At AIDS.gov we continuously follow and research emerging social media tools for what may be the next big application. However, one of the big stories of 2011 wasn’t around an “emerging” tool, but one that had been with us since 2007.
Tumblr is a social blogging site that that allows individual blog posts to be taggable, searchable, followed, “liked” (or “hearted”) and reblogged. Users can post short articles, messages, photos and links quickly and easily and tag their individual posts with hashtags for viewers to search. When searching Tumblr, posts from various blogs and authors are pulled into the results, allowing the topic to lead the conversation and not necessarily the individual author. This feature makes blogging social as each blog post is an entry point into a topical conversation. Viewers are led to new bloggers they may not have known about, simply because they have commented on a subject the user and blogger are mutually interested in. And it seems to be working. In 2011, Tumblr’s monthly pageviews increased from 2 million at year’s start, to 15 million by the year’s end, according to Mashable .
Part of this increase is due to the visual style and ease of use of the blogging platform. Archived posts of your favorite tumbling bloggers, such as Lady Gaga or even the President , are presented in a style similar to Pinterest, with past posts (text or photo) appearing in a visual collage for ease of searching. The site also supports up to 8 languages worldwide, which has helped it achieve more than 20 billion posts, 120 million monthly unique visitors and over 49 million individual blogs as of March 2012, according to Mashable .
And the HIV community is joining those numbers. Project K.I.S.S. of New York City is an HIV/AIDS service provider that uses Tumblr to spread the importance of counseling testing and referral services. Project K.I.S.S. provides free and confidential HIV testing, counseling, workshops, and peer outreach to youth ages 13-24 in New York City.
In anticipation of the 2012 International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012), the Youth Programme for the conference joined Tumblr with their site YouthAIDS2012 . The Youth Programme works to strengthen the participation of young people and profile youth issues at the conference.
We recognized the building momentum of the site, which led us to begin listening to the conversation on Tumblr. So far, some of the opportunities we see are:
- Model transparency and extend the reach of information and activities around HIV/AIDS to a new social media audience.
- Promote and raise awareness about upcoming campaigns and events around HIV/AIDS (such as AIDS 2012 and the Facing AIDS initiative).
- Join and contribute to the HIV/AIDS forum of bloggers on Tumblr.
If you’re interested in Tumblr, go take a “tumble” yourself at Tumblr . After following the instructions to create a free account, try searching the hashtags #AIDS, #HIV, #LGBT and/or others. It’s a great resource to pull from various bloggers that may focus their blog on the subject you’re interested in or even just a single post. Tell us what you find and what you think of Tumblr in the comments section below. We’d love your feedback.