An Artist’s View of Tumblr

If you’ve never heard of Tumblr (or its closest competitor Posterous), welcome to the world of short-form blogging! Tumblr is a vibrant platform and community, where authors post entries that are larger than a tweet (140 characters) but significantly shorter than the 600-800 words of a typical blog post. Many Tumblrs consist exclusively of photos, video, or links that contribute to a visual or thematic aesthetic, with very little written explanation.

In order to get a fuller understanding of the ways in which Tumblr is used, and the community that contributes so much to the success of the platform, I interviewed my daughter, Chicago-based comic and film artist Lyra Hill. Lyra produces a series of performative art events called Brain Frame, and successfully uses Tumblr (and Facebook) to promote it.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

If you listen to our entire 12 minute conversation, you will have a good idea of Tumblr’s strengths compared to a full-featured blog platform such as Blogger or WordPress. There is a great FAQ about Tumblr here. And if you’d like to pick up one of Lyra’s excellent limited edition comix, you will find them here. As she says at the very end of our talk, “Tumblr is all about the images.”

2 thoughts on “An Artist’s View of Tumblr

  1. Gah, I would like to make a fine-tune correction: Tumblr DOES do the light box photo display thing, but only if there are multiple photos in a set. Plus, they maintain a link below each photo to the full resolution version, which both Facebook and Blogger fail to do.

    I feel like we also should have touched upon Tumblr’s knack for meme-facilitating, which seems (in my experience) to be the largest use of the platform alongside photoflows.

  2. Thanks for your comments, Lyra! Playing the audio at the BABS meeting was a tremendous help, and I am sure your fine-tuning updates will be of great use to readers of this blog.

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