Tumblr Community Support Director Tess Shebaylo (@tess_marie) spoke to our class last Thursday. She is a VCU alumna who majored in information systems, although she began as a mass communications major. Her career with the microblogging platform Tumblr began when a friend, a writer for RVA News, published an article on the new Tumblr office in Richmond.
Shebaylo actively pursued an opening at Tumblr where she now works as the director of community support. With Tumblr well on its way to becoming one of the most popular social media sites today, it’s surprising to learn that Richmond is the location of one of two offices, but Shebaylo’s former boss Marc LaFountain sparked Tumblr’s interest in locating here.
LaFountain had done customer support work at Capital One and was an avid Tumblr user in his free time. In Tumblr’s early stages, he reached out to see if they would like help with user support. Tumblr eagerly took his help and the rest was history. Tumblr’s office in Richmond has now grown to 25 employees who deal with everything from user support emails to trust and safety issues. Tumblr resides in the same building in Richmond’s Manchester district as Mobelux, an app developing agency, and Circle S Studio, a graphic design agency.
Before Tumblr, Shebaylo had already been an avid blogger. “You get more interaction on Tumblr opposed to classic blogs such as WordPress,” she said.
Her bid to journalists thinking about using Tumblr as a platform is that Tumblr is an invitation for interaction with the audience.
“People don’t see it as publishing content the way you do other blogs,” said Shebaylo. Tumblr allows users to consume media through the dashboard and grab content to put in their personal space.
Besides working with Tumblr, Shebaylo has of course her own Tumblr site , where you can find some of her personal photos of the Tumblr office in Richmond. Shebaylo’s favorite Tumblr is adulting.tumblr.com and she is a big fan of the “Maru the Cat” meme.
Although her life is inexplicably surrounded by Tumblr, she said that one Internet meme describes her very well: “Works for Tumblr, too busy to tumble.”