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USC Students Start "Friends With Tanks"

Erika Ostroff |
September 26, 2011 | 4:56 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

(Friends With Tanks)
(Friends With Tanks)
They come in different shapes, sizes, colors and cuts. Some contain graphics, while others are plain. They are most popular in the summertime and are sported by men and women alike. They are tank tops – but there is more to them than meets the eye for two University of Southern California sophomores. 

Janey Feingold and Andrew Schneider are the co-founders of “Friends With Tanks,” an interactive photo-blog website featuring a variety of tank tops.

The website’s efforts go deeper than just displaying the tops’ simple style and design. 

“Friends With Tanks is also a bulletin board for causes to market themselves or their causes,” Feingold explained.

According to the blog creators, there is meaning and a message behind each tank top, and they strive to share the meaning and promote the message through their blog. 

The tanks displayed on the blog sometimes promote charity events. For example, “Friends With Tanks” features pictures of tank tops that promote Swim With Mike, USC’s annual swim-a-thon, which raises money for the USC Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship Fund.

The students came up with the idea for “Friends With Tanks” in August. Feingold and Schneider came up with the idea while working at a summer camp in Maine. Feingold worked as a web photographer and had been snapping shots of campers all summer long. After editing her photos, Feingold decided to approach Schneider with a camera in hand and suggested that they should start a blog together when they returned to USC. 

“After I went up to him on a whim, I took a lap, took more photos, and decided it should be a tank top blog,” Feingold said. “His response was a plain but passionate yes!” 

Feingold proposed the idea to create the blog – a blog about tank tops. The two entrepreneurs decided to call the blog “Friends With Tanks” – a play on the expression “friends with benefits.” Schneider, who directs the marketing and sales, mentioned that like the saying, the name of their website has a hip, young connotation. 

“Friends With Tanks” was established Aug. 15 and the first set of “Friends Wearing Tanks” was uploaded to the website. For the first month “Friends With Tanks” was strictly a Tumblr photo-blog website that allowed viewers to scroll through a series of pictures of various people in different tank tops. Since then, the site has taken off to combine several social media aspects like Facebook and Twitter (@tweetyourtanks). The website was created around the idea that every tank top is made for a reason and thus, there is an idea behind every tank.

Most of the pictures are taken at tailgate events, games, charities and various campus programs. The website generates viewers because people want to see if they made it on the site or not. 

The site has been functioning for only a little over a month, yet the number of followers, fans and viewers is unsurpassed. According the Facebook Fan Site Daily Report, as of Sept. 21, “Friends With Tanks” had 635 interactive users who upload photos or view the site. In one week alone, the site received 134 Facebook “likes” and 695 visits.

Feingold, who manages the technological aspect of the website, such as taking pictures, uploading them to Facebook, and updating both the Twitter and Tumblr accounts, worked hard with Schneider to make their website different than any other blog on the radar. 

“When you’re managing social media, you have to think of the voice and character that you use,” Feingold said.

The two came up with a unique language style for the site. All tweets and photo descriptions use words that one would use in conversation “to a bro that you’re buddies with, not a bro that your bros with,” according to Schneider.

They created a voice that would appeal, but not be limited to, USC’s Southern California casual audience.   

“Friends With Tanks” is expanding beyond just a photo-blog. It has an affiliated Youtube channel called “Tanks TV,” which features philanthropic organizations and helps promote the tank tops behind the cause. Viewers can also upload their own pictures onto the blog. A game-day tank is already available to purchase. In the future, there are plans to create a weekly newsletter called “Tank Tuesday,” which would highlight the story behind a featured tank top. Also, there are plans to add a “rank your tank” section to the website for an interactive feature and to sell monthly limited edition tank tops.

“Tank tops have really evolved to be part of our culture,” Feingold said. “They were even featured in Fall 2012 New York Fashion Week.”

Reach Erika Ostroff here.

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