tumblrTumblr: Apple / Android

Tumblr is a free, short-form blogging platform. It is fast-growing and popular with teens and college-aged users. It is owned by Yahoo. Tumblr is media heavy in that they make it easy for users to post multimedia content to their posts. You don’t have to include media, but if you look at other Tumblr accounts you’ll see a lot of gifs, images, and videos.

NOTE: If you use Tumblr, you may not have as many comments on your blog. Commenting on Tumblr is different than other blogging platforms because you can’t reply to a post in Tumblr without having a Tumblr account. You can either reply by reposting an item and leaving a comment, or in your settings you can set it up so that people who follow you can leave comments but only after they have been following you for two weeks. We will follow all Tumblr blogs with our 23 Mobile Things Tumblr, and to reply we will just repost your blog so we can add a reply, but other 23 Mobile Things participants who are not using Tumblr will not be able to reply to your posts. (For more about Tumblr and commenting, look below in the More Information section.)

Getting started

  1. Download the app and click the Get Started button.
  2. Either select areas you’re interested in or deselect them and click the Skip button. (If you select areas you’re interested in, it will automatically start following some popular blogs in those areas for you.)
  3. Choose whether or not Tumblr can access your contacts.
  4. Enter your email address, password, and username. Your username will also be part of the URL for your blog. Your blog’s address will be: username.tumblr.com.
  5. Take a picture of yourself or click the Skip button.
  6. Give your age and agree to the terms of service. You have set up your Tumblr!

Now, dive in and write some posts. Here are some screenshots that should help get you started.

When you open Tumblr, here are what the icons mean (click to make it larger):

Tumblr iconsAfter you click on the post icon, you’ll see multiple different types of posts you can do. This screenshot explains them (click to make it larger):

Tumblr post iconsYou’ll most likely be using the “Aa” button a lot to write some text-based posts, so here is a screenshot showing how to do this (click to make it larger):

Tumblr postingFor more information on the Tumblr app, watch this video. The video is for the Tumblr app on iPad, but it looks the same on Android devices. You may want to jump to minute 4:38 when he shows how to post in each of the ways on Tumblr – Tumblr iPad App Tutorial:

And for those of you using smartphones, here’s a video showing this app on a phone. The video is for the Tumblr app on iPhones, but it looks the same on Android devices. You may want to jump to minute 6:44 when he shows how to post in each of the ways on Tumblr – Tumblr iPhone App Tutorial:

Don’t forget to go back to Thing 1 to register your blog!

Libraries & Tumblr

Libraries and library staff are using Tumblr in interesting ways. Check out some of these Tumblrs you may want to follow or get ideas from:

For fun:

  • Librarian Pride will get you smiling with the nice, sometimes inspirational stories about libraries.
  • Librarian Wardrobe is exactly what it sounds like – pictures of librarians who want to show off their style.
  • I Work at a Public Library is full of funny stories from the front lines of public library work.

For more information about libraries and Tumblr, read the Library Journal article The Library is Open: A Look at Librarians and Tumblr.

More information

Here’s some more information about the Tumblr community that might be of interest to you.


Commenting is different in Tumblr. If you want comments like you’re used to seeing on different blogs, you have to go to your Settings and allow people who you follow to comment and people who follow you to comment. As you’ll see, you can’t allow just anyone to comment anonymously or as a guest in Tumblr. In order to comment on a Tumblr blog you have to have a Tumblr account.

Another way to comment is to repost a blog post. When you repost something to your own Tumblr account you can add a comment. It will then repost the whole post on your account with your comment added. Again, this idea of reposting in order to add a comment is something that can only be done if you have a Tumblr account.

So it is possible to comment in Tumblr, but it’s just a bit different than other blogging platforms you may be used to. For more information on reposting and commenting, check out numbers 3 and 4 on this page – 10 Useful Tumblr Tips That New Users Need to Know.


Another thing you should know about Tumblr – gifs. People on Tumblr love gifs.

Gif actually stands for Graphics Interchange Format, and on Wikipedia you can read a long, technical post about what gifs really are. But when you’re thinking about gifs and Tumblr, think of gifs as the looping animations people include with their posts, like this long list of book gifs Library Journal collects.

You can find gifs on many different websites like Imgur, KnowYourMeme, GifBin, GifSoup, or create your own. If you want to make your own, look at these instructions from Gizmodo – How To Make a Gif in Five Easy Steps.


Tagging is how you can organize your Tumblr posts, but it’s also how people can find your blog posts. According to the article Tumblrarian 101: Tumblr for Libraries and Librarians, tags are how people will find your posts. When people search for posts, Tumblr searches the tags attached to posts, so you need to add some tags.

Tags are also good ways for you to find items. Search tags like #tumblarians, #libraries, and #librarians to get started.

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