As marvelous as the Internet can be, there are few corners of it that get nasty. This is especially true of social media, where hyper-networked sharing and communication can easily result in digital harassment. Tumblr is well aware of this, and it’s trying to do something about it.
#PostItForward is a new campaign launched by Tumblr to combat online bullying. Quite naturally, it takes the form of a dedicated blog on Tumblr–one that focuses on curating inspiring, positive posts and encouraging open communication about taboo subjects like sexuality and mental health.
To help market the new campaign, Tumblr is enlisting the help of public figures like Vice President Joe Biden, singer Jordan Sparks and actress Elizabeth Banks, each of whom will be featured in a promotional video touting the new effort.
The campaign is a response to the all-too-prevalent phenomenon of cyberbullying on Tumblr, which can take on forms as extreme as the case of Leelah Alcorn, a transgendered teen who posted her suicide note to Tumblr after being harassed. In another, less tragic case, a teenage artist was bullied away from the platform after drawing a controversial cartoon about race and white privilege.
Is a social media campaign really going to uproot bullying? On its face, such an effort can feel a little bit like trying to convince kids not to try cigarettes by posting a cat poster on a classroom wall. But for Tumblr, the goal likely isn’t quite as ambitious as the death of cyberbullying. With this campaign, it’s hoping that injecting more positive, supportive content into the conversation will tip the dialogue away from the nastiness, even if a little bit. It can’t hurt to try.