Am I using tumblr correctly?
May 20, 2011 5:39 PM   Subscribe

Tumblr is supposed to be so easy... Am I doing it right?

I don't know why I find it to be such a confusing and illogical interface, but I do. Maybe I just don't get it? I was hoping someone could help me understand some of the things I don't understand about it. Firstly, I don't understand why, in order to "favorite" or "reblog" something, I have to find wherever that person's specific "button" (which can be customized, making it more confusing) is to get to the notes of the post, then I have to click favorite and/or reblog, then I have to hit the back button on my browser? That seems really labor-and-time intensive to be the real way to do it. Am I missing something or is this really how one favorites or reblogs things on tumblr?

Secondly, I am seeking tips on how to gain followers when blogging about a pretty (but not completely) narrow subject matter. Am I right to think that a lot of it probably comes from effectively tagging ones content?

posted by jitterbug perfume to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
If you follow the tumblrs in question, you can view the posts via the Dashboard, which has a much easier interface. Also, usually in single post view, on the upper right corner there should be buttons allowing you to easily favorite or reblog a post.

Probably the easiest way to get followers is to follow people, and hope they follow you back, or liking their posts and allowing them to discover you that way.
posted by shoyu at 5:49 PM on May 20, 2011

i hate so much about the interface of tumblr, especially specific blogs. i get around the reblog/favorite nightmare by following people who i think i might like and then interacting with it almost completely through the dashboard. from there the like and reblog buttons are standard. and just recently they fixed it so if you reblog something you don't go back to the top of your feed, you retain the place you were last. if you do this, turn off infinite scroll because i find it becomes very slow after you've loaded a couple hundred images.

as to the followers question - tagging, following people who have similar interests, advertising it where you hang out online (like in your profile here or on flickr or twitter or whatever).
posted by nadawi at 5:49 PM on May 20, 2011

Yeah, I completely interact with tumblr through the dashboard.

As for followers, follow and reblog people who are in your niche. If you have quality content, they'll start reblogging you and you'll pick up more followers that way. My tumblr has devolved into 90% reposted Doctor Who content and I'm getting more followers than ever.

I don't tag. I wish tumblr retained tags during a reblog but since they don't I can't be arsed to do it.
posted by sugarfish at 6:06 PM on May 20, 2011

oh, for browsing my dashboard and reblogging, i really like the android app drumblr.
posted by nadawi at 6:19 PM on May 20, 2011

track up to 20 tags on the sidebar. any more and you won't be able to see the (numbers) of new posts.
posted by acidic at 6:25 PM on May 20, 2011

I think it depends on what your goal is with tumblr. Why do you want followers? If you want people to read and get interested in your subject matter, I'd tag specific to that topic and you'll get people "liking" your posts but they might not necessarily follow you. I had an old tumblr that got a lot of followers quickly because I just reblogged a ton of photos, mostly fashion photos from 15 year olds who also reblogged fashion I share a more thoughtful blog with a friend and we've been slower in getting followers, but people do "like" our posts and it seems people are reading it even if there's no specific response like following and liking. But if you want people to SEE your posts, I can't think of a better way than tagging.
posted by sweetkid at 6:32 PM on May 20, 2011

I started a tumblr thing on January 1st for the sole purpose of acting as a personal repository for my one-thing-a-day-for-a-year project. (I don't reblog anything -- it's just one post a day.) I've never done anything to promote it, but started noticing increasing numbers of followers very quickly. I finally figured out that one of the tags I was using was the same as one of the categories in explore; the editors of that category were highlighting my posts on a pretty regular basis, exposing them to a gazillion people. (The tag on your post will be highlighted in blue when it happens.)

I'm up to 500+ followers now*, including some very prominent people in my area of interest. It actually freaks me out, but it does serve as a great incentive to do my One Thing even when I'm not in the mood. As others have said, having followers and tagging are key, but I'd also check explore to see if there's a specific category tag that applies to your niche.

*Point of reference: My personal tumblr, which I've had since tumblr started, has about 30 followers.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:19 PM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

I use a mix of dashboard (main source) and navigating other people's tumblogs/themes directly. Mostly the dashboard, as others have mentioned, because the UI is uniform.

Do you actually want followers or people to look at your stuff? My tumblr is literally just whatever I feel like posting. While I have 26 followers over the course of a year of posting, my original posts (not reblogs) are liked & reblogged by lots of people. I think people are able to find them because I tag them and it chains from there.
posted by asciident at 1:36 AM on May 21, 2011

I've just noticed a bunch of new followers on my personal tumblr which is mostly fellow Mefites from a thread on the grey where we shared our sites. Can't figure out why.

On the work tumblr its a very specific tag that's gotten traffic coming in pretty fast and some interesting people in the field following.

Until now, I thought it was tags that make the difference.
posted by infini at 7:22 AM on May 21, 2011

Best answer: I hate themes that make it hard to reblog on Tumblr. Lazy design work, I guess.

Instead of a reblog button, look for the date of the post and ctrl+click that, if you can find it. Then, on that post's unique page, reblog should be up in the top right corner.
posted by Jaie at 10:48 AM on May 21, 2011

Yikes -- I hope my comment didn't come across as "Look at me, I have over 500 followers!" I don't even know what is considered a large following on tumblr, my point was really just about how one tag category increased my following, which increases the odds that someone will reblog something, which increases followers, etc...
posted by Room 641-A at 12:31 PM on May 21, 2011

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