Monday, 8 August 2011

Week 8, Extra Thing: tumblr and posterous

Blogophobia: fear of blogs and blogging.
Her blogophobia was a kind of online stage fright: what if someone actually READ what she had to say?

I used Urban Dictionary to self-diagnose this last year during 23 Things. It all started when I tried to make my post on RSS feeds interesting. After staring at Blogger's blank, white, empty content box for a full four and a half minutes I couldn't even summon a vaguely witty title. Fear struck! My palms began to sweat. Just when I was about to file myself under a rock and die of librarian blog-related shame I remembered that it doesn't have to be this way.

tumblr- for truly fearless blogging

I feel that whereas Blogger and Wordpress demand words with menaces from me, tumblr has a lighter, more cajoling touch. It handles posts consisting of mainly images, video, quotations or audio as easily as text, and subtly adjusts the parameters to suit.

tumblr navigation- effortlessly simple

The drafting area is simple, uncluttered and encourages you to write naturally, but the biggest thing about tumblr is that it isn't about the big posts- it's about documenting things as they come. Don't get me wrong, I've written some detailed posts on there, but it is so quick and easy to post that I find myself more inclined to share my snapshot view of the web wherever and whenever I can.

tumblr is often described as blogging lite, or halfway between a tweet and a post. Although these definitions only tell part of the story, they do highlight the immediacy of tumblr.You can set up your blog with minimal faff- the only hold up is coming up with a suitably trendy name! A range of tools and extras means that you can send your posts by email, clip them from the web and even telephone them in (should you wish). Innovative and easy ways to post are also available for smartphones.

Where the wild things are?

tumblr does have a reputation as being the home of the hipsters and Harry Potter obsessives, but it is also a genuinely creative space. Users can choose from over a 1000 themes, customise the CSS or create from scratch, this freedom and flexibility is great for experimenting with bits of code, and there are scores of helpful people who can teach you neat tricks with javascript, JSON and other scary words.

What really sets tumblr apart is the social dimension, as well as actively creating your blog you can follow others receiving updates straight to your dashboard. Not quite a Facebook or a twitter feed, this has a true community feel as you are encouraged to reblog (a bit like retweeting) each other's posts. Some big players have also joined in the fun, taking the opportunity to share quickly and efficiently- The New York Times and the Washington Post host their respective style sections here, and the New Yorker's tumblr looks enviably good.

Librarians on tumblr

Join the growing librarian community on tumblr, including our very own Annie, have some fun and mix it up with Cambridge Noir exploring the fictional dark side of town and the truly bizarre experience that is Garfield minus Garfield.

posterous at Judge Business School

Fuild icon for Posterous by dolphinsdock, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  dolphinsdock

Our posterous was set up in minutes one afternoon in May, it was intended to support a course in New Media aimed at a small group of research students. I had two requirements: first to act as a paperless handout detailing all the tools we planned to showcase, secondly I needed to host video content and key links to be accessed during teaching. Despite our advertising only running to "key cjbsinfo posterous into Google" we reached almost 200 views in the two weeks following the course.

Subtly social

An unexpected strength of posterous is how adaptable it is to group work. At set up you can choose whether to opt for a completely private blog (ideal for family or group newsletters) which acts as an email list with extra knobs, bells and whistles, or a public blog, but whatever you choose it's easy to add extra authors at any stage. This and the ease with which you can import a blog is where posterous has the edge over tumblr. I set up a group tumblr for my bookclub and found it disappointingly faffy.

The final results aren't as impressive as tumblr, but there are people out there using it for educational purposes- try BBC Earth or Scott McLeod's Mind Dump, and if I was setting up a group blog it would be my first choice.

Extra Credit

Comparing Tumblr and Posterous- 40tech

Tumblr: An Introduction Guide For Microblogging – Part1-1WD.CO

HOW TO: Get Started on Posterous- Mashable


  1. I love this post Annie, you write SO well! I'm running quite a bit behind [only just posted on Thing 5 - that'll teach me to go off on holiday]. Thanks for your comment on my library photos :-) Jen [Squirrel Library]

  2. Thanks Jenny but it was Ange who wrote this one! (She does write very well though!)