Tag Archives: Tumblr

Found the Limitations of Tumblr

In my never ending quest to explore, experiment and gain experience with getting my content in front of users on their favorite social media platforms, you may recall that I created a Tumblr blog. The initial account, and the main blog, started out as a blog about sports, which quickly got moved over to what is now my WordPress Sports blog.

The rationale behind going to my own blog was the desire to do more than I could with just Tumblr, especially since Tumblr does not really appear to be a platform that many people not using Tumblr ever, ever look at. I created a sub blog for photography at the time, that also became my photo blog, for the same reason.

I did, however, decide to leave those blogs intact, and push out the WordPress posts to them, based on my comments at the beginning of this post. If you’re a Tumblr user, I want you to be able to see and interact with me on your chosen social network.

Unfortunately, one of the limitations of Tumblr is how it works with sub-blogs, or secondary blogs. My main account was the sports blog, but the photo blog was my sub, or secondary blog, for that account. That works out well enough when you are publishing, but it can be very limiting from an interactions stand point. The problem is that when you “follow” or like anything from other Tumblrs, only your main blog profile shows up. That made it really difficult to interact with the photographer community over there, and Tumblr does not support switching your secondary blog into a main blog, or handing it over to another user as anything but their secondary blog. This didn’t really work as I had hoped.

So, after some research, I created a whole new profile, with a new photo blog on Tumblr. Continue reading

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Smartphones Are Changing How People See The Internet

Reading this latest article about the future of the mobile web, Smartphones: The silent killer of the Web as you know it, I’m struck by the difference between how young people interact with the web, and how us old veterans do it.

Young people don’t use tablets because they don’t see them as necessary for accessing the internet, since their perception is that apps are what makes up the internet. They’ve grown up primarily using their phones, not using laptops with Web browsers. To this generation, it seems slow, purposeless even to go from website to website in a single, sub-par Web browser environment when they can get rich app experiences right from their home screen.

Of course, this sort of information intrigues me in two ways. One, is that part of the reasoning behind using apps instead of a web browser has to be because using a web browser on a phone sucks. Partially that is because sites don’t look good at all at that size even with a mobile theme like the WordPress option I use for this site. It’s better, but not great. Another reason it sucks is because we’ve become so good at redirecting people using phones to an app instead of the website. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to click a link in a blog post on my phone to a news story, and have that site take me to the iTunes store to download their app, or redirect me to the mobile home page of their site instead of the link I wanted to read. It degrades the experience of using my phone to browse the web, so it’s no wonder people are much more likely to use an app instead.

This leads me to the second reason this intrigues me. If it’s true that more and more of the internet “audience” is using mobile devices, and only accessing the web through apps, what’s a website owner to do? As an independent, and unpaid, site owner I can’t pay to have someone develop an app for me. I’ve looked at some of the free “create your own app” services, and frankly, between very limiting licensing and very limited features, they didn’t really provide much of a resource. Not to mention that you still have to pay to be an Apple developer or Google Play developer if you want your app to be available in either of those places.

So it would seem that the only way to get your content in front of this growing mobile audience who doesn’t use a web browser, is to get your content into the apps they do use. This is why I’ve been toying around with various social networks, trying to get my content, and the other content I want to share, in front of this audience. I’ve been using the more traditional routes, posting to Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, but recently I’ve also started to dabble on Tumblr and Flipboard, which seem to be a bit more popular among that younger, smartphone-using, audience. Over at my child abuse blog, I’ve already added a Flipboard magazine, and a tumblr blog. Both are an effort to get that content in front of smartphone users, and hopefully to get them to likewise share it. Over the next few weeks, I suspect I will be doing similar types of things here and on my other sites.

The bottom line is that I have my website in order to share ideas and information with other people, whatever the topic might be. If they won’t come to the site, I should try and get that same information to them another way. Developing my own app isn’t really an option, but getting the content into the apps they already use, is.

The trick is being able to also interact with people in those apps as well so that you don’t appear to just be auto-posting to a social network and dropping out like some spammer, which takes some time and effort, but ultimately that is the goal of all this sharing isn’t it, to spark conversations? So what if they happen in Tumblr instead of in the comments.

As I develop other tools for this site and others, I will be sharing that information, so if you want to use those services to get the content I’m sharing on your smartphone, or know someone who does, they’ll be able to do that.

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Beach Trip

Waves with a Flock On the Horizon

Just wanted to pass along that I’ve got a couple of pages worth of photos over at the photo blog from our recent trip to Myrtle Beach.

While you’re over there, check out the different ways you can follow that site and see new photos as they are posted, by email, RSS, Tumblr or with it’s very own Facebook page.


Looking forward to sharing more photos with you all!

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Tumblr Conclusions

If you’ve been paying attention, I went on a quest back at the beginning of the year to check out the Tumblr blogging platform and see what the big deal is about it. I started out with writing a sports blog, just something for fun and giggles. As I got that off the ground, I started to notice some things about Tumblr in general, one of which is that it is not a good platform for the written word. There isn’t much of it there, it’s a lot of animated gifs, images, videos, and snarky comments. (Also known as every teenager’s perfect site! LOL)

Given that reality, I decided to start up a photo blog there as well, to see if the experience would be different if I had a blog that was all about images and things like that. Sure enough, it was. That blog got some early attention, some likes and reblogs, etc. and generally seemed to be more of a part of the community. I liked it, but with a couple of caveats.

1. I never really felt comfortable having my writing, and my content, only on Tumblr. Even before Yahoo bought the service, I was never comfortable with it. Call it old time blogger syndrome if you want, but I didn’t like the fact that Yahoo could simply make it go away any time they wanted to.

2. Tumblr blogs really don’t get any Google juice unless they are absolutely huge. Absolutely no one ever found any of my tumblr blogs by searching. I even had a hard time finding it searching for things like my name.

3. Tumblr isn’t quite the walled garden that Facebook is, but it’s close. Yes, technically, the blogs are available to be read and commented on by anyone who finds the site, but the reality is that almost all of the traffic came from within the Tumblr community, and sharing really only occurs with reblogs to other Tumblr blogs. Might that change over time as the site becomes more well known? Perhaps, but there was no evidence that it might happen.

4. Reblogs are great for getting your images seen, but do not drive anyone to check out more of your blog. They see the post that was shared by someone they follow, and move on to the next item in their feed.

So, after much deliberation, I decided that I didn’t want to completely abandon the Tumblr community, but I wanted the post hosted on my own site. Luckily, with WordPress, I can have my cake and eat it to. So, I’ve created a couple of sub domain blogs, sports.mikemcbrideonline.com and photos.mikemcbrideonline.com, that will cross post back to the original Tumblr blogs, and I will also be using those blogs to do some reblogging and following other Tumblr blogs when I have a chance.

What this allows me to do, is get all the benefits of WordPress for those sites, adding in some features that I struggled with on Tumblr, like email subscriptions and Categories, and use Jetpack’s built in sharing features along with IFTTT to share some things between both blogs, and import posts from Instagram, etc. I spent some time this weekend getting it all setup, and I think I’ve got it the way I want, but then again, I’m not exactly known for never changing my mind about these things.

So, if you want to talk sports, or keep up with my photos, there you go!

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Random Travel Photo Blog

In my experimenting with Tumblr with a sports blog, a thought occurred to me. I take quite a few photos with my phone while traveling, and some with my camera when I have that with me. Some of them get shared on Flickr, or Instagram or Facebook, but when I want to point people to my photography using the link from here, I don’t really have one link to point them to.

Since Tumblr is really designed for photos and videos, I thought why not take advantage of cross posting abilities and a fe IFTTT recipes, why not make a photo blog where people who don’t want to try and decide whether to follow me on Facebook, Flickr or Instagram, can see some of the random photos I’ve been taking while on the road? So I added a second Tumblr blog:



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Tumblr Impressions: Commenting

So as I’ve been using Tumblr a bit as a fun little experiment, one of the things that struck me about the service is the lack of commenting. That seemed a bit odd to me. Sure I could always reblog a post and make my own little note about it, but sometimes I just wanted to make a comment, not create a new post on my blog.

Now I get that Tumblr is designed around the reblog, I’ve even had a couple of things reblogged, and reblogged a couple of things myself so it’s not completely foreign. It’s actually kind of a cool little feature, and super simple. But, I sort of missed just having comments.

Then today, I stumbled across a Tumblr blog that had comments. In fact, it had Disqus running, the same commenting plugin I use on WordPress. Sure enough, I went over to Disqus and registered the Tumblr blog over there, and getting comments using Disqus really couldn’t have been any easier.

So, strike down that first impression of Tumblr. I’m sure I’ll have more impressions as I continue along!

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Recently, a friend contacted my wife and I asking about good places to start a blog. The request reminded me that while I had seen many articles talking about the success of Tumblr as a blogging platform and a community, I really hadn’t spent any time trying to figure out what the appeal is. So, in the interest of sating my curiosity about Tumblr, and to have a little bit of fun, I have started a Tumblr blog, Mikemac on Sports.

Obviously, the goal here is to just have something to play around with and to have it be something different from my WordPress sites. So I decided to just be a sports fan over there and have fun with it. If you want to follow it over there and talk sports a bit, c’mon over and check it out, and we can learn a bit more about Tumblr while we’re doing that.

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Unprofessional Marketing Materials

Is it just me, or does unprofessional stuff showing up in marketing materials change your impression of a company? Case in point, when they send marketing emails as high-priority items, or send an email with so many included images that it slows down your Outlook, do you think less of the product they are selling?

Yes, today I got an email marketing a conference marked as high-priority and including 19 images of all the sponsor logos. It doesn’t do much for how I feel about that conference, I tend to feel like if you’re this careless with technology in your marketing, you wil be with everything else too.

Same thing goes for obvious mistakes in your marketing materials. You may be pushing a great product, but if you can’t be bothered to get spelling, grammer, or minor details correct, why should I think you’ll get other things correct?

Or maybe I’m just getting grouchy in my old age. :)

Tags: Marketing
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