Tumblr has tasked six bloggers — three each for the two back-to-back conventions — for what spokeswoman Liba Rubenstein called an “experiment” in the platform’s ability to organize original content. Tumblr launched a new dedicated Tumblr for the project, where an editorial team will share posts by their bloggers as well as re-blog convention content posted by other users on Tumblr.
According to Rubenstein, the content will be a combination of "assignments and pure interest," and could cover anything from official events to parties, fashion, food and any protests that take place. Content will likely include both multimedia and text.
The Tumblr team chose “amateur” bloggers from all over the country who “really understand how Tumblr works,” Rubenstein wrote in a post on the blog. Ideal content will be “silly, relevant and irreverent” in keeping with what tends to be popular on the platform. Rubenstein said the team has shied away from too much structure as it seeks to figure out what works for the project.
“We did not set a quota along political party lines, nor ask folks directly about their party affiliations,” she explained in the post. “Some bloggers’ political leanings may come through in their posts — we do not expect them to be neutral in a traditional journalistic sense — but they should not be polemical or use this platform to bolster a pre-existing agenda.”
Rubenstein clarified to The Hill that they did not match writers to conventions according to their party affiliation, meaning there are some Democratic-leaning writers headed to the GOP convention and vice versa.
The Tumblr bloggers who will attend the Republican National Convention for the site are copywriter Bobby Finger, “RedStateEclectic" writer and photographer Jayel Aheram and progressive activist and radio host Meg Lanker-Simons. Headed to the Democratic National Convention are digital strategist and Tech LadyMafia founder Aminatou Sow, Forbes contributor Jason Oberholtzer and designer Tag Savage.
Tumblr, founded in 2007, has seen steady growth in its user base and is no stranger to political use. President Obama, Mitt Romney and the Republican and Democratic National Committees all use Tumblr, and the platform is also home to a variety of spoof memes that can go viral, such as “Hey Girl, It’s Paul Ryan” and “Texts from Hillary.”
According to some studies, about 50 percent of Tumblr’s users represent the 18 to 34 age group, making site-hosted coverage of the candidates potentially crucial to their votes.
Tumblr will be right at home at the conventions, which have both made digital access and social networks a key component of their plans this year. Facebook and Google+ will both have a strong presence on the ground at both conventions, and Google is an official partner with both the GOP and the Democrats this year with plans to livestream all events through YouTube.
Like Google and Facebook, Tumblr is also hosting a party at both conventions, inviting convention attendees and local Tumblr users to meet-up in person.
Tumblr has plans for more political engagement heading toward the November elections that the platform plans to spotlight here.