What is Tumblr

This is a guest post by Jill Shearer, creator of SimplyLaunch.

It’s part of a blogger’s job to keep abreast of changes in the blogging world and to take advantage of new and improved tools. Anything making your job easier and more effective as a blogger should be a welcome change.

One of those changes could be Tumblr, a microblogging program developed a mere four years ago and which has recently taken over WordPress.com as the blogger’s favorite platform, according to Mashable. Tumblr has also attracted well-respected news outlets such as Huffington Post and the NY Times Style Magazine.

What Makes Tumblr So Different

Working online is hardly a static process. As technology and needs evolve, so do the tools by which we communicate.

  • Tumblr appears to be a combination of Facebook and a webpage – you can post text, video, audio, links and photos.
  • It is also possible to post a chat all from one easy interface.
  • Additionally, you are able to repost blogs which makes it easier to maintain a social presence across multiple platforms.
  • Tumblr allows more than just the 140 characters of Twitter, which in turn is perfect for posting short quotes from longer articles and including links to those articles.

Tumblr creators have kept the interface clean and simple to use, a boon to those with a lot to do and little time in which to accomplish it – to that end, Tumblr makes it possible to post from anywhere – browser, phone, desktop or email.

More Tumblr Perks

There are some more perks to Tumblr you just don’t find anywhere else. For instance, you can enter posts in a queue and Tumblr will stagger their automatic posting. Sure, this is a service available through Hootsuite or a similar program, but you can do it right from the central interface of Tumblr.

Another is the ability to see just who is reblogging or linking your content. This is more than just an ego boost – with this information, you can connect with the people who are showing an interest in what you’re doing, thus targeting your audience. You can make this information public or private at your discretion. This seems to be one of the most valuable attributes of Tumblr.

With Tumblr, Less Is More

Sometimes, as a blogger, you just don’t have the time to invest in a post every day which can take hours to craft. You readers are counting on quality posts, but as any blogger can testify, it is a time consuming affair. Tumblr can give you the option of posting on the run in between more detailed work. It’s also a good way to keep in touch over the many social platforms you have to negotiate in the course of a day.

Since the advent of Twitter, we’ve all gotten used to how easy it can be to entertain a large group of followers by Tweeting short, significant messages. This is part of what makes Tumblr so attractive.

Should You Make The Switch

Actually, there’s no reason for an either/or mindset here. WordPress is still the gold standard for professional blogging. With a full range of website tools including thousands of plugins designed to customize your site to make it anything you need, there is also a wide array of free and professionally designed themes. However, Tumblr also offers free and professional templates and the opportunity to customize your Tumblr presence to reflect your personal design.

The end product of both a Tumblr and a WordPress blog are the same. It really does depend on your online workload and goals. Tumblr does make it easier to share content and provides a better opportunity for your posts to go viral. Although at this point Tumblr is weighted more in favor of short posts with an emphasis on video or visual posts, it can be used in conjunction with a WordPress blog in which a subject can be examined in more depth.

The bottom line is Tumblr is another social media outlet and tool which can be used to enhance both WordPress and Twitter. Each has their own unique perspective, but there’s no reason all three can’t be used to support the efforts of the other. The numbers state that Tumblr has overtaken WordPress in the amount of blogs it supports, but the numbers could be misleading. It’s not that bloggers have jumped ship or chosen one over the other. Bloggers are just starting to see the benefits of both and harnessing the power of one to support the other.

Do you have a Tumblr blog? Do you find it aids in your blogging strategy? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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  1. says

    I don’t have a Tumblr account/blog myself and I’m not planning on either. I have a hard time already to keep up with the three big ones: FB, TW and G+, plus of course blogging :)

    But it was nice to “get served” what Tumblr actually is. I’ve been wondering it, and had a few theories, but now I know exactly what it’s about.

    Just don’t hear much about it, so maybe it’s not (yet) widespread?
    Klaus just posted MobileMe Gallery & iDisk alternative when MobileMe shuts down

    • says

      I agree with Klaus,
      I looked at Tumblr several months ago and agree that it could have some benefit for creating quick and simple blogs for link building or micro blogging, but I didn’t see much appeal for me.
      Maybe I am just used to wordpress, but I don’t see how it could overtake wordpress as the bloggers favorite platform. Of course, Mashable would certainly know more about that than me.
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  2. says

    I’ve known about tumblr for a while now and I just started a page (nothing on it yet).

    For me I see it as a way to compliment my main site which runs on the WP platform and will (hopefully) help drive traffic back to it. I’ll be using it to posting smaller articles and share pictures/videos.

    It’s also really easy to interact with other tumblr users and pages which is a bonus.
    Thanks for laying it out for us :)

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  3. says

    Tumblr certainly has it’s benefits for those that can effectively use it. For my business, it doesn’t quite fit since I want to do more than microblog. I have seen so many people use Tumblr very effectively and I am amazed at how well they use it and reach such a large audience.

    Tumblr is really great when used properly. :) Thanks for this great breakdown!
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  4. says

    Yo Jill,

    Yea, I like the fact that it combines a lot of the functions in other popular platforms. It’s definitely an evolution of technology in our space. I can agree that your end goal, or operating mission will influence your choice in a platform. Your post makes me curious to mess with it a bit more, and try to understand it. Thanks for that!
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  5. says

    I have had a tumblr (troyp.tumblr.com) account for a while, but haven’t really found a good way to use it. Instagram has helped bring it back to life a little, but still seems disconnected from my fitness blog.

    Like others have said it takes time and producing quality content on one site takes priority. Now if I could find a way to weave it into the creative process for the main site …. now that’s an idea.
    Troy just posted Move It Or Lose It | Exercise For Injuries Interview with Rick Kaselj

  6. says

    I did explore a few Tumblr based sites a while back. I’m sure there is a lot more to it, but I just didn’t like any of the design layouts that I visited. I don’t know if there are better ones available or how much they allow you to change things. Also, if there is an option to use your own domain name or not. I was reading an article that said Tumblr had more actual blog accounts and more daily posts than WordPress. It didn’t really specify, but I assumed they were comparing Tumblr to free WordPress . com sites. I think I will stick with WordPress for a while.
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  7. says

    I’ve got a lot of friends over at Facebook who also have Tumblr accounts. I think they complement each other since whenever someone makes a new Tumbr post they can immediately announce it over at Facebook.

  8. says

    I have a Tumblr blog but mostly for testing purposes, I am still figuring out the whole platform. I use it often to share posts I liked reading, like I will share this one after leaving the comment.

    I think it can be a great platform and success for anyone that will commit to it. With so many things on my hands I can’t devote time to it. But it is an universal rule that you can be successful in anything you master.

    I also think there is so much more to Tumblr and that it is perfect time for people who want to master it and in near future become “Tumblr experts” seems it is becoming more and more popular every day :)
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  9. says

    I did check out Tumblr a while ago after I saw an interview with the creator of it – he explained how he wanted to create something that makes it effortless for people to share all types of media.

    I thought it was pretty cool and very easy to use and set up. Importantly, it does what the creator intended it to do. However, WordPress offers so much more functionality and detail for the professional blogger and even website creator so it’s a no brainer for me to stick with WP. Furthermore, as most people use WP I can only see it getting better :)
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  10. says

    It is the first time I hear about it and of course I will try to use it as it is very catching as if it is as beneficial as you describe, it will be just awesome.

  11. says

    I do actually hold an account with Tumblr, though the only thing I use it you is to create some backlinks.

    I have no idea if it’s of any use, but since I do not spend extra time bookmarking, I do not think it does any harm either 😉

    If you would like to see what a profile can look like and/or would like to follow me, here’s my profile link: http://buildinganonline.tumblr.com/
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  12. says

    Great observation Jill,

    I do have a very small tumblr blog. not very active on it though.

    I hear a lot of people use tumbler as a backlinking building web 2.0 property.

    One thing is for sure though, it has been making some serious noises and its becoming more and more popular whcih is why I think Google places some weight on tumbler blogs when it comes to SEO.
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  13. says

    I’ll be the first to say it; I hate Tumblr. I hate when I click on a link on Twitter and I’m taken there. I hate seeing the types of comments those things get. To me, it’s more of a spur of the moment thing, I have a picture thing, I have a quote I want to say thing, and nothing of any substance. That might sound harsh to all the people that love it but it’s my feeling. Course, I might not be the proper demographic for it either since I remember TV before the MTV generation.
    Mitch Mitchell just posted You Probably Aren’t Going To Meet Her

  14. says

    Hi Jill,

    Nice post from you :) I agree that Tumblr is getting its stand online very quick. I actually am using Tumblr as a part of my linking strategy and it works very well. The flexibility and customization it offers are top notch. But I’m using WordPress, Blogger and other platforms as well. They form strong Web 2.0 foundation if you ask.

    Thanks again for sharing, have a nice day!


  15. says

    Hi Jill
    I recently created a Tumblr blog/account. I am still pretty new to it and don’t use it that much. I kind of use it for the thinks that does not fit on my WordPress blog. I am not sure what to think about it yet, but it might be easier for many people to start out with than a WordPress blog.
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  16. says

    Great post about Tumbr. I’ve heard about it before, but by name only and didn’t get much information about it. But it sounds really interesting, and must be a major player if it’s competing against wordpress.com. I’ll look into it, and may create an account to check out the features. Thanks for the info. :)

  17. says

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about Tumblr. I have a simple WordPress blog and it works well for me. I’ve found Social Media to be more of a chore than an enjoyment and I don’t think I can add anything more to the mix but maybe Tumblr will make things easier rather than harder. I’ll definitely check it out. Thanks for sharing!


  18. says

    I used Tumblr a few times. Here is a question hopefully someone can answer…. From what I understand the links you create get counted as backlinks. Unfortunately when other people create links your old link gets pushed off the page into the notes section. This section appears to sit behind Java script and does not get counted anymore. Basically your links are very short lived. Is this true?