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Content Omnivores

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
1 min read

I wrote yesterday about not being precious with the work you release online. I followed it up with an apology on Twitter of how precious I've gotten with my work since leaving Tumblr.

Tumblr was built to kill preciousness about creative work. It made posting content of any length or type almost trivial. Tumblr understood something about the way we consume online that no other CMS or service I've used has: we are content omnivores.

Google looks for original content of significant length to rank higher in searches. Content marketers swear by long reads with significant research for successful promotion of their businesses. So, it's taken for granted that if you're a reader, you want a long read on a blog.

It's also taken for granted that if you're a watcher, you want a 6-12 minute Youtube video (so I've been told by Youtubers). If you're a photography lover, you want a quick hit on Instagram. If you're a podcast listener, you want a short, highly edited podcast or a long, conversational podcast with people you care about.

But none of us fit these descriptions. We all read. We all watch videos. We all listen to something at some point.

That was the real innovation Tumblr discovered: a mix of media is best and that mix should be easy to create and fun to experience.

I left Tumblr because instead of charging for their service, they went with an ad model. Then, they sold out to Yahoo and became just another acquisition to be ignored by their parent. Tumblr has since become the back alley of Yahoo, more known for its porn than for the creators who still post there, like Merlin Mann and Austin Kleon.

I want to become less precious again. Doing it without the ease of Tumblr makes it more difficult technically, but the real difficulty is in being brave enough to just post a quote or a photo because  I like it, not because it says something profound.