Tumblr: A Different Blogging Style

Have you always wanted to blog, but never known what to blog about? Have you put aside the whole idea because of not knowing how to design or code webpages? If these apply to you, let me tell you about Tumblr.

What Is Tumblr?

Tumblr is a relatively new kind of blogging platform, revolving around the concept of “reblogging.”

Reblog, verb: “to repost an item of interest from another blog to your own, with proper sources and credits already applied for you by the blogging platform.”

In short, reblogging on Tumblr is like retweeting on Twitter, or repinning on Pinterest–you only need to click a button, add comments if you wish, and voila, the reposted content is viewable to your followers (people who receive updates from your blog), with links to the source already included. This is not plagiarism; indeed, it is meant to help original content have a much wider reach and audience. If you like something enough, you can reblog it, and Tumblr will automatically give credit back to the person who originally posted it through Tumblr’s platform.

Of course, you can also create content of your own and post it through Tumblr as well; in fact, many small fansites are now run through Tumblr because of the ease of posting original content. It is an easily accessible platform to blog on–you just sign up, select a username for your Tumblr, and in mere moments, you’ll have a “yourusername.tumblr.com” address for your own blog!

More than a Blogging Platform–a Community

But reblogging is not the only thing that sets Tumblr apart from other platforms. More than on any other blogging platform I’ve tried, there is a strong sense of community between bloggers.

Much like Twitter and Pinterest, Tumblr uses the concept of “followers;” also like them, Tumblr has a sort of “news feed” of all the recent posts from blogs you follow, called a “dashboard” for short. What the Dashboard does differently is to allow commentary between bloggers that has no maximum character limit–very different from Twitter and Pinterest.

Not only that, but you can very easily find other bloggers who share your interests, and build a community with them through reblogging and messaging. I’ve only been on Tumblr since mid-July, and usually just get on at night due to dialup access, yet I’ve already experienced some of that supportive, open community. It just seems so much easier to reach out to other Tumblr users than it was to connect with other Livejournal users or other WordPress.com users.

Using Tumblr: A Crash Course

The Tumblr Dashboard, partly seen here, appears once you have logged in. It allows you to see recent posts from the blogs you follow, as well as post content yourself. The seven different-colored icons stretched across the page are your “content-posting” icons, and below them will appear a feed of the latest posts from the blogs you follow.

Each post you see on your Dashboard will have a top line that reads something like this. Usernames are quoted as “so-and-so reblogged so-and-so” or “so-and-so posted this,” as you see in the image. The number 9.054 on this image stands for the number of Tumblr users who have either liked or reblogged this particular post; the double-arrow symbol to the right is what you click to reblog, and the heart is what you click to like the post.

In this image, you can see that the heart is now red, signaling that I chose to “like” this post. The number 9,054 is now 9,055 in accordance with that.

Tumblr also provides you a quick way to see individual blogs from within the Dashboard. Hovering over the top right corner of any post on the Dash will “fold” the corner; you can then click that corner and Tumblr will open a new window with just that blog visible.

If you choose to reblog a post, this is an example of what you’ll see–content at top left, a place to comment on said content at bottom left, and places to schedule and add tags to your post. At the bottom, you can click to reblog, preview the post, or cancel if you so choose.

To look for posts about a favorite topic of yours, just type in the topic in the “Search Tags” box, and Tumblr will pull up a reverse-chronological list of posts with that tag. (This is also a great way to find new blogs to follow based on that topic choice!

Here, you can see my personal sidebar, off to the right of the posts on my Tumblr Dash. Yours will look a little different, but the basics are here–mostly links to help you run your blog more efficiently. Through the sidebar, you can view all the posts you’ve personally made, a list of all the blogs you follow (and all who follow you), what posts you’ve Liked, etc.

The section I’ve marked in red on this image shows my “tracked” tags. If you want to be notified every time someone on Tumblr posts something with a specific tag, all you have to do is search for that tag, then click the listing for that tag as it sits on your sidebar. Then, every time you log in, you can click that listing again to look at all recent posts with that tag. (Tracking tags is a good way to keep tabs on whatever topic you happen to be a fan of at the moment, as you can see from my personal list. LOL)

Finding Community on Tumblr

The most tried-and-true way to build community on Tumblr is to search for various content through the Tag system, as described above. If you browse through various tags and find that you like the posts by a particular Tumblr author, then all you need to do is click their username, go to their blog, and click “Follow” in the top right corner. This is pretty much how I started following most of the blogs I follow!

From there, building community with other users can be as simple as reblogging what they’ve made and messaging them if you wish. Tumblr, like Twitter and Pinterest, lets users know when others have reblogged their content, and from there they can choose to follow you back if they want to.

You do have to be fairly active and social to find that community for yourself, but I’ve found that Tumblr is a much easier community to involve yourself in–it doesn’t feel quite so insular as other blogging platforms have felt to me. Actually, I feel freer to speak my mind than I do anywhere else online, because Tumblr seems to attract free spirits like myself. 😀

Try Tumblr for Yourself!

It’s as easy as visiting Tumblr.com and clicking “Sign Up!” 🙂

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