If my exploding Twitter stream yesterday was any indication, the Tumblarian 101 panel ranked as one of the most popular pieces of programming at ALA this year. That makes me happy because I, proud Gen Xer and therefore not the most natural fit for Tumblr, firmly believe in Tumblr’s power to share important information across the publishing ecosystem and create solidarity among too-often-stymied twenty- and early thirty-something library professionals. (You know the gory story: hired to innovate, then told to tamp it down because change is scary.)
Above, check out the sample from Laura Sherriff's helpful guide to tags. Tags are crucial for searching and being discovered on Tumblr (I’m studying them now, as I think I’ve been too, erm, inventive). Per Kristi Chadwick, who was tweeting prodigiously from the session, more than 55 percent of Tumblarians are public librarians, and 30 percent are academic.
If you are a newbie, it might be best to start with “tumblarian,” “libraries,” and “librarians,” the most popular tags in this niche universe. I would personally like to popularize “readers advisory,” “readadv” and “discovery” further. Plus, “LibraryReads,” in honor of the just-announced program to create a quasi-library best sellers list for adult frontlist.
An important point via Chadwick from Kate Tkacik (aka the Lifeguard Librarian, one of the presenters) that I had no clue about: Only the first five tags on your Tumblr will be searchable. So choose wisely; less is more, etc.
I am not ashamed to say I don’t get the whole Tumblr gif thing, but it is not a deal breaker for a successful account from where I’m standing at the intersection of librarianship and publishing.
Nit-picky question I wanted to ask the panelists had I been able to attend: why does Tumblr hate apostrophes, and punctuation generally in Quotes? This comes down to code, I think, but I have never been able to fix it.
Also: why not an official Tumblr forum for Tumblarians a la Books?
For more on starting your own Tumblr, see "Tumblarian 101: A Starter Kit" by Library Journal's Tumblr master, Molly McArdle, which I am reblogging in a second because it's damn good.