The Media Oxpecker: What Hath Tumblr Wrought?

The Technology That Analyzes - and Monetizes - Social Media Data Could Radically Change the Economics of Publishing

Every week we round up industry news you may have missed while you were winning a Pulitzer.

  • “The Huffington Post won a Pulitzer Prize Monday. The world didn’t end,” begins paidContent editor Staci Kramer. “Put another way, a publication that had the smarts to hire some very good journalists and let them do what they do best won an important prize from a group that not too long ago thought the medium was the message — and has since learned that the work is the message.”

  • Tumblr revealed that it will begin selling ad units on Tumblr Radar, which receives around 120,000,000 pageviews a day. This comes two years after the site’s founder and CEO said to the L.A. Times, “We’re pretty opposed to advertising. It really turns our stomachs.”

    In a less ballyhooed — but potentially huge — development, social media API company Gnip became the exclusive provider of Tumblr’s “firehose” of posts. Why is this significant? Paul Smalera explains:

    When the tech media wonder out loud how social companies will ever make a buck – sifting the gold out of their user-generated content is a huge piece of the puzzle. At Gnip, Tumblr joins Twitter, WordPress, Disqus and the Chinese microblogging service Sina Weibo as the latest tree in a forest of Social Big Data accessible via API. A well-written API can transform a jumble of numbers into a perfectly organized multiplication table – on the order of millions or even billions of complex data pieces.

    In other words, Gnip’s API will take all of the content – tweets, status updates, baby/vacation/party pics, and now Tumblr posts – generated by social media users everyday (willingly, without pay), and use a computer code to crunch this data, make sense of it, and yes, monetize it.

    By eliminating paid content creators (sometimes referred to as writers and photographers) and automating the process of sorting this content into “sections” which can be sold against, the model that Smalera describes, if successful, will radically alter the economics of publishing.

  • By the end of the year, the word “tumblr” will be a more common search term than “blog,” based on current trends.

  • “Really it’s about humans and what we want to share and making things that are worth sharing,” says Buzzfeed founder Jonah Peretti, who argues that social media marketing requires emotional intelligence.

  • U.S. digital advertising revenue grew by 22 percent in 2011, to a record $31 billion.

  • Out magazine’s entire editorial staff has been laid off and will have the option of working under a new company that will produce content for the magazine under an all-freelance model. Editor-in-chief Aaron Hicklin proudly touts the move as “initiating a new publishing model.”

  • New York Times Magazine culture editor Adam Sternbergh offers advice to freelance writers.

  • Five things to do when looking for a newspaper job.

  • How to create engagement through the Facebook timeline.

  • For webmasters: A complete guide to website architecture for SEO courtesy of Ted Ives.

  • “It would take the average person about 250 working hours every year — about 30 full working days — to actually read the privacy policies of the websites they visit in a year.”

  • Gawker says the Pulitzer Committee’s “No Award” for editorial writing confirms that “institutional editorial writing is a worthless anachronism in this modern media age.”
  • Also worthless: Microsoft Word, says Tom Scocca.

    For most people now, though, publishing means putting things on the Web. Desktop publishing has given way to laptop or smartphone publishing. And Microsoft Word is an atrocious tool for Web writing. Its document-formatting mission means that every piece of text it creates is thickly wrapped in metadata, layer on layer of invisible, unnecessary instructions about how the words should look on paper.

  • What the Daily Deals Market Looks Like in 2012,” an infographic.

  • What city buys the most e-readers? Here’s the Kindle Index.

  • Read It Later has rebranded as “Pocket” since people have been using it to save videos and photos in addition to articles.

  • And finally, to see responsive design in action, check out, a gorgeous news site that launched last week. Founder Dan Oshinsky writes:

    I’m thrilled to say that is one of the first websites anywhere — and certainly one of the first news sites to use such a design. I think responsive is a game changer for the web, and I hope the experience on this new site proves why.

    See for yourself.