One of the reasons why Tumblr is at the core of this phenomenon is that the platform is almost perfectly positioned between traditional blogging and the real-time distribution of content offered by Twitter: the “reblog” button that Tumblr offers is a lot like Twitter’s retweet function, and it can send a new animated GIF or other meme rocketing through the blogosphere within minutes, which has helped Tumblr generate a massive 15 billion pageviews monthly (the social element of Tumblr’s design is one of the things I’ll be talking with founder David Karp about at the RoadMap conference on November 5th).

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Smith has argued that these tools that BuzzFeed and others like Tumblr use are simply part of the way media operates now, and any news category — whether politics or anything else — is going to have to figure out how to take advantage of it and make use of it. As the father of two teenaged daughters, I can vouch for the fact that the vast majority of the content they consume comes via Twitter and Tumblr and similar sites, through mashups and parody accounts and animated GIFs. Whether we like it or not, that is a large and growing part of the future of content.

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