10 December 2010

Follow me...

Follow me on Tumblr.

Wherever you go on the web these days you see exhortations to "Follow me!"

Usually it's on Twitter, but quite often it's on other sites as well. I suppose it's part of the Twitterisation of the web. Some social networking sites that used to have "friends" now refer to "followers".

I gather that you can also get software that will go through the people you follow on Twitter and remove those who don't follow you in return. That seems strange to me. I've never asked anyone to follow me on Twitter, other than my own immediate family, and none of them are on Twitter anyway.

Twitter used to say that what you should tweet about was "what are you doing right now". It was a bit silly because the only possible answer one could give was "tweeting on Twitter". Now they've broadened it a bit to "what's happening?"

But I've never asked anyone to follow me on Twitter, and I don't ask or expect anyone I follow on Twitter to follow me in return. I follow people and groups that interest me, and find the easiest way of doing it is through the Daily Paper. which gives a digest of the main links. It's not perfect, as it doesn't show every link, and I'm not sure what selection criteria it uses - I suspect that it may give preference to links to articles that have pictures, which are not always the most interesting ones.

But I don't ask people to follow me on Twitter.

Follow me on Tumblr.

Why Tumblr?

Tumblr is probably one of the most underrated things on the web.

It's a sort of quick 'n dirty blog site, where you can post stuff by e-mail, or in various other ways with a minimum of effort. It's a kind of blog site for non-geeks, for people who are not web fundis, and makes it easy for ordinary people to use. The trouble is that it is a non-geek site that only geeks know about and use. You don't have to know HTML or CSS or any of that fancy stuff. It's WYGIWYS -- what you get is what you see.

Follow me on Tumblr.

No, I don't mean that literally.

Yes, you can follow people on Tumblr in the same way as you can follow them on Twitter. It's like Twitter except that it's not limited to 140 characters, and you can log in and see a feed of all the people you "follow". But you can also just go in there and read it, without having an account.

So why should you follow me on Tumblr?

Three of my blogs feed into Tumblr, and so you can see a digest of the recent posts and links to them. If one of them catches your fancy, you can click on the link and go to the full post and read it, and comment if you like. And if it doesn't interest you, you can skip it.

I post in various blogs, depending on the topic and the content and how I want to format it. Most, but not all of my theological stuff goes on Khanya. Most, but not all of my political and general stuff goes on Notes from underground (that's this one). And stuff about books and literature can go in either. And then there are the family history and genealogy ones.

Instead of going to each of them in turn to see if there are any new posts that might interest you, or getting an RSS feed of one and missing the others, or of all three and wasting bandwidth on stuff you don't want, you can go to Tumblr and see if there is anything that interests you or not.

Blogger, the software for this blog, has a "Blog this" feature, which I use quite a lot. It grabs a paragraph or two from a web site and lets you use it as the basis of a blog post, but it usually needs tweaking and fiddling with HTML to get it looking half decent. But sometimes one doesn't want to do that. You just want a link to a web site to remind you what it was about and share it with others, perhaps. Tumblr lets you do that easily -- for example this one, about a steam engine that rescued passengers from electric trains stranded in the snow.

I call my Tumblr site Marginalia. If my life as I live it and experience it is a book, those are some notes and comments written in the margins.

No, Tumblr isn't perfect, and I'm still playing around with it to see what it can and can't do, but if you want to "follow" me anywhere, then follow me on Tumblr.


Mthoko said...

Time for me to tumble away!

Chris H said...

I'm glad you're getting to grips with tumblr. I can't though! Just confuses me :(

Steve Hayes said...


I'm still trying to work out what Tumblr and Posterous can and can't do, and which is bestr for which kind of thing.

I think Posterous handles posting by e-mail better, while Tumblr is better for adding content from the web. But I still don't know enough about their capabilities, and I'm still experimenting.

Sergey said...

Do you have also a Posterous blog? I'd like to read that one too.

By the way, I was very amused by the choice of "You may also like" links in this post:


Steve Hayes said...


My Posterous blog is at hayesfam.posterous.com, but I use it mainly for family history.


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