Monday, February 17, 2014

Trio Tests Tumblr - Diana's Path

This blog post is the result of a promise I made to Lisa Noble and Sara Wheatley to jointly investigate Tumblr and share our findings.

 In the spirit of inquiry, I'm going to describe the process, my findings, and the questions I still have.

I loved having "Inquiry Buddies", because when I got preoccupied with other topics or my enthusiasm waned, Sarah and Lisa would share a little tidbit on Twitter and it would inspire me again.

My initial attempts at investigation were a bit lackadaisical. I went to and examined the main screen. In other blogging platforms, posts come up from Google searches, but I didn't see a lot of Tumblr posts that pop up in that manner. Why? For some stubborn reason, I wanted to try to learn about Tumblr without joining Tumblr (which may have been a huge mistake). I kept lurking around the perimeter.

January 23, 2014 - I explored a Tumblr website that I had the exact URL for - the individual used to have a Blogger account but ... well, let me allow her to explain the switch:
this blog isn't really ending - it's moving!

You can now find out about TAS South's small animals at:

Tumblr is more off-the-cuff, which means I can just quickly post a photo and some facts, rather than having to sit down and write a complete entry. I'll still be posting available animals on there, as well as updates! I know there are several adopters who have sent me updates over the last few months that never got posted - they will start showing up on the Tumblr, I promise!

This was the first time I heard someone articulate the benefits of Tumblr. I checked out her new Tumblr blog and it was very visually appealing. (Her previous blog, also featured many photos to promote the adoption of small animals from Toronto Animal Services.) Laura is a busy person so I didn't want to pester her with questions about publishing on different platforms.

 January 28, 2014 - I was lucky enough to come across this screen shot on Twitter.

This set of guidelines is definitely different from other blogging platforms. In media studies, we'd make inferences about the target audience for this tool, based on the phrasing, and I'd say it surely is for a younger demographic.

January 30, 2014 - Inspired by my Inquiry Buddy Lisa, who enlisted the help of a "Tumblr Sherpa", I decided to get some help with the Tumblr universe. While I was at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference, I asked a teen presenter permission to check out her Tumblr. She kindly emailed me back with the link and an overview.

My tumblr url is (Vulpix is my favourite pokemon and I like graphic art and design so pixels came from that), what you find at this link will be my personal blog. I run a pretty clean blog, but there is casual profanity occasionally. There are also links on the right side of the blog to take you to different pages if you'd like to explore them.
Also, if you need clarification or explanations to anything, please send me a message and I will gladly help to the best of my abilities.

February 5, 2014 - Sarah and Lisa continue to share and encourage me by tweeting links.

So, what were my findings and further questions? Many were less about the actual topic (Tumblr) and more about the investigation method (Inquiry Buddies).

  • Having someone with me on the journey kept me accountable. If I didn't bother researching, I wouldn't just let myself down, I'd let down Lisa and Sarah. Checking in with each other using Twitter was helpful (just like when teacher-librarians have conferences with students at different stages of a project to see how things are proceeding.)
  • It's important to get a wide/wider sample of Tumblr blogs to explore. I deeply explored two. One was eclectic with a variety of topics, whereas the other was specifically about a certain subject. Is that typical?
  • Tumblr has similarities to other blogs but the priority is on the visual presentation. There are a lot more animated gifs, illustrations and screen shots on Tumblr blogs. It also appears to be marketed more for younger publishers to express themselves.
  • By being reluctant to dive in thoroughly and join Tumblr, I denied myself some ways of knowing it that just browsing cannot provide. I'd dismiss a gaming expert who had never played a video game before (and there are people out there like that) and the same principle applies to me - I should've tried it directly, even if it meant deleting my account after a week.
What did Sarah and Lisa discover? How was their process different? Were their opinions similar or different to my own? By searching for specific topics (e.g. YA fiction, knitting, mental illness), was their explorations more profitable, because it had purpose? I look forward to seeing their reflections and learning from them. Thanks Sarah and Lisa!


  1. Diana:
    Thanks for being the "founder of the feast" on this one. I am a procrastinator extraordinaire, and having the two of you to keep me accountable made a big difference. I also enjoyed the different perspective that I got from your teacher-librarian lens. Your questions at the end are what I really appreciate here - you've asked some good ones, and I guess part of what we think about now is where we go from here? I am quite willing to have the two of you continue to kick my butt in terms of deadlines and challenges. I think I could certainly explore Tumblr on a deeper level, and I'd like to see what we could do with it (if we chose to) in our different teaching environments.

    1. I like that idea Lisa - digging deeper, answering some of the new questions, and applying it to education. If Sarah's in, then I am too ... and it seems like Stephan (did I spell that right?) might be curious as well!

  2. Diana, thanks for getting the ball rolling on this. I had been avoiding Tumblr, and know I can see its potential. There is so much to continue to learn, and to implement, but I see it in a much more positive light. Where do we go from here?