TFF 2012: Tumblr’s Mark Coatney Explains How Films Resonate with the Blogging Community

NEW YORK, NY – Tumblr CEO David Karp didn’t make it to the Tribeca Film Festival‘s Future of Film lunch talk yesterday, which was held at 92YTribeca.  Fortunately, head of outreach Mark Coatney filled in at the last minute to offer filmmakers some tips on how to use the blogging platform to promote their projects.

Launched in 2007, Tumblr now averages 17 billion page views per month, with 10 billion of them coming from members’ dashboards, while the remaining views are from outsiders who have found the content on another site. Each Tumblr user spends an average of 32 minutes per visit just looking at other Tumblr blogs.

This makes networking within Tumblr an important part of going viral on the site. “What you want to do as a creative person is to think about how you can use your network to market what you’re doing,” Coatney said. The good ones will “‘Expose me to something new, something fresh.'”


A blog called “Fuck Yeah Sharks,” for example, resonated so well with the community that it set off a chain reaction of “Fuck Yeah” parodies, not just because they liked sharks, but also because it felt so liberating to say “Fuck yeah” to things on Tumblr.

The shark blog falls into the category of Coatney calls “passion projects,” which are blogs based on a single, universal theme “like corgies,” he said. One way to test an idea is to search for for it to see if there are any other existing blogs on the subject.

A re-blogged post often takes on a life of its own. The long-running, British science fiction show Doctor Who has inspired a number of animated GIFs and other geekery. But the BBC “doesn’t worry about copyright infringements,” said Coatney. The editors simply follow the fans and re-blog any content they find interesting.

For this and other “known properties” like major films, said Coatney, “archival stuff resonates.” A blog called “Mouth Taped Shut” chronicled the making of the American version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo with pictures of things that happened on the set. The posts were peppered with just the tiniest bit of marketing speak leading up to the premiere, so that even after the film was released, the pictures would still have some value.


When it comes to curating content, the Tumblr staff does its part by selecting “posts we think are cool” to put on the Tumblr Radar. The site is also launching an editorial blog with a team of two reporters to cover a virtual “city of 50 million people,” said Coatney, following up on people with good stories to tell.

When users log in to a sea of posts from friends and strangers, finding an answer to the question, “What do I do?” is “one of the hardest things [to do] on Tumblr,” said Coatney. But it’s also the most rewarding.