Expert's Opinion

Tumblr 101

By N. Todd Wickersty, Business Bullpen | November 8, 2010

Today’s best social media and blogging platform is attracting more businesses. Read why and how to get started.

Tumblr is a fun, engaging, and extremely easy blogging and social networking tool. It hasn't received the attention or experienced the growth like Facebook or Twitter. Even so, it has amassed over 1 billion posts and 7 million publishers/users. When Tumblr launched in 2007, it attracted artists, photographers, designers, and personal bloggers. It's now attracting businesses and other organizations as a social media and blogging platform.
At a high level, Tumblr is a free blogging platform that allows you to follow other Tumblr blogs. You can use it as an addition to your existing blog or a replacement. You don't have to worry about hosting. Tumblr takes care of that, and you can even use your own domain name. Like Twitter, you can follow any Tumblr blog. All of your followers posts appear in your Tumblr dashboard, which is accessible after you login at Think of the Tumblr dashboard like your Facebook Wall. It's the place where you scan, view, read, and interact with content from the blogs you follow. You and other Tumblr users can like, reply, or reblog other Tumblr content from the Tumblr dashboard. Reblogging is posting content from another site/blog, potentially inserting your own comments and opinions, and providing attribution to the original source. These interactions between Tumblr users are where communities are built.
I've seen a growth in the number of businesses migrating to Tumblr because it offers both the best of Twitter and Facebook and more.Twitter provides the same model of connecting with followers, but Tumblr offers a much richer experience since you can post photos, videos, mp3s, and traditional blog posts much like Facebook. However, Tumblr gives you the ability to effectively manage the signal to noise ratio. Facebook does not, and that is a real problem I have with Facebook as it continues to dominate the social media space. In Tumblr, you don't have to worry about managing a bunch of different privacy settings or blocking certain apps because some of your friends play Farmville and you don't. It's simple in Tumblr. You follow a blog or you don't based on the content that is posted.
While I have focused on the community and social media benefits of Tumblr, I want to be clear that Tumblr is a blogging platform. Therefore, anyone (including non-Tumblr users) can still read and comment on your blog through a web browser. Tumblr offers over 500 beautiful blog designs for free. They are extremely easy to install. In addition, if you have the chops, you can design and develop your own blog through Tumblr's theming platform and API. Tumblr offers the ability to automatically send your blog posts to your Facebook page or profile and your Twitter account. It also provides you with a mobile version of your blog when viewed on your iPhone, Blackberry, or Droid. Of course, like almost everything else these days, there is also a Tumblr app on the most popular mobile devices that enables you to post from your phone.
I've been using Tumblr since 2007, and believe it is the best social media and blogging platform around. It is dead simple to use, low maintenance, and introduces me to a variety of outstanding, entertaining, and interesting content on the web. I can use it for personal interests and professional matters. If you or your business is pondering starting a blog or enhancing your social media strategy, I highly recommend trying Tumblr. You can follow me or my company, Business Bullpen, at

About the Author
N. Todd Wickersty is the founder and co-owner ofBusiness Bullpen, a web application development, design, and marketing firm in Charlottesville, VA. Before starting his own business, Todd spent most of his career helping sales and operations teams get the most out of technology at Accenture, America Online, and Musictoday. His ability to bridge the gap between business and technology has enabled him to successfully grow Business Bullpen into a web solutions firm that clients can trust and rely upon.
Todd founded the Charlottesville, VA chapter of the Social Media Club in July of 2009 and is currently serving as president. His firm worked with Facebook to help develop one of the first Facebook page applications for Live Nation/Musictoday in November 2007 as part of the official launch of Facebook pages. You can find Todd online at

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