Tumblr Is Encouraging Millennials to Vote by Sparking Conversations About Social Issues

Campaign takes on immigration, LGBT equality and more

Headshot of Christine Birkner

This year's election season and recent tragic events like the Orlando shooting have resulted in heated discussions around the country and on social media about issues like gun violence and LGBT equality. This week, Tumblr launched a new social impact campaign designed to stoke conversations around these issues, encourage people to take action, and get more millennials to vote.

"This year, the stakes of the election feel really high, and there's a lot happening in the conversation that's confusing and could be misleading for young voters," said Victoria McCullough, Tumblr's social impact and public policy manager. "We have a community that's naturally engaged in these issues anyway, so we wanted to play a role in educating them and giving them a voice in the platform, and moving them to a place from being interested to getting involved."

Starting this week, Tumblr, in partnership with MTV's Elect This voting initiative, is hosting a series of virtual Q&As called IssueTime, a spin-off of Tumblr's AnswerTime Q&As. Each IssueTime brings together a panel of experts to answer users' questions about a different social issue, including gun violence prevention, immigration reform, women's health and empowerment, mental health, LGBT equality, climate change and national security.

The first panel on June 27 focused on the history of the LGBT movement and featured experts from the Transgender Freedom Project and the National Center for Transgender Equality. "We had a great response, and the questions were so personal and so thoughtful," McCullough said. "It felt like we were meeting a real need for our users who had a lot of big questions about these issues."

Tumblr also will sponsor "Day of Action" takeovers with various advocacy and nonprofit organizations, posting content about these organizations and encouraging users to volunteer there.

The goals of the campaign are to drive more users to Tumblr and get more young people to vote, McCullough said. "We're trying to get people to realize what the issues are for this particular election—get them excited, fired up—and then show them where and how to register to vote. There's a real concern that millennials aren't going to show up to vote this year, and we want to push back on the narrative."

@ChristineBirkne christine.birkner@adweek.com Christine Birkner is a Chicago-based freelance writer who covers marketing and advertising.