When you're scrolling through Tumblr, you've probably run into a post with tons of comments from people saying they'll "always reblog."
While some of them are funny text posts or bizarre .gifs, it's not uncommon to see something different: a kind little reminder to be nicer to yourself, a list of resources for self-care or counseling services for people struggling with depression or mental illness, or maybe just a promise that it will all be okay.
Part of Tumblr's tradition as a website, Liba Rubenstein, Tumblr's Director of Social Impact & Public Policy, told MTV News, is to use the energy, interests and spirit of its users to grow and evolve. That's why they launched Post It Forward, a campaign that encourages users to share their stories of mental and emotional health issues to hopefully fight stigma and offer them some resources for action and healing.
"We've seen how conversations on Tumblr grow into communities of support, and we want our users to have access to the kind of supportive environment that gets built through interpersonal connections," said Jeff D’Onofrio, President and COO of Tumblr said in a recent press release. "'Post It Forward' will help foster those communities by showing people that they're not alone, and we hope that sharing experiences, resources, and words of encouragement will be one way that we can positively overcome these issues together."
It's a lofty goal, but the people at Tumblr have really focused on keeping the spirit and tone of their user's at heart. They're already doing the work and sharing their stories — Tumblr's just pulling them together and giving them a platform.
"I think a lot of this stuff is happening organically by our users," Rubenstein said. "'Post It Forward' is a way for to talk about what they're going through, but I don't think we see ourselves as doing anything incredibly new."
Hashtag campaigns can be risky, Rubenstein concedes, but she's already been impressed and "warmed" by the way the Tumblr community has taken to the tag as a hub for storytelling and conversation about these very real problems.
"They recognize that people are posting about a real variety of issues," she said. "From chronic illness, gender identity and mental health to domestic violence, and they are really talking about them."
For as long as users have been sharing their stories on the site, Rubenstein said, Tumblr has always had a proactive approach to offering their communities resources. The site has search intercepts that come up when a user searches for tags that surround certain issues — like depression, suicidal thoughts, violence, domestic violence, illness, etc. — unobtrusively offering them a few links that might help them out.
But, still, this isn't a "big brother is watching" kind of deal. Post It Forward belongs to the Tumblr community.
"Rather than sending content, I think, for us, this is part of the evolution of Tumblr," Rubenstein said. "It's not a static thing."
So far, the campaign has brought the likes of Brittany Snow (and her organization Love Is Louder), Pete Wentz, Elizabeth Banks, Jordin Sparks, Wendy Williams and Vice President Joe "Uncle Joe" Biden to share their own stories and offer some comfort.
Going into the tag feels like you're stepping into something important. There's so much going on — short videos, .gifs, photos, fan art, poetry — from thousands of people, thousands of friends, who want you to know you're not alone.
"There's just more that can be done to de-stigmatize these issues," Rubenstein said. "You don't need to hear it from me, you'll see exactly what the heart [of the campaign]is in the tag."