What Is Tumblr?

You may have heard of this thing people do on the Web called Blogging.

You also may have heard of a thing called RDF.

RDF is a whole separate topic, but one thing that derived from RDF is very central to blogging and Tumblr: RSS

RSS stands for RDF Site Summary, or more commonly known as Really Simple Syndication. It is a format that represents content available from a website, typically of a serial variety.

Depending on the nature of the site, its RSS may be a summary or full mirror of some or all of the information the site has to offer.

RSS is one popular format for enabling computers to help humans better handle the constant barrage of content on the web. Tools like Google Reader, which of course - has its own blog, can take a collection of RSS feeds to manage the barrage of content.

The key word in RSS is “Simple”. It took a while for that vision to become a reality. Without software tools, RSS is really just a jumble of text and cryptic tags.
One of the key aspects of Tumblr is it aims to make blogging very simple.

The key word in RSS is “Simple”. It took a while for that vision to become a reality. Without software tools, RSS is really just a jumble of text and cryptic tags.

One of the key aspects of Tumblr is it aims to make blogging very simple.

Tumblr Is a Simple Way To Blog.

Everything in Tumblr is designed to make blogging quick, easy, and yet powerful. It starts with the sign-up process, asking only what is really necessary.

The hardest part in sign-up might be finding a short URL. Tumblr has gotten popular and many URLs are taken.

Tumblr provides many of the basic features one might expect for creating a blog:

  • Attractive theming options, many are customizable
  • Draft and queuing features
  • Archive browsing
  • Integration with other social sites
  • WYSIWYG editing with the option to edit the HTML directly

Tumblr’s simiplicity is nice, but the broad feature set is a key distinction.

Tumblr is a little more than just blogging. It provides feature overlap with a number of popular services.

Tumblr is a social blog like LiveJournal.
LiveJournal was one of the first blogging services, and a forerunner in enabling customization with powerful theming.
LiveJournal is also a service that heavily emphasizes social relationships. Its schemes for friending: friend, friend-of, and mutual friend are modeled in many modern social sites. 
Sites like Twitter and Tumblr use the follow/follower model, avoiding some of the awkwardness of emphasizing mutual friendship like sites such as Facebook. Tumblr makes it easy to see how many followers you have, which of your followers you also follow. It also makes it easy to keep tabs on the activity of the people you follow.

Tumblr is a social blog like LiveJournal.

LiveJournal was one of the first blogging services, and a forerunner in enabling customization with powerful theming.

LiveJournal is also a service that heavily emphasizes social relationships. Its schemes for friending: friend, friend-of, and mutual friend are modeled in many modern social sites. 

Sites like Twitter and Tumblr use the follow/follower model, avoiding some of the awkwardness of emphasizing mutual friendship like sites such as Facebook. Tumblr makes it easy to see how many followers you have, which of your followers you also follow. It also makes it easy to keep tabs on the activity of the people you follow.

Tumblr is light weight, like Twitter.
Tumblr invites quick, spontaneous usage but not with size limitations. 
Post a picture
Post text
Post a quote
Post a link
Post a chat
Post a video
The simplicity of Tumblr encourages simple use. It is certainly robust enough to handle power users and length posts.
Tumblr also integrates with Twitter. It can automatically pull your tweets in as posts.

Tumblr is light weight, like Twitter.

Tumblr invites quick, spontaneous usage but not with size limitations. 

  • Post a picture
  • Post text
  • Post a quote
  • Post a link
  • Post a chat
  • Post a video

The simplicity of Tumblr encourages simple use. It is certainly robust enough to handle power users and length posts.

Tumblr also integrates with Twitter. It can automatically pull your tweets in as posts.

Tumblr is a way to collect, organize, and share things like Delicious.
You can add tools to your browser to bookmark your discoveries on Tumblr.
Things you post can be tagged, searched, made private.
When you find things on Tumblr you like, you can post them in your own blog by “reblogging” and Tumblr handles the linking so proper attribution is maintained.
If you don’t want to post it to your Tumblr you can just add it to a list of things you “like”.

Tumblr is a way to collect, organize, and share things like Delicious.

You can add tools to your browser to bookmark your discoveries on Tumblr.

Things you post can be tagged, searched, made private.

When you find things on Tumblr you like, you can post them in your own blog by “reblogging” and Tumblr handles the linking so proper attribution is maintained.

If you don’t want to post it to your Tumblr you can just add it to a list of things you “like”.

As you may have noticed, Tumblr is a little more visually oriented than your typical blogging service, like Flickr.

It certainly doesn’t have the full array of features you might expect from a dedicated photo sharing service, but Tumblr will generate thumbnails and even slide shows.

One of the newer experimental features allows others to reply to your posts with photos.

Tagging and the provided API also allow for the creation of very neat tools.

Of course, Tumblr has many of the same features other popular blogging services provide, like Blogger.
From one Tumblr account you can host multiple blogs and even co-author blogs.
Tumblr generates RSS so people that don’t use Tumblr can still keep track of your blog in other readers.
Commenting is one feature with somewhat limited functionality still. Tumblr integrates with Disqus for a more open format of commenting, but it has it’s own “Ask” feature and a newer feature allows limited text comments for Tumblr users.
One nice feature of Tumblr is you can allow people to “submit” posts to your blog which can be approved or denied.

Of course, Tumblr has many of the same features other popular blogging services provide, like Blogger.

From one Tumblr account you can host multiple blogs and even co-author blogs.

Tumblr generates RSS so people that don’t use Tumblr can still keep track of your blog in other readers.

Commenting is one feature with somewhat limited functionality still. Tumblr integrates with Disqus for a more open format of commenting, but it has it’s own “Ask” feature and a newer feature allows limited text comments for Tumblr users.

One nice feature of Tumblr is you can allow people to “submit” posts to your blog which can be approved or denied.

Tumblr has a very powerful API that allows for, advanced theming, the creation of mash-ups, and custom client software.
What will make Tumblr worth while for you (or not) is the community you create. Finding people to make new connections and discovering new connections with people you already know is the real power of social sites like Tumblr.
Tumblr’s feature choice nudges social interaction to be more direct than LiveJournal and traditional blogs. It is more common for “comments” to come in the form of a reblog than a reply. This results in a dialog with visible presence on both participants blogs much like the “@replies” found on Twitter or “Wall-to-wall” on Facebook.

Tumblr has a very powerful API that allows for, advanced theming, the creation of mash-ups, and custom client software.

What will make Tumblr worth while for you (or not) is the community you create. Finding people to make new connections and discovering new connections with people you already know is the real power of social sites like Tumblr.

Tumblr’s feature choice nudges social interaction to be more direct than LiveJournal and traditional blogs. It is more common for “comments” to come in the form of a reblog than a reply. This results in a dialog with visible presence on both participants blogs much like the “@replies” found on Twitter or “Wall-to-wall” on Facebook.