Tumblr is a microblogging platform that enables users to share content via posts which may contain photos, links, videos, audio, and/or text. When content is shared, it is exposed to a dynamic community of users who contribute millions of posts per day [Tumblr Press Info].
For libraries and archives, Tumblr provides a means of sharing collection content and connecting with a wide array of users including institutions, fellow professionals, and interested individuals. In our experience with the Othmer Library's Othmeralia, the value of this second use (i.e., building connections) should not be underestimated when it comes to managing a Tumblr blog. As we have found, simply churning out a string of posts on various collection materials without any kind of engagement with the community doesn't make for an effective or enjoyable Tumblr experience for anyone involved. To make for a worthwhile endeavor, libraries and archives must make a commitment to involving themselves in the always-lively Tumblr community. In her book, The Librarian's Nitty-Gritty Guide to Social Media, Laura Solomon describes it well:
"It's easy to get a free account on any of the hundreds of social media sites that currently exist, but social media is not about coverage or even necessarily about numbers. It's about making connections...When a library involves itself in social media, it first and foremost has to understand that it's going to be expected to interact. To do otherwise is to fail...By failing to participate in conversations and relationships, the library is essentially declaring that it will simply maintain its traditional role as a depository of knowledge" (pp. 2-3).
In this guide, we present some practical tips for libraries and archives looking to create and maintain robust, personable, and quality Tumblr blogs.
(image: a sample of the posts shared on Othmeralia)
Have a question about using Tumblr? Looking for advice or just someone to talk to about Tumblr and/or social media in general? We would love to hear from you! Please send us a message at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our blog on Tumblr and follow us for highlights of hidden treasures from our library and archival collections.