I can’t say for sure, but this image has been one of the most stolen things that I have made. Not everyone who posted it “stole” it from me. It starts with someone seeing it on my site. They save it and post it on reddit. Or FunnyJunk. Or 9gag. They conveniently forget to tell anyone where they got it from. Then people see it on those sites and take it elsewhere. This exponential process keeps going until I see my own friends on tumblr reblogging this from someone else.
That is the nature of things. Once the ball is rolling, it is very hard to stop. I accept that and when this happens, I honestly am not bothered by it much.
Some folks will say, “You should watermark that!”
Watermarks sometimes work for art and comics, but for photoshops or captions, they do not. I have not had one occasion in which watermarking has reclaimed me any traffic. Watermarks are ignored. Covered up. Cropped. And because so many sites now place watermarks on images they didn’t create… people are less likely to believe I made the image. When a site does this, they are implying ownership of other people’s creativity. We don’t mind you posting our work on your sites. We encourage that. But don’t brand our shit like it’s cattle.
Beyond that, I honestly hate using watermarks because I don’t like distractions in my pictures. When I see a giant cheezburger or 9gag watermark, it automatically makes the picture less funny to me. They are not subtle. An intrusive watermark says that you might be more interested in people going to your site than being entertained by the pictures you post.
And then we come back to tumblr and this Tupac image. I am not upset that my image has recirculated. That’s actually a sign that I made something people really enjoy. And that makes me feel good inside.
The click-through on this image goes to hip hop laboratory. The source of this image is hip hop laboratory. If you didn’t make it, don’t put your shit in those boxes. If you don’t know who made it, leave them blank. Do not give people the impression that you made something you didn’t. That’s when I get upset.
For some reason, people are under the impression that this will get them oodles of followers. People click on an image, hoping for the high resolution version, and get transported to your tumblr. This annoys people. It does not make them want to follow you. Tricking people into following you does not work.
If you really want to know how to get more followers, I will tell you the secret.
That’s it. The more effort you put in, the more followers you will receive. Cheap tactics may get you a couple of followers here and there. But effort is by far more potent.
Improve your editorial eye. Find fresh content to introduce into tumblr. Get google reader and subscribe to a bunch of non-tumblr sites. When you post to tumblr, make sure YOU are the first to post it. Scoop everyone else. Properly source your posts. If you don’t know who made it, tell us where you found it. Keep your posts cleanly formatted. Do not post something with 400 blockquotes. Have a clean theme. No autoplay. Try making your own content. Learn how to make gifs. And don’t just pull 10 random frames from a movie. Good gifs are about finding special moments and trapping them in a creative time loop. If you do make things, submit your work to larger sites. And if they don’t post it, DO NOT COMPLAIN. Because then they won’t post anything of yours in the future.
That’s all I have to say about that.