Case Study: Tumblr

The social media site Tumblr has approximately 500 million unique users, with approximately 200 million located in the United States. Since January 2017, PGP leadership has worked closely with Tumblr to restructure the company’s social responsibility portfolio.  PGP functions as Tumblr’s “nonprofit of record,” partnering to create a first-of-its-kind program designed to educate and empower the site’s primarily Millennial-aged (18-35) users.  

Tumblr has fully embraced its role as a change agent.  The young adult-friendly site has long been a place where passionate dialogue about the country’s most pressing social issues start and spread.  Tumblr has dedicated Social Impact staff, which along with PGP have led the in-house development of three progressive programs:

·   Action.Tumblr highlights a growing number of social and political issues each month.  Topics range from women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, xenophobia, racial justice, climate change, civic engagement, to healthcare and chronic and infectious disease.  Action.Tumblr content is selected from content members of the Tumblr user community have created, which is then presented to all users as a curated learning experience.  In addition to user-generated content, PGP recruits subject matter experts to guide the learning and drive user engagement toward specific calls to action.  Subject matter experts are a mix of academic researchers, on-the-ground community advocates, and leaders of organizations heavily committed to the particular social issue (e.g. the Mayor of Pittsburgh, the Chief of Police of Madison, Wisconsin, or the Director of the U.S. National Park Service).  Action.Tumblr is seen by over 8 million people a month.

·   Issue Time, a separate but complementary Social Impact program, provides a platform for conversation between users and diverse high profile individuals.  These individuals range from academics, advocates, philanthropists, celebrities, to executives. Issue Time is a venue that allows any Tumblr user to ask personal and pressing questions of a high profile figure, who then answers publicly.  The Q&A sessions are moderated by PGP and Tumblr Social Impact staff, and create significant dialogue and awareness.  Issue Time is seen by an average of 20 million people a month.

·   IRL’s, a widely used social media acronym for “In Real Life,” are held at Tumblr’s headquarters in New York City.  IRL’s are live events hosted by Tumblr, meant to showcase the work of partner organizations or particular projects such as documentaries, lecture series, or musical performances.