Help me understand a few things about Tumblr?
May 19, 2014 10:14 PM   Subscribe

I actually have a few subquestions. I have a tumblr page that I use infrequently and sometimes binge-use, but either way, it is not maintained regularly. It has lots of stuff related to my interests and mostly just reposted stuff and some things about my profession and its results. I just had a major breakthrough in my (artistic) field and am wondering if it would be a good idea to start this tumblr page back.

...will it provide me with an ability to connect/relate/interact with fans in a different way than I can from facebook fan page, twitter, instagram, etc? If I do start it back, it will be both as real person and public figure, and represent everything from my hobbies to my career. If I do this, what are best practices? And can someone please help me understand how people find others and what I should do? For instance, are hashtags important? Do I repost lots of people? Is it important to add a personal comment to every repost? Is it worth going back through my posts that have actually been really cool the whole time and hashtagging all of those - would that create new visibility for it or not? Sorry for the length. Thank you.
posted by jitterbug perfume to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Tagging old posts won't bump them back up to the top of the search results--they're in chronological order. A more effective way to "bump" a post is to reblog your own old posts (with updates/commentary if appropriate!) when you have a lot of new followers.

As far as hashtags go, it really depends on the hashtag. A couple examples of hashtags I've saved, to illustrate:

#Myst has its share of people 'cleverly' spelling mist wrong for foggy photos, nightclub selfies, etc, but has a pretty closeknit set of Myst (the computer game from the 90's) fans who read the tag religiously, reblog each others' posts with commentary, 'like' posts, develop little in-jokes and conversations, etc. It feels like a little ad-hoc community, and if you're making posts about Myst, you should really use the #Myst hashtag and people will pay attention.

Compare that with #burning man. Most posts are relevant, but they tend to be image-only, or links to articles on other sites, and there's not as much of a sense of community/continuity, fewer people posting with the same tag over and over again.

Posting about all your different interests is totally fine! But for the things that you think have a community component, explore the hashtags and find out what kind of community/interactivity component people are used to.

I started following some people who I see regularly in the Myst hashtag, so I see all their posts. Adding personal comments to reblogs isn't necessary, but it helps if you're posting things that might be unfamiliar or less interesting to people who follow you for just a subset of your interests--even if they don't care about Game of Thrones or whatever, they may get a kick out of the commentary you add to the gifs you're reblogging. (Or the really great sentence hashtags that you might add to the post as a sort of sub rosa commentary, like this. Keep in mind that only the first 5 hashtags you add to a post get indexed for a search! So if you make a post with both keyword and snarky commentary hashtags, it's good practice to put the keywords first.)

Do lots of observing and look for the places that people are truly interacting. Look for the ways you can do that too, and figure out the line you want to walk between slick professionalism and silliness/candidness (and to be honest, the mixture of the two is what I think the site does best). Start following blogs that feel more like people and less like photostreams, and learn from them.

I hope any of this is useful! I'd consider my Tumblr use moderate to light but I like it a lot for its fun and connectedness.
posted by rivenwanderer at 11:19 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, and another aspect of reposting: Adding insightful commentary is a great way to get new followers if the post is being reblogged by others who are also adding comments. It means it's a conversation, and when you participate, the other participants can see it and may look at your own blog. If a pretty/funny picture has thousands of reblogs without commentary, though, adding commentary isn't likely to be as useful--the people who are reblogging it are treating it more like a Pinterest pin than a forum thread. (Sometimes I wish Tumblr separated those aspects better.)
posted by rivenwanderer at 11:24 PM on May 19, 2014

If you are an artist, it definitely gives a nice way for fans to reblog your stuff directly from you, rather than some reposter who might not give proper credit.

About hashtags: only the first five tags will cause a post to show up in the 'tracked tags' section. So think carefully about your first five tags, then you can go wild with the rest of the tags if that appeals to you. For instance, use the first five to attract people following tags related to your stuff, then put your organizational tags. Tumblr adds the hash mark to anything added in the tags entry box, so you don't have to.

Also, reblogged posts do not show up in the tracked tags section. Only first time posts.

Some tag trackers get really... possessive about their tags. I recall a small kerfuffle when fans of the BBC Sherlock got mad at fans of Elementary using the "Sherlock Holmes" tag.

Generally it's considered polite to tag potentially nsfw stuff with "nsfw", and for spoilers. Those tags don't need to be in the first five, as tumblr savior checks all tags. It's considered terribly rude to alter a reblogged post (by snipping other people's commentary or the poster's original comments).
posted by lovecrafty at 12:20 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

I follow Seanan McGuire and find her to do a really good mix of posting just stuff that interests her, interaction with fans, some self-promotion (usually reblogs of stuff about her work), and stuff by other writers in her community.

The biggest tag rule is to use them consistently, and if you do reblog a bunch of other people's stuff or post a lot of non-art stuff and people might just want to look at the art on your blog, put a link to the tag that only contains that art so people don't have to slog through your other stuff if they don't want to.
posted by NoraReed at 2:44 AM on May 20, 2014

Oh, one last thing I thought of! If the kind of art you do has any kind of a following, and there are blogs dedicated to it, do your best to find those dedicated blogs (often named "effyeahwatercolors" or similar), figure out what tags they use, reblog things from them, and submit relevant images you've created to the ones that allow/encourage user submissions. Be sure those images are tastefully watermarked/signed with your Tumblr url, because some people reblog without including attribution. Single-purpose blogs can sometimes be sort of a midpoint between community/forum and Pinterest-style collection-making, and can be a good place to get noticed by people interested in what you do.
posted by rivenwanderer at 9:32 AM on May 20, 2014

Anecdata: I personally know a talented painter who is quite active on Tumblr and generates a surprising amount of interest and subsequent business as a result. Mostly beyond his actual geographic area. He takes process photos and has made a couple process/studio videos, posts his interviews with other art blogs, and diligently tags his posts with relevant tags.
posted by a halcyon day at 11:47 AM on May 20, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone! My professional field is music, and secondarily, creative writing, but I post/repost about everything from sports to fashion to inspiration, if that helps anyone suggest anything more specific.
posted by jitterbug perfume at 7:00 PM on May 20, 2014

If you are not already using xkit, you may find it to be very helpful. (It's a browser extension that essentially adds poweruser features to your tumblr dash. There is also an iPhone version.)
posted by ocherdraco at 11:54 PM on July 31, 2014

« Older Shipping comics via USPS - confused by all the...   |   Art Supply Experts: Drawing Grid Needed Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.