Tumblr: yet another Internet timesuck. Without the benefits of social networking of Twitter, and without the benefit of readers of Blogger. So how do writers turn this randomly eclectic collection of images, audio clips, quotes, links and videos to their use?
Before I elaborate, let me briefly detail the finer points of Tumblr: it’s a micro-blogging platform, which means that, rather than writing/creating original full-length content, the focus is on small pieces: single snapshots, a short inspirational message, a funny video of the day. What makes Tumblr so powerful is the ease of sharing: by encouraging users to “reblog” posts that interest them (“repinning” in Pinterest is the same concept), one photo can reach multitudes and multitudes of Tumblr users in one hour. It’s why it’s normal to have Tumblr followers in the two-hundreds within a week: like-minded bloggers find each other very easily on this platform.
So: how do writers use Tumblr?
1. A personal Tumblr. Obviously, a personal Tumblr is the simplest and most effortless way to use Tumblr. If you go this route, the Tumblr users you follow and are followed by will most likely be fellow writers or people you know who are interested in what you’re interested, and vice versa. Get started by finding blogs focused on your interests, be that cooking, soccer, greyhound racing or XHTML. (You’ll find all that and more on Tumblr, promise.)
2. A writing-related Tumblr. A quick search for the tag “writing” within Tumblr can turn up dozens upon dozens of gems in graphic, quote and video form in an instant. Reblog your favourites, and if you find writing-related tidbits on the Internet in other places, it’s easy to post it to Tumblr (providing a source, of course) to add to your collection. A writing-related Tumblr blog can be a place of inspiration, a space to vent frustration or a veritable community of like-minded writers.
3. A Tumblr related to your book. This is probably the most reader-/audience-focused approach. R J Anderson, author of Ultraviolet (yes, it’s YA, sorry!), has a Tumblr for quotes, images, etc. related to her book, and since her novel focuses on synesthesia, a lot of her content focuses on that condition, which makes for very interesting reading. If I were to create a Tumblr for my current WIP, Faking the Aurora Borealis, there would be a continuous stream of horseback riding-related content, since riding figures largely into FtAB. This type of Tumblr is perfect for readers looking for more insight into your novel, and plus it’s fun to dedicate a little bit of cyberspace solely to the masterpiece you’ve been working on for so long.
Now that I’ve laid out three methods to use Tumblr, I want to know: do you use Tumblr already? And how?