Tumblr’s popularity in the recent years is difficult to overstate, and with over 108.5 million registered blogs and more than 20 billion page views per month, it is not so surprising that Yahoo shelled out $1 billion to purchase the ever expanding blogging platform. Tumblr’s rapid success may be attributed to its creators’ ability to read and successfully profit from a growing trend in visual content sharing. Tumblr is an efficient image sharing platform, which makes it extremely popular with the younger population of Internet users. It is a microblogging platform, which means each post is short and usually visually oriented. Most importantly, Tumblr is free and extremely easy to use. Registering for a blog takes seconds, after which you are ready to find and share content with other bloggers. This simplicity of use makes up for the platform’s somewhat limited design and function capabilities. But most importantly, Tumblr is fun and fresh, and offers a large community of visually-driven bloggers to share their work and explore new content.
How It Works: The Basics
When you sign up for a Tumblr blog, you get to select your own URL, which will be displayed in a yourURL.tumblr.com format, and pick a theme for your blog. You can select one of multiple free themes, or purchase a custom-designed one. Tumblr’s key feature is its Dashboard, a homepage where the posts by all the bloggers you follow are displayed. Each individual post accumulates notes every time a user reblogs or likes it. Bloggers can create posts in several different formats, including text, photo and video. Content can be organized and shared through a tagging system.
Tumblr as a Microblogging Platform
So if you are planning on creating a blog and are searching for the right platform to display your content, how do you decide whether Tumblr is right for you? Tumblr places very few limitations on the content that you can post, and is extremely mobile friendly. If you take a minute to explore Tumblr, you will notice that most posts are brief, often being just an image, a quote or a GIF. Tumblr bloggers like to blog and look for visual content, so if you are a writer and are looking for a place to publish your work and an audience to appreciate it, Tumblr might not be ideal for you. However, this is not to say that it’s impossible to be a successful writer on Tumblr. You can reach a wide audience and become very popular on Tumblr as a writer if you know how to adapt your writing to this particular platform. Taking into account that simplicity and brevity is key, perhaps you may want to post snippets or small passages of your work on your Tumblr blog, directing your visitors to the site where they can read the rest of it if they are interested. In its few years of existence, Tumblr has already made a few up-and-coming writers and poets get the attention they deserve, even resulting in them publishing books of their work.
Being an image-driven platform, Tumblr is a great place for visual artists to share their work, whether it’s photography, painting or illustration. However, many artists and photographers may also find Tumblr quite limiting in its design and not fully equipped to display a professional portfolio. This does not mean that you should give up all the advantages that Tumblr offers, such as the possibility of getting your work seen by thousands of users. Instead, you can use Tumblr as your secondary portfolio where you can occasionally post your work and through which you can direct your followers to your primary portfolio.
Tumblr is also great for businesses and companies in promoting their products and finding new customers. Again, in order to be successful on this platform, you must find ways to display you content in concise and visually striking ways. Tumblr is most popular among young people who are 13 to 25, so make sure at least some of your content is targeted at that category. Although Tumblr does not allow you to monetize your blog, it is a free and easy way to market your company to an image-loving audience. This platform also provides a great opportunity to grow your business abroad, as Tumblr is widely used in many countries around the globe.
Unfortunately, Tumblr doesn’t offer much in the way of analytics, which can be a deal-breaker for bloggers who like to keep informed about their blog’s traffic, although you can add Google Analytics to your blog’s theme.
Tumblr as a Social Media Network
A big part of Tumblr’s appeal, especially among the younger crowd, is its unique take on social media interaction. Unlike Facebook, which functions almost as a record of your life and online activity, and often draws criticism for its invasions of privacy, Tumblr grants its users full control over how much or how little personal information they want to share. In this way it’s more similar to Twitter, without the 140-character limit. You can run a Tumblr blog on behalf of your real self, your business or a made-up persona. You can also keep it entirely anonymous, or create multiple blogs for different purposes.
The main way of interacting with other bloggers is through reblogging their content and possibly adding your own commentary to it. You can engage another bloggers in conversation via reblogging their text post and responding to it. If the user chooses to have an “ask box” on their blog, you can send him or her private and, if you wish, anonymous messages. You can keep track of your favorite bloggers’ activity by following them; however, you are not obligated to follow anyone who follows you. In the end, you get to choose how much interaction you have with any fellow blogger.
Finally, if you like to keep all your social media integrated, you have the option of connecting your Tumblr blog to Twitter and Facebook, and publishing your Tumblr posts on these sites. You can control which posts you would like to share and edit your posts before you publish them. You can also install a Twitter widget on your Tumblr blog to have your tweets displayed there automatically.
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