Back in May 2011, I wrote a post that complained about the sad state of the Tumblr Politics tag; I wrote another in July 2011 because I thought there ought to be somewhere to feature more global political content. There’s been a whole lot more written about the tag over the past few days, largely because of one editor’s behavior, but I’ve avoided wading back in because a) I’d already expressed my thoughts and b) my readership outside of Tumblr is significant and has absolutely no use for such posts.
But now it seems there’s been a major shake-up, all of the tag’s editors have been thanked for their service … and I’ve been made an editor myself.
Despite my complaints about the tag, I should note that the idea of the Tumblr tags is certainly not in and of itself a bad idea; indeed, it could be a very good idea. As I wrote almost a year ago now:
For my part, I generally like the idea of tags. A good tag, used well, could foster a sense of community for people from very different backgrounds who all share a common interest. Indeed, I think they can provide a way to find new and interesting material to read and also introduce people to new authors they wouldn’t otherwise have found. I’ve begun to follow the Tumblr blogs of several people entirely as a result of the Politics tag; I also recognize that I’ve benefitted from the tag, as a few editors have chosen to feature my writing there with some regularity.
Looking at the new group of editors, I see some friends that I’ve made entirely from interacting via Tumblr (like Squashed and PoliticalProf, whose secret identities I promise only to reveal for a tidy sum) and even one of my real-life students, Justin Green (which means that the number of Politics editors from Nebraska is shockingly disproportionate; expect a lot of promoted content about corn, cattle, and the “I-Option” offense).
Of course, I’m also a bit sad that some of my other friends are no longer editing the tag. I think Ilya Gerner, Jeff Miller, Torie DeGhett, and Naum Trifanoff did some great work, all while a whole lot of people were yelling at them. I’m also sad to note that amongst the new slate of editors, you won’t find people of color, women, or anyone who lives outside the United States; I think that’s a very serious omission by the Tumblr staff, especially given the amount and the quality of political blogging on the Tumblr platform by people of color, women and non-Americans. There’s also not much ideological diversity. Say what you will about the previous slate of editors, at least you always knew you’d get a healthy dose of the Mises Institute with your morning coffee.
But here’s what I’ll say about my upcoming run as an editor:
I have the ability to promote up to ten posts each day. I’ll be looking to promote original content, reasoned argumentation, and a genuine mix of material from across the ideological spectrum; I also tend to like posts about human rights and posts about parts of world beyond America’s borders. You will always know that I promoted a particular post because I’ll “Like” it right before or right after I promote it. Some days, I’ll use all ten of my promotions and some days I won’t. I have a full-time job as a professor of political science and I have a family that I like very much … so you can be sure that I’ll miss some interesting posts that I would have ordinarily promoted.
Admittedly, I don’t follow very many Tumblr blogs because I like to read all of the things that are written by the people I follow, but I’m always open to suggestions for new blogs I really ought to be reading. Indeed, I’m very happy to hear from you about the workings of the tag, about the posts I’ve promoted, or with suggestions for things I ought to promote. Feel free to let me know about posts that you’ve written, so long as they conform to the standards I set out in the previous paragraph; I promise I’ll take a look as soon as I can. Use the Ask or the Fan Mail feature, send me a tweet, or find me on Facebook; I’m generally pretty accessible and, so long as you’re polite, very happy to hear from you.