College can initiate a lifetime of effective practices for maneuvering the real world that follows graduation. You learn how to budget (eat only peanut butter and bread and you can still afford to go downtown on the weekends). You learn how to run a household (instead of washing dishes, buy paper plates). And most importantly, you learn how to waste more time than you ever thought possible.
This is where you can find me, current undergrad student and procrastinator extraordinaire, methodically checking Facebook, Pinterest, blogs about various topics, and now, #Whatshouldwecallme. The latter is my latest addiction and new favorite time drain. The Tumblr blog pairs relatable life moments with “moving images” called “.gifs.” When words alone can’t do a moment justice, the .gifs can explain exactly how you feel. Although the scenes are taken completely out of context, there’s something about them that just … #works.
Two law school students and best friends started the blog in February as a way to keep in touch. They didn’t broadcast it to anyone, and they weren’t trying to start a craze. A few months later, the Tumblr was an Internet sensation with tens of thousands of followers, and the students who created it have been interviewed by Forbes.
The strategy is that there is no strategy. It’s genius. These girls found a market that they weren’t even searching for simply because they didn’t try too hard. The images are easy to access and share with your friends and even easier to scroll through with no notion of the passage of time. But perhaps more importantly, it’s authentic, relatable and funny.
What can we, as professional communicators, learn from this Internet sensation? Normalcy is underrated when it comes to reaching 20-somethings. Leave the scripted, perfectly glossed campaign at the door … some self-deprecating humor is all you really need to have mass appeal.
Intern Devin Pascoe tries to add some variety to her college life by interspersing peanut butter sandwiches with an occasional bowl of Ramen noodles – it proves a good energy boost for her long nights procrastinating on the Internet.