Today Tumblr launched a new program called “Post It Forward” that aims to promote positivity and support in online communities. We wanted to know more and reached out to our friend Liba Rubenstein, who has been working behind the scenes at Tumblr to make this happen.
Ad Council: What inspired the “Post It Forward” campaign?
Liba Rubenstein: Tumblr is a powerful platform for self expression, community, and connection. People use our product to reflect who they are, and what they love, think, and stand for. Generally that’s a super positive thing – but when members of our community experience isolation, crisis, or darkness in their lives, they will naturally turn to Tumblr to reflect that too. Since Tumblr’s inception we have been dedicated to fostering positive and supportive community, especially when it comes to users experiencing emotional or psychological distress – from the reblog, which was designed as a constructive alternative to traditional online commenting; to our community guidelines, which explain in plain and relatable language what Tumblr is and is not for; to our search intercept PSAs which connect users directly to relevant support and counseling resources prompted by certain search terms. At the same time, our members have always organically reached out to support one another, and organizations that specialize in counseling and support increasingly turn to Tumblr to disseminate their messages and resources. “Post It Forward” is a natural evolution of these efforts, unifying and amplifying a lot of important work that’s already being done as well as inspiring new conversations and soliciting new stories.
AC: What are the goals of the campaign – what will success look like?
LR: At its core, “Post It Forward” is about raising awareness of and creating positive conversations around an ecosystem of tough issues that affect young people and about which they tend to express themselves online. And it’s about shedding light on the ways online community can play a unique and constructive part in support, recovery, and healing around these issues – even, beginning to shift the mainstream narrative about the role of social platforms. We hope to begin to break down silos between issues – from cyberbullying to body image to coming out to depression and many more – that are often addressed in isolation but can be deeply intertwined in the lived experience of an individual person. And along the way, we hope to learn a lot about what our users are going through and what they want from their social media platforms in ways that could ultimately inform the evolution of our product and policies.
AC: What role do Tumblr users have in the campaign?
LR: “Post It Forward” is, first and foremost, a user-powered campaign. Folks are invited to share some piece of advice or positive message they learned (or wish someone had told them) that helped them through a tough time and could help someone else. Users can tell their story via video or long-form text, offer advice, share encouraging art, or connect with others through PostItForward.Tumblr.com or #PostItForward. Folks are also encouraged to take a GIF selfie — which will appear on the blog and tag — using a new, special version of Tumblr’s native desktop camera tool to show support for a positive and united Tumblr community.
In addition, Tumblr tapped a few of its particularly creative and influential users, known as Creatrs — namely: Laurene Boglio, Brian Butler, Thoka Maer, Jonathan Reyes, and Mr. Phil– to make the “Post It Forward” concept come to life with vivid art on the blog and limited-edition merchandise to be sold on the Tumblr merch store with proceeds going to organizations, such as Love is Louder and The M.A.D. Girls, that tackle issues like self-harm and youth empowerment.
AC: How are NGOs participating?
LR: Scores of NGOs are in the trenches every day on these important issues, and “Post It Forward” is designed to be a platform they can leverage to get their message out. Some NGOs are participating in conjunction with their celebrity founders or spokespeople – folks like Vice President Joe Biden, Brittany Snow, Pete Wentz, Jordin Sparks, Elizabeth Banks, Wendy Williams, and First Lady of NYC Chirlane McCray – by contributing videos and other content and benefitting from Creatr collaborations in the Tumblr merch store. Others, like the Lifeline, National Eating Disorder Association, Love Is Respect, To Write Love on Her Arms, and Half of Us, have been active on Tumblr and part of our PSA search interventions for some time; they are part of the aggregated resources page on the “Post It Forward” site. Still others will join over the course of the campaign. (If you represent an org and want to get involved, we’d love to hear from you!)
AC: You’ve launched the campaign. What’s next? Give us a preview!
LR: This first phase of “Post It Forward” will last through the summer, leading up to the Back to School season. Over the next few months, we expect to roll out a host of new partners, content, merch, and relevant features across Tumblr.
Liba Rubenstein works at the intersection of mass and social media, cause marketing, civic innovation, environmental sustainability, online activism, and triple bottom line business strategies. Now responsible for all things related to social and civic engagement at Tumblr, she previously ran News Corporation’s global environmental sustainability initiatives and founded Myspace’s Impact Channel for causes & politics.