Today if you want your own personal zone in cyberspace, it is easier than ever. You also have no shortage of choices in regards to “how” you want to be online and “what” you want to do online. But before you make the leap to start building virtual cornerstones, it would be wise to sit down and do a personal reflection of what you actually want to accomplish in cyberspace.
All done? Ok — let’s move on!
First of all as cool as Tumblr is, it will do you no good to create an account and then never use it. Also my own personal opinion is that Tumblr is too unique to just be another distribution channel of the content that you pipe out elsewhere (although some cross-pollination is good, you’re missing out if you don’t create new content on Tumblr exclusively).
So if you blog, are on Twitter, etc., you may not understand the point in even bothering with Tumblr. Well it is for the same reason why we have house phones, cell phones, and Skype all in our homes (although some of us may lack one or the other…we don’t disparage those who have all of these things): different modes of use and a different audience.
So here are 5 good points to consider when it comes to Tumblr:
#1 – It makes blogging easy. I know they say that nothing worthwhile in life comes easy, but Tumblr just may be the exception here. Setting up your account is a cinch and posting is even easier. When you log into your account, you’ll see something like this:
From here, you just click on what type of content you want to post and then all of the dialogs are to help create your post.
#2 – It’s beautiful. I’ve been around the web and website creation long enough to know that there is a big difference between creating a website, and creating a website that people actually enjoy visiting. Even with the widespread use of templates, blogging and CMS platforms, you usually have to either have design skills or be willing to pay in order to get a beautiful looking website (you can get a decent looking one for free). Somehow Tumblr escapes this stereotype, with hundreds of gorgeous free templates that you can use. And you don’t even have to search high & low for them. Just go to ‘Customize My Blog” and on the left-hand side, you’ll see a link to themes. Both free and premium (which tend to be even more awesome…but still very affordable) themes will appear – with the demo utilizing your own content. In some cases, you can even install a theme from someone else’s blog that you like.
#3 – It’s communal. It is possible (although I don’t encourage it) to “create” an entire blog on Tumblr without ever having to create your own content. Weird? Well, not really. It’s sort of along the lines of why re-invent the wheel if you don’t have to. Similar to Twitter, if you see some content that you like, you can ‘reblog’ it, and ta-da…it’s now on your latest blog post. The content’s originator is left with a “note”, showing what you did…so reblogging has an air of love to it. If you don’t want to re-publish the content, you can just “heart” (similar to “like”) a post, and that is also left as note on the original post. Most Tumblr templates provide a link to where you can see all of the notes with links to the Tumblr blogs of those who left them.
So in short it becomes very, very easy on Tumblr to find others who like the same things that you do and then follow them — they can follow you — find others that are leaving notes on each other’s blogs — and the cycle continues!
#4 – It’s a safer zone – privacy-wise. Tumblr is more tolerant of being anonymous. Sure, you can provide as much information about yourself that you want and provide all types of links to your other social networks if you wish. But for the most part, those who follow you are going to be streamed with your content. Your own blog, depending on the template, will mainly show your own published content. If you want to hide your interactions with other blogs, you can (although you can show up as a “follower” on another’s blog…depending on their template).
#5 – It encourages a rich media mix. Expanding on the first point, Tumblr blogs really do have an eclectic feel to them. Sometimes you just want to post a song, or a picture, or a quote, and then let people weigh in (or just love or reblog). I see my own Tumblr blog as a place where I can just publish whatever whims catch my fancy. On Tumblr media isn’t just a link — they all have their own unique “post-type” template that frames the content media in a special way. While this varies from template to template, it is still an ingenious concept (a different look for different types of posts) that has the potential to really make your Tumblr blog ‘come to life’.
There are a lot of great how-tos on the web for learning the ropes with Tumblr; so you might want to check those out. But you also shouldn’t discount the power of some good inspiration. Look to see how others are using Tumblr; and perhaps that’s all you really need to jumpstart your own blog on Tumblr.