Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tumblring along 2...

It was good to hear how others feel about Tumblr and what it offers and how they use it. I definitely agree that it's not all that intuitive if you just land there and can't understand how it works - it takes a while and trial and error; and we don't all have that much time or energy to expend on yet another interwebby platform.

I promised to talk some more about the good the bad and the ugly of Tumblr as experienced by my friendly questionees and to also consider the vexed question of 'photo/picture pilfering' and the like.

In response to what they like most about tumblr, Ronnie mentioned that she might stumble over stuff that she wouldn't ordinarliy find and each questionee spoke about the opportunities tumblr offers to come across interesting things and to discover artists unknown to them; and a couple mentioned how easy it was - no pressure, no writing.

Leslie said "It's where I swoon. It's where I collect art" which I loved - that sense of a personal digital art collection.  Robyn spoke about getting lost in her own world and how much she loves her archive page - "a huge mosaic of ... whatever makes me feel alive".

And both Robyn and Leslie mentioned how it is still about connecting with other artists who are on your wavelength; and that tumblr offers an opportunity to learn more about those artists, what moves them and speaks to them.

The idea of learning about what we each respond to, and of learning about how other artists see their world were benefits of the almost totally visual format of Tumblr, and in addition Ann mentioned how useful it was to see  how other people respond to our own art when we post it.

The top of my Tumblr page earlier today
When asked what they like least about Tumblr, there were a couple of issues about the admin of the platform (it overloads sometimes, and they send you emails when somebody re-blogs your photo or starts following you which can clutter up an inbox and be annoying). For a few of us, the fact that sexually explicit sites are available without warning around their content has been a bit of a concern, as is when these sites start following you. You have to be vigilant to check new followers and block them if you don't want these sorts of folk to appear on your blog.

Sloppy referencing and not linking or acknowledging information properly was a real concern for Ronnie and a few of us noted how easy it is to spend a lot of time tumblring along.  For Leslie - the fact that there is no dialogue or conversation has been interesting; meaning Tumblr blogs tend to lack the depth of our other blogs.
My Tumblr archive so far for June
I also asked folk how they handled the permission to post or posting of images with links or references. This is one of the areas I have never felt totally comfortable with over at Tumblr, and I was so pleased the questionees shared their thoughts.

Everybody agreed that it was about each of us behaving with respect, honesty and integrity; and that we should all treat people as we would wish to be treated ourselves.

Always link to the person and give credit to the artist were agreed by everybody. For a few of us, if we see an image by an artist we know that is not credited, we go in and make the link and credit.

The way Tumblr usually allows for an automatic link is a real positive of the site; but some tricky people circumvent this by posting the photograph somewhere else first, then link to that intermediate posting; leaving the real artist's credit way back where...not good form.

An informal set of rules kind of appeared:

For most of us if we are re-blogging an image, we simply re-blog it;
If we are posting an image from the public domain we post it with correct links and credits; and
If we are posting from a personal blog however, we ask permission first.

Thank you again to Robyn, Leslie, Ronnie and Ann, and to others who have joined in the conversation; I've enjoyed pondering and learning alongside you.

My Tumblr archive for a quieter couple of months


  1. Today was a splendid day on Tumblr - the quotes were fun, rich and poignant. I "discovered" new art and artists, and my morning coffee with tumblr time went quickly.

    Just a note - you can set your email notifications so you don't get all that junk. I reset mine to only get email when someone sends me a rare message via tumblr. Much less email clutter.

    I really enjoyed your posts here about tumblr Fiona. It was affirming that we developed a similar set of personal guidelines about posting work.

  2. I'm already getting quite bored with the tumblr format - and I can't see me hanging around for much longer (or ever really 'getting into it' like I did with SU) - its just too shallow for my liking (and I keep seeing the same old same old..... its a rare moment when I stumble over something totally unfamiliar with a 'wow' factor) - so I have to question whether I have the time or energy to go sifting through the haystack for that occasional shiny new needle....

    I'm also not convinced that there is anything to be gained (but a lot to be lost) as an artist by having your work in the tumblr ring ..... If other artists have had a different experience I'd love to hear about it.... but I've mostly discovered its a site for the less creative who are keen to pick up someone else's idea and run with it as their own..... (but I suppose the same could be said for any webby interaction.... hmmmm....) BUT with blogs - like this one - there is a greater opportunity for interaction and building relationships - I've had very positive blogger moments.... I can't see anything like that happening as a result of tumblr....

    (ps I set my email notification to block all the junk in the inbox like leslie.....mmmmm much nicer!)

  3. Thanks Leslie - I shall go in search of that email notification button...I think I just worked out its not on Tumblr but in my own mail tight?!?! I think time-limited Tumblr time is a good way to go; and I do enjoy coming across something just right for me!

    Ronnie - yes it's much more about visual fairyfloss in some ways compared to anything deeply insightful or original. I like its anonymity and non-engagment in some ways; but prefer this type of blogging for establishing a community and sharing ideas that's for sure. I must admit I also don't put much of my work in there any more - I just use it as visual stimulation.

  4. Looking at your archives page is immediately inspiring, Fiona...... and that is my main objective. To look at my archives pages and feel inspired. I know there will be times when I won't post or reblog but at the moment Tumblr images are feeding my creativity. Tumblr will never replace the warmth and comraderie of a blog like this one. Different types of blogs serve different purposes. When I'm wanting to connect with my artist tribe I know I can find many wonderful artists in my sidebar at blogger.

  5. Hi Robyn- I agree you have to find the platform or approach that suits your needs and there are so many options...tumblr suits my visual stimulation need - and nearly always calms me; this blog offers me such a great dialogue and exchange. I just wondered how others used tumblr and found it and it's good to know it offers different things for different people. Go well.

  6. The email notification button is at tumblr. Go to your dashboard. Click the name of your blog. In the upper right is a icon that looks like a gear - a circle with spokes. Click that. At the bottom of that page you can set your email notifications. I have only new messages checked, so I get very few email notifications. I like it that way. ;o)

  7. Thanks so much Leslie _ i'll go and check out that option. At the moment they are arriving direct into my trash which is a slight improvement...but I like your plan better!


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.