily be shared on other platforms including Facebook and Twitter. From my perspective, Tumblr is a platform that public sector organizations should keep an eye on and potentially start a pilot project if there is a good business case to support it.
Here is a short video from the Daily Caller about Tumblr usage in the U.S. government. It will be interesting to see if these become long-term efforts or remain short-term experiments.