Blogadays has taken a bit of a detour as I’ve (re)discovered Tumblr. I originally gave Tumblr a try last November, but wasn’t so sure on how to set up/customize my page and how to use the Tumblr dashboard. On a whim, I decided to revisit it this past weekend, and voila! Everything seemed to make sense.
Here’s how I see Tumblr in relation to Twitter and a traditional blog:
Note: This post assumes that you already know or are familiar with Twitter.
In some ways Tumblr feels truer to the idea of an online journal/scrapbook as I can add on snippets of this or that without having to be as focused. Or maybe that’s how I’m differentiating how I prefer to use Tumblr vs. my WordPress blog. While Twitter is considered a micro-blog, Tumbler feels like a micro-to-mini-blog, and WordPress would be a full-sized blog.
More robust than Twitter. It doesn’t have the 140-character limit, so you can write a bit more. You can follow favorite Tumblr blogs and see the feeds on the dashboard, much like Twitter’s timeline. What I like about Tumblr’s dashboard is being able to see thumbnails of images/video clips along with the text-based bits, quotes, audio, and even chats; if you happen to like an image, just click onto it and the image enlarges automatically within the dashboard.
You can also track tags (topics that you like/are interested in) and see the latest posts pertaining to a tag that appear throughout Tumblr within your dashboard. Right now, I’ve set up my Tumblr dashboard to focus on sending me feeds on food porn and Richard Armitage, my favorite actor—what a feast for the eyes!
Lighter than traditional blog. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed at the idea of writing a full, juicy blog post, when I’d much rather post a comment, an image, or a random thought. Although I can record my thoughts on Twitter, I have to set up separate links for people to view images, and some people just don’t like clicking on links with strange, unrecognizable names (and rightfully so). With Tumblr, however, the images appear as thumbnails in the feed and can be instantly enlarged with a click. I also like being able to quickly publish something from my smartphone if I happen to see something while I’m out and about.
Community and spreading the love. The community aspect is there as well. Anytime I see an image/thought/link that I happened to “like” on someone else’s page, it appears on my page under “Things I Like.” And if someone happens to like an image or comment I’ve posted, it appears on my page as a note as “so-and-so likes this” and I can click on their name to see their blog and learn more about them.
You can also toggle settings to allow/not allow people to post a comment beyond “liking” (for instance, give them a 10-day waiting period—kind of like certain states’ gun control laws—but in this case require them to have followed you for 10 days before being allowed to comment) and decide if you want to invite people to post comments/submit posts on your Tumblr blog or invite them to ask questions.
You can also set up Tumblr so that your feeds automatically appear on Twitter, and likewise you can also set it up so that your Tumblr feeds appear on Facebook as well. (The limit is up to 5 places.)
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Anyway, if you like using Twitter, I highly encourage you to try out Tumblr if you haven’t done so already. As with anything, there’s a slight learning curve and getting used to how things are set up. And, like other social media sites they can easily become time vortices. Be warned.