It’s not just Tumblr — most social networks don’t understand original content


The recent shuttering of Tumblr’s Storyboard highlighted the discrepancy between online communities and companies’ efforts to produce valuable original content for them. The problem isn’t that “Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter are sharing networks, not publishing companies,” as one writer suggested. The problem instead lies in substance and delivery.

Community-inspired initiatives, much like journalism, need a sense of purpose, passion and objective urgency – the ability to look unflinchingly at a subject and capture it in a way that’s surprising and insightful. With that in mind, here’s how some of the most popular communities and social networks are experimenting with original content — and what works and doesn’t.


Storyboard sought to surface and report on interesting stories and users within the Tumblr community, applying a kind of branded journalism and marketing mix that’s becoming increasingly commonplace.

The failure of Storyboard was in its inability to find an editorial voice that resonated in…

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