Over the past week, you may have seen the recent study by Posterous co-founder Gary Tan, which stated that more teens are on Tumblr than on Facebook or Instagram. So what is going on?
I have an account on Tumblr, and must admit to being a bit confused as to why there is such a rush over there. But, of course, I'm not a teenager.
When I asked younger people about their attraction to Tumblr and started browsing through the site, I began to better understand the hook (well, sort of). It goes back to the days of MySpace, the days when you could customize your space with your own personality, self-expression, design, even audio -- in other words, it was all about you and your individuality.
Bill Wardell, author and host of "Keeping Our Kids Safe Talk Radio," provided me with the best professional answer. He explains, "Their parents are all on Facebook and Twitter, it's not as cool as it once was."
What is Tumblr for?
According to their site: "Tumblr celebrates creativity. We want you to express yourself freely and use Tumblr to reflect who you are, and what you love, think, witness, and believe."
Tumblr seems to be the modern version of MySpace, but with the addition of blogging capability. The ability to stream your posts and pictures gives it a similar feel to Twitter.
Blogging is good, and blogging can be really good, but it can also be really bad if your teen is not careful about what they post.
I always encourage teens to create their own blogs, showcase their interests and be proactive in building their online profiles. Before they know it, there will be colleges and potential employers searching their names online, and it is wise to have a digital resume prepared early in advance. Will Tumblr be one of the social media sites they will want a potential boss viewing?
Tumblr has a great blogging experience, just be sure to encourage your kids to blog effectively and wisely -- what they post today can come back to haunt them tomorrow. This is not a cliché -- it's a fact.
Should our kids be free to roam unsupervised on Tumblr?
As with any social networking site, I would advise every parent that has a teenager or tween on Tumblr to sit down with their child to review their page. Talk to them about their content and photos, especially if there is anything questionable.
Parents should learn how to use Tumblr, too. Open an account and learn about what the kids are using today; an educated parent can help keep their kids safer. You may even want to start your own blog! Online reputation for all ages is important.
At the end of the day, whether they are on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other cyberspace site, parents need to remind their kids to always think before they post. Parents should learn to use all of the social media sites their children are on. That's just being a good, proactive parent, whether the kids think it is cool or not.
Follow Sue Scheff on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SueScheff