Things that Yahoo! Buying Tumblr Feels Like

-Your hot graphic designer friend who sometimes misappropriates Native American headdresses for fashion reasons saying she’s getting married to a 60-year-old intellectual property lawyer who still uses Proactiv. 

          or

          -Liz Lemon marrying the beeper king

          -Avril Lavigne marrying the dude from Nickelback

-Your mom suddenly deciding to become a Zumba instructor and somehow in the process ruining Zumba for everyone

-Comcast buying Apple 10 years after Netflix has marginalized Comcast

-Your most inspiring high school English teacher who smoked pot with you once in college going back to school to study SEO

-The bar where you planned your going away party featuring Simpsons-themed shots becoming a Seattle’s Best

-Dr. Evil saying “1 Billion Dollars!” on an infinite loop that somehow destroys every startup 

-An odd couple comedy about an adopted iPad DJ teaching his lonely new father about graphic design

-An odd couple comedy about someone who looks like Kristen Bell very sassily teaching someone who looks like Andrew Garfield’s nerdy brother how to balance a checkbook

-A weird dream that you talk about in a marketing meeting about how to get more dogs to wear shoes

-Becky Lang really likes Tumblr and feels weird

The Tangential presents: FUTURE CITIES Release Party and Twin Cities Tumblr Meetup

We’re excited to announce that our Future Cities book release party will be sponsored by Tumblr. Where would we be without Tumblr? That’s too scary to think about. It’ll also be sponsored by our publisher, Hillcrest Media.

Please join us at the Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis on February 27th for a book release party and Tumblr meetup. For just $10 you’ll get entry, a copy of the book, and a free drink ticket while supplies last.

Other fun deets:

Musical Guests:
- The Golden Bubbles (featuring Tangential editor Chris Vondracek)
- Koo Koo Kanga Roo
- DJ @jimfrick of Wak Lyf (Curator of technodrome.tumblr.com)

Here’s what’s going to go down:
7:30 p.m. - Doors open
8:30 p.m. - A reading by the contributors
9:00 p.m. - The music begins

Please bring your party shoes. We can’t wait to see you.

Future Cities contributors, in order of appearance in the book:

Jason Zabel—a Tangential editor, formerly editor of the late great Twin Cities A.V. Club.

Katie Sisneros—a Tangential founding editor and a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of Minnesota.

John Jodzio—author of Get In If You Want to Live (Paper Darts, 2011) and other story collections.

Becky Lang—creator of The Tangential and a creative at Zeus Jones.

Jay Gabler—a Tangential founding editor and the editor of Unreality House.

Sarah Heuer—a Tangential editor and a cowriter of PhiLOLZophy.

Crispin Best—editor of For Every Year, guy who recently ran through a parking area yelling, “I’m going through a lot right now!”

Heidi Schatz—a Tangential editor.

Kat George—managing editor of Portable.tv and contributor to Vice, formerly an editor at Thought Catalog.

Kelsey McDonough—a Tangential staff writer.

Christopher Vondracek—a Tangential staff writer.

Chrissy Stockton—a Tangential staff writer and a cowriter of PhiLOLZophy.

Book cover and flyer design by Caroline Royce

Not near Minneapolis? Order your copy of Future Cities here—just $7.99 for a hard copy or $3.99 for an e-book!

We’re excited to announce that our short story collection Future Cities, just published in hard copy, is now also available as an e-book—just $3.99 for an e-book, or $7.99 for a paperback! The book features original fiction from many of your favorite Tangential writers, as well as some kickass guest contributors. Here’s the complete list of contributors, in order of their appearance in the book, with links to their Tumblrs (where applicable):
Jason Zabel—a Tangential editor, formerly editor of the late great Twin Cities A.V. Club.
Katie Sisneros—a Tangential founding editor and a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of Minnesota.
John Jodzio—author of Get In If You Want to Live (Paper Darts, 2011) and other story collections.
Becky Lang—creator of The Tangential and a creative at Zeus Jones.
Jay Gabler—a Tangential founding editor and the editor of Unreality House.
Sarah Heuer—a Tangential editor and a cowriter of PhiLOLZophy.
Crispin Best—editor of For Every Year, guy who recently ran through a parking area yelling, “I’m going through a lot right now!”
Heidi Schatz—a Tangential editor.
Kat George—managing editor of Portable.tv and contributor to Vice, formerly an editor at Thought Catalog.
Kelsey McDonough—a Tangential staff writer.
Christopher Vondracek—a Tangential staff writer.
Chrissy Stockton—a Tangential staff writer and a cowriter of PhiLOLZophy.
Order your copy now! And those in Minnesota America this space-time dimension, watch for details about a publication party and Tumblr meet-up on in February at the Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis.

We’re excited to announce that our short story collection Future Cities, just published in hard copy, is now also available as an e-book—just $3.99 for an e-book, or $7.99 for a paperback! The book features original fiction from many of your favorite Tangential writers, as well as some kickass guest contributors. Here’s the complete list of contributors, in order of their appearance in the book, with links to their Tumblrs (where applicable):

Jason Zabel—a Tangential editor, formerly editor of the late great Twin Cities A.V. Club.

Katie Sisneros—a Tangential founding editor and a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of Minnesota.

John Jodzio—author of Get In If You Want to Live (Paper Darts, 2011) and other story collections.

Becky Lang—creator of The Tangential and a creative at Zeus Jones.

Jay Gabler—a Tangential founding editor and the editor of Unreality House.

Sarah Heuer—a Tangential editor and a cowriter of PhiLOLZophy.

Crispin Best—editor of For Every Year, guy who recently ran through a parking area yelling, “I’m going through a lot right now!”

Heidi Schatz—a Tangential editor.

Kat George—managing editor of Portable.tv and contributor to Vice, formerly an editor at Thought Catalog.

Kelsey McDonough—a Tangential staff writer.

Christopher Vondracek—a Tangential staff writer.

Chrissy Stockton—a Tangential staff writer and a cowriter of PhiLOLZophy.

Order your copy now! And those in Minnesota America this space-time dimension, watch for details about a publication party and Tumblr meet-up on in February at the Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis.

Five Reasons Why Instagram is Worth a Billion Dollars

Well, I don’t know about a billion dollars—I’m no venture capitalist. But over the past couple of weeks I’ve realized that Instagram has become my #1 go-to social app: if I’m waiting in line at the bank or hung over in bed, I’ll open Instagram before checking Twitter or Facebook or even Tumblr. Why is Instagram so great right now? Here are five things it’s got going for it.

1. It’s a visual Twitter. “Limits equal freedom” sounds very Big Brother, but it’s a lesson Facebook learned from the sparkly train wreck of MySpace, and that Twitter learned from Facebook, and that Instagram has now learned from Twitter. Instagram doesn’t have any links or events or apps or even GIFs—it’s just a steady stream of photos. There’s something soothing about that; you can watch it like a movie.

2. Filters. There’s been much discussion about whether Instagram filters are for twee dilettantes (versus Serious Photographers), but take away the names and the frames, and Instagram filters are really just an accessible version of the tools Serious Photographers have always had access to: changing brightness, contrast, and saturation. A filter can’t make a bad photo good—no more than Photoshop can fix a screwed-up DSLR shot—but it can enhance and clarify, making the photo more attractive and effective. Having that tool onboard is a no-brainer for a good photo sharing app.

3. Integration. I use Instagram for almost all my photo posting now, because it’s so elegantly integrated with other social media: when you post a photo to Instagram, you can easily select which other networks you want to share it with. Best of all, it’s much more reliable for uploading than most Twitter photo-sharing services, and way more reliable than the Tumblr app. It’s just the fastest and least frustrating way to share your photos online.

4. It’s at the sexy sweet spot of network adoption. You know that point in a social network’s life when it seems like it’s used by all the people you want to see your shit, and none of the people you don’t? Facebook toppled off this peak years ago, Twitter’s on its way downhill, and right now Tumblr and Instagram are sharing space at the summit. Chelsea Fagan recently wrote on her Tumblr, “I just took the time to write a bottom-of-the-barrel-scrapingly witty status on Facebook and I just kind of sighed and thought, ‘What the hell am I doing here? I don’t want approval from that pregnant chick I went to high school with and my bullshit new-agey aunt.’” That pregnant chick and the new-agey aunt have their Facebook (and Pinterest), and the rest of us have Tumblr and Instagram. For now.

5. It’s mobile-only. Well, not purely. If your Instagram account is open, your photos exist on individual Web pages that are linked to when you share your photos. But those pages aren’t linked to each other, so you can’t navigate Instagram on a browser: you have to use the mobile app. (Try the Instagallery app for your iPad; it feels like seeing your favorite classic movie on the big screen.) That gives Instagram a feeling of intimacy and privacy that makes it feel weirder to follow a stranger on Instagram than it is to follow him/her on Twitter or even to friend him/her on Facebook. Instagram still feels like a little mobile clubhouse. Will Facebook be able to preserve that feeling? Probably not, so enjoy it while it lasts.

Jay Gabler

How to Act Like a “Social Media Expert” on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr

Facebook

• Friend everything that moves.

• Post lots of links about various topics and tag the names of anyone who might conceivably be interested.

• When someone famous dies, immediately post “RIP [Person Who Died]. You will be missed.” Get 83 Likes.

• Complain about how Facebook is always changing their features, but express hushed awe about the next Facebook development, which you happen to know about (via being a social media expert) and which will “change everything.”

• Use the same profile pic you use on Twitter, looking either outrageously friendly or outrageously sexy, whichever you’ve chosen as your personal brand.

• Use a cover photo of either (a) you and your spouse on vacation somewhere picturesque or (b) you lecturing at a social media conference.

Twitter

• Have a bio with links to your various projects, one down-homey fact about you, and one emoticon.

• Make 50% of your tweets about various social media conferences you’re attending, 50% links to social media tips, and 0% anything remotely controversial.

• Whenever anyone says anything even vaguely positive about you or any of your projects, retweet it.

• Whenever any of your projects’ accounts tweets anything, retweet it.

• Whenever anyone retweets you, retweet them retweeting you and preface your re-retweet, “Thanks for the RT!”

• Be absolutely religious about distinguishing between MTs and RTs.

• And most importantly: #HASHTAG #EVERYTHING.

Tumblr

• Don’t have a Tumblr. If you’re ever asked about Tumblr, make a dismissive gesture and perhaps concede that it’s “interesting.”

Jay Gabler

Photo by Jason Garber (Creative Commons)

Bruce Chatwin Visits the Land of Tumblr

The young girl posted a pensive #GPOY and rolled deeply into her duvet. Only yesterday she’d been reblogging unicorns, but on this day she felt an overwhelming ennui that would come to engulf her until she’d be awakened by the scent of chicken nuggets crisping in the oven.

Further down the dashboard, an aspiring poet posted a few spare lines about the futility of attempting to share love unless one loved oneself. She had paged through many wooded landscapes on Flickr before she glimpsed the snowcapped peak and stately firs that would form the background for her macro. Weary after the long wait for Photoshop to load on her MacBook, she decided not to attend yoga on this particular day. Rather, she placed a Lean Pocket in the microwave and padded softly down the hallway in search of her long-awaited freelance check.

The mainstream publications, as usual, had been busily posting charts and images, hoping desperately to draw viewers back to the publications’ home sites. The advertisers had been sounding the drums of discontent, and copies of the print editions were languishing on the shelves of the newsstands and convenience stores. The 30-something web editor untied the kerchief from around his neck and used it non-ironically to wipe the desperate droplets of sweat off the back of his neck.

Below the one-line comics trying to win fans in an arena less competitive than Twitter, below the music bloggers’ interminable rants, below the vintage interiors and the captioned GIFs and the teeth-gnashing responses to anonymous ask box harassment and Angelina Jolie’s leg…there I found myself, drinking sangria and waiting for Topherchris to emerge from the shadows.

Jay Gabler

Social Media Psycho Killers

Craigslist Killer
Modus operandi: Lures you in with promise of $100 couch that may or may not have bed bugs.
Motive: Needs to satisfy sexual and murderous instincts built up from sitting on bed bugs couch alone watching Hoarders for the last three months.
Trademark: Portrayed as handsome go-getting blonde man in Lifetime movie.

LinkedIn Liquidator
Modus operandi: Schedules a meeting at Starbucks, and talks the whole time about how impressed he is with the way you’ve leveraged your synergy to utilize your maximum potential. When you’re checking your BlackBerry, slips cyanide into your skinny half-caf vanilla latte. When you start to have trouble breathing, he leans in close to your ear and whispers, “You’re about to be subtracted from my personal network.” Disappears into the crowd as you seize up and slump to the floor.
Motive: Blames his continuing unemployment on your failure to leave a recommendation on his profile.
Trademark: On his way out, passes by the breakfast-sandwich giveaway bowl and drops a business card that says, “MR. DEATH. Vice-President of Grim Reckoning, Hell LLC.”

Tumblr Traitor
Modus operandi: Stabs you repeatedly in the back, yelling with each plunge of the knife, “Reblog! Reblog! Reblog! Like! Like! Like! LIKE! LIKE!”
Motive: You downloaded and uploaded his photo of a cat in a hamster ball to your own blog instead of reblogging, and it got you featured on the Tumblr Radar.
Trademark: Takes photos of the killing and makes a GIF that he posts to fuckyeahbloodymurder.tumblr.com.

Spotify Slayer
Modus operandi: Waits until you are hypnotized into a relaxed brainwave state from your favorite “chill tune,” and then says, “Have you ever wondered…if you deserve to be alive?” Then a girl and boy in windpants and sweatbands crawl out of your computer, Ring-style, and strangle you with jump ropes.
Motive: Hating on the 99% who don’t give enough of a shit about Spotify to pay for premium subscriptions and think they can get away with listening to copyrighted material for free without dealing with ads.
Trademark: After you are killed, Spotify posts to your Facebook saying you just listened to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

Goodreads Grenadier
Modus operandi: Throws a molotov cocktail through the window of your book nook.
Motive: After being rejected from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, plotted to travel the country killing every single person who gave a five-star review to Gilead.
Trademark: Dresses like Oskar Werner in Fahrenheit 451.

Pinterest Murderer
Modus operandi: Lures you into a backroom at Crate & Barrel to give you a sneak peek of the newest spring collection. Then they lock the door, revealing the back room is actually a dungeon. You must now Pin 4 Your Life, posting as many delicious cookie recipes as you can in five minutes. If they are not delicious or wacky enough (no savory surprises?), you get spray-painted pink and mortified into a house accessory.
Motive: Driven mad by unreasonably high bar set in life for how delicious the idea of a cookie recipe could be.
Trademark: Messy bun.

Instagram Executioner
Modus operandi: Leaps out from under your kitchen table with a shotgun while you’re taking a picture of your omelet and cries, “Let me filter that for you!”
Motive: Spent two years as a political prisoner in a remote Tibetan jail where he was starved to the point of death. Was allowed to use his laptop, but the only social network that the government didn’t block was Instagram. Went insane.
Trademark: Takes a photo of your blood-spattered corpse and posts it to your Instagram account with a Kelvin filter and the tag #GPOY.

Path Psycho
Modus operandi: Steals your address book info and then shows up at your house when you are doing one of your favorite things, like enjoying a peppermint mocha, and declares, “It’s time to freeze your moments. Prepare to be paused!” (Yeah, Path talks weird.)
Motive: Jealousy over your devotion and activity on other social networks. “Why not me!? Why not meeeee!?”
Trademark: Leaves a press release for Path’s upcoming collaboration with Nike, signed, “So ha.”

Google Plus Minus Man
Modus operandi: Kills himself.
Motive: Loneliness.
Trademark: Leaves a suicide note on his Google Plus profile. Weeks go by before anyone realizes he’s dead.

Becky Lang and Jay Gabler

Photo by Emerson Quinn (Creative Commons)