Archive for Steve Rubel

Are you on Tumblr? What It Is and How to Get Started

Image via CrunchBase

When I read in a Nielsen study that Tumblr ranks third in time people spend on a social network, after Facebook and Blogger but ahead of Twitter, I decided it was time to learn more about it.

Sure, I’ve had an account for quite a while, but that hardly counts as being active.  I’m a regular blogger on my own self-hosted site, post to Twitter and Facebook daily, and I’m very involved with the LinkedIn community. Isn’t that enough? Maybe not. So I wrote my first blog on Tumblr, which I describe later in this post with screen shots of how you do it.

Next Great Social Network?

Tumblr is a blogging platform but much more. The power of Tumblr resonated in a post on Pro Blogger about how a single Tumblr link drove a blog post to the top of Google search. Tumblr says it’s had close to 10 billion total posts and almost 20 million total blogs, more than WordPress.com.

Social media maven Steve Rubel, in a recent post entitled Tumblr is the Next Great Social Network, described it this way, “Tumblr, to me at least, isn’t a blog platform but something new entirely — a social network for both original and curated content that is longer than a tweet and often more visual in nature. It’s a hybrid.”

Through the Tumblr dashboard, you can post text, photos, quotes, links, dialogues, audio, video, slideshows, and more, creating a network effect like the one that drove the Pro Blogger writer’s post to the top of Google search.

How Does it Work?

I decided to write my first post, learning by doing. If you’re new to Tumblr you should first sign up. Here is how the registration page looks (with sample blogs). You simply enter your name, email address and URL from your website at the bottom in the rectangular windows.

Next, you click on “start posting.” You will be taken to a dashboard. Note that at the top of the dashboard there is a Chat icon which allows you to have conversations with other members. You can also upload audios and videos. I added my Tumblr account to my Facebook news feed so my blogs will be automatically posted on my wall. I also chose the option to post them to my Twitter account. Here is the dashboard:

You’re given the option of uploading an image from your own computer or another site. Tumblr has a neat editing program for images, and a variety of blog templates. I initially uploaded an image thinking it would be my blog header, but it ended up at the bottom of my post so I’ll need to figure that out. But if you want to keep it simple, you don’t even need an image. Here is how my plain vanilla post looks:

If you are a new blogger, you might find your first attempts at writing a blog, inserting links and uploading images a little intimidating. I didn’t see any detailed instructions. I’m sure if you do a Google search you can find how-to articles. And, like other social networks, there are discussion forums where you can ask for help.

While Tumblr is growing in popularity, it is still a bit of a mystery to many people, what with Facebook and Google+ hogging most of the spotlight lately. But that’s going to change with Tumblr nipping at their heels in its race to be the leading online community where people spend the most time hanging out.

So are you on Tumblr? How would you compare it to your experience on Facebook and Twitter?