I am now being followed by over 23,000 people on Pinterest. I guess my new routine of taking 15 minutes every morning to devote to pinning has started to pay off. I look forward to more people discovering my boards, and hope to keep giving them inspiring images. You can check out and follow my Pinterest profile here: http://pinterest.com/oylmiller/
I was featured by Tumblr on their new curated Storyboard blog.
I have always been a creative person and the Internet always seemed like an ideal place to share and explore creativity. However, before Tumblr, there was was no singular place that felt like a proper platform for showcasing creativity across different media.
The first time I started my Tumblr account four years ago, I felt like I was getting a glimpse into what the future of the internet would be like. I loved how simple it was and how intuitive it was to host all kinds of media. The simple top bar with the icons for text, audio, video, etc, captures my excitement every time I see it.
When I started using Tumblr, most people I knew didn’t know about it. A lot of them were introduced to the platform through following my blog. Over the years I have become a sort of ‘Tumblr expert’ in my circles. I’ve helped many of my friends start up their own. It’s been fascinating to see how different people make use of the platform.
I have a ton of different media properties on the internet. But the single most valuable one, is my main Tumblr. That is the link that I send people who want to know more about me. It expresses who I am the best. People can browse my last four years of creative output and understand what makes me tick. I have used my main Tumblr to tell my life story of living in Japan, to show my professional advertising work and to capture the sights and sounds that have moved me.
Over the past four years, I feel like other platforms have added bells and whistles to try and come closer to what Tumblr is. But none of the other platforms have gained on the simple promise that Tumblr never fails to deliver on: Tumblr is the best way to express your creative life online. There is no runner up in this category.
I’ve been using Tumblr consistently for 4 years, but I still feel like I am only scratching the surface of possibility with the platform.
Tumblr is the hub of the creative web. Their platform has found a way to intuitively include multimedia content creation from across the whole web. Tumblr’s image is of cat photos and animated GIFs, but the platform itself is much broader than that. You can shape your Tumblr to reflect yourself as a creative person.
Twitter is the best way I’ve found to attract a creative audience. Facebook can generate content views among your friends, but Twitter is public facing. When you create content and broadcast it through Twitter, there is no telling who it can reach. Audience building is a core requirement of any creative person looking for more opportunity. Twitter can get you there.
Facebook is great for contacting your pre-established network and base of loyal supporters. They can be your messengers and evangelists. Facebook Pages provides a way to establish a more outward facing front to your creative web presence.
LinkedIn has become a vital part of how I operate on the creative web. For some, LinkedIn is seen as little more than a resume, but I see it as a way to network with creative talent, share inspiration in groups and even make yourself available for job opportunities and collaborations.
Google+ is new to the game, and I’m still working on building my initial audience. But I’ve already seen the value of how it is set up. I don’t see Google+ as a competitor to Facebook. Google+ is a social network based on shared interests. Facebook is a social network based on existing relationships. I see Google+ as valuable moving forward as a way to connect with a vast network of creative individuals. The possibilities feel much more open than on Facebook.
Visiting Klout has become a part of my morning routine. At first it was just my early adopter friends on there, but now I’m seeing a lot wider base of people. Klout seems to be the place to go if you want to be known for something. I think this will prove valuable moving forward. On the creative web, it’s vital for people to know if you are a photographer, a director, a writer, etc. I see Klout as a way to help people connect the dots about you. It gives people a snapshot into what region of the creative web you hang out in. What conversations you engage in most.
Instagram has redefined what a social network can be. They have effectively fired the warning cannons of Web 3.0. They are mobile, social, intuitive and now officially validated with their 1 billion dollar sale to Facebook. The upside is unlimited. On the surface it’s ‘just a photo-sharing app,’ but within its experience lies far more than that. It’s a way to share real time experience in a more visceral way that moves beyond the tired confines of status updates. It lets you connect lightly (likes) or deeply (comments and discussions that can unfurl beneath a single image). It’s searchable, it’s scaleable and for some reason, the photos always look great. Look for more companies to erect social networks around deceivingly simple premises, that engineer a ton of depth and emotion into the user experience.
Why do things have to be analog OR digital?
Why can’t they be both?
Who is to stop a blog from coming in a beautiful printed edition. Imagine the best articles from your favorite blog, printed on high quality linen paper, encased in a tasty leather rolled cover. I know that’s not for everyone. But I would be interested in physical versions of certain websites. Annual reviews that mark the time. Art objects that have a shelf-life that lives beyond my daily, ever changing RSS feed.
I’d like to see more printed materials drawing inspiration from the online world. I’d like to see books that actually looked like really well designed blogs. I think that would make a tasty jumping off point for a printed book.
I’ve got a project in the works that I hope can bridge the analog and physical worlds. I want to find a unique purpose for each, and find a way that they can co-exist.Tweet
I’ve had some running arguments with some digital obsessed folks lately about Tumblr. They argue that Tumblr can’t decide what it wants to be when it grows up. They say that the surefire successful emerging sites like Pinterest have a very clear metaphor that powers users to understand them. They claim Pinterest is the refrigerator door. Okay. I can accept that. But why can’t Tumblr be ‘the teenagers bedroom wall?’
Some people knock Tumblr for not being a more organized social network. But why does Tumblr have to aspire to be a social network. It’s primary purpose is not to build connections. Tumblr exists to make it really damn easy to express yourself online. It is a digital bedroom wall. There needs to be no order in that metaphor. In fact, the bedroom wall analogy almost demands an element of chaos. I think Tumblr is evolving in a great way. They could do something to curate and show off some of the higher quality ‘bedroom walls,’ but the basic functionality and what it let’s you do is there.Tweet
When it comes to new websites and networks, I am an early adopter. I sign up as soon as I hear about a new service and start testing it out. Maybe I’m too early of an adopter because there must be over a hundred things I’ve signed up for and never done much more with than the preliminary account setup. It’s interesting to see what platforms have legs and which things never catch on or are quickly replaced.
At this point, several of the major networks have developed sturdy roots. Twitter proved it was more than a passing fad. Facebook has long since vanquished Myspace. And LinkedIn has managed to keep it’s professional front. I’ve been a big fan of Tumblr from the beginning, although it hasn’t achieved the same kind of critical mass as the other services I mentioned.
Since some of these services have proved their staying power, it makes me think how they can all be used most effectively. How they can be combined. How I can use each of them separately to represent myself online. I want to use the best digital tools and networks to express myself, further my creative pursuits and find new opportunities that allow me to grow both online and off. I explain this to most people and am met with blank stares usually. But as a creative person who thrives off of making things myself, the Internet is the greatest invention for finding an organic audience. I can make my art, my writing and my music and then input it all into the proper channels and have the ability for anybody in the world to find it. Every creative person wants to be heard, and the series of networks that make up the Internet offer that potential.
I want to create a personal digital ecosystem that lets me make my art and then distribute it throughout my various networks. I want to have discussions with these same networks and find out what is inspiring them. I want to have every little tweet, comment or share to reflect a tiny piece of my greater mission. I want to rain content and have my digital ecosystem grow. The kind of growth I’m interested in is more connections, more opportunities and a larger audience.
I call it a digital ecosystem. Maybe I’ll call it something else next week, but today I like how it sounds. It feels like it has evolved past the notion of networks. It feels like it can support a variety of activities. And I also love the idea of combining technology and analog metaphors to create new meaning. We’ll see how long I stick with it, but for now, I’ll call my mission an effort to build a personal digital ecosystem.
Tumblr is a great open source platform for creativity and curation. What they should focus on next is finding a way to make discovering great tumblogs easier. They have search and tags right now, but it still feels very obscure and random as you are going through them. They should hire an editorial staff to cull through tumblogs and then build a new way to emphasize them on the sire. The nature of Tumblr right now makes it a great insider community, but if they have any ambition to bring a level of presentation to the revolution they’ve started, they would make the whole nature of Tumblr a lot more accessible to the larger Internet audience. But on their terms. Tumblr has a chance to redefine modern media.Tweet