How Tumblr Changed my Life

I was in the room.

It was Fall 2006 and I was working in a shared office space with this small web shop called Davidville.

The open office space was different than what I was use to. Around 12:30 pm everyone stopped working and we would all cram into the elevator and head to the chicken deli. We would trot back and all sit around the lunch table.

David was telling us he had some downtime between client work and just finished up this new blogging platform called Tumblr. I didn’t think it was a very good name; It reminded me too much of Flickr.

I was on Blogger at the time and although I was using it, it just felt like so much work. I’m not a writer, I’m an artist.

He asked me if I wanted to try it out.

I said, “Sure, but only if I got the username Lee”

He laughed.

I signed up, posted a few photos, and instantly got hooked. This new platform was so much easier to use than Blogger.

Many months went by when I got this idea with my co worker, Ben Ross, that we should create a blog on Tumblr where we can post our drawings and doodles that we created during the day. We decided to call it “Eat Sleep Draw”.

After a few weeks of just the two of us posting and gaining a few dozen followers, I went to David and I showed him what we were doing with Eat Sleep Draw. He loved the concept. Then I told him, “I want an art gallery and I want to invite all my friends.” “So you mean like multiple authors?” he shot back quickly.

About a week later we had multiple authors set up on Eat Sleep Draw and within a month we had over 50 authors posting their artwork daily.

I was having a hard time fielding all the email requests for people wanting to sign up.

I went back to David and told him there has to be a better way.

“Can’t just people just submit their work and link to their blog without me having to make them an author?”

“You mean like public submissions?” David replied

For six months, Eat Sleep Draw was the only tumblelog that had public submissions enabled.

Now I had my art gallery and people were submitting their art like crazy. But I was still posting everything manually. It would be several more months until Tumblr created a post queuing system.

Five years later, our audience has grown so much that I recruited my sister, Sarah, to help with community management as well as one of my best friends, Tony, to become the Senior Editor of the site.

Eat Sleep Draw receives over a thousand art submissions per week and by the time you read this we will have reached 500,000+ followers and well over a half million page-views a month. We publish art about once every hour, 24 hours a day, Everyday. This is more traffic than most regular, physical art galleries get in a year.

I don’t think of Eat Sleep Draw as a blog anymore, it’s more than that, it’s a finely curated art gallery. It’s just amazing that I get to wake up, look at my messages on Tumblr, and see this wealth of unpublished art. The quality of the artwork submitted is truly incredible.

Tumblr is more than an online publishing tool, it’s changed my life.

- Lee

Tumblr user #7 and Cofounder of EatSleepDraw.com

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