February 2010 Archives

Experiments and experiences with Tumblr for content aggregation

I've been tinkering away for a while now with a Tumblr account. You can view the results at Leguape's tumblr of fun.

It's an aggregation of pretty much all my social media activity outside of Facebook and Friendfeed (which I barely use now other than passively).

What does it use?

For content I read and want to make a note of online, it takes in my reddit and delicious bookmarks, as well as my google reader shared items.

I then mash these three together through a simple Yahoo! Pipes Feed to reduce the number of individual feeds I have to try and pull in.

Tumblr limits you to five feeds by default, so it seemed like a waste to pull these three in as separate items. The presentation of the feed output could do with some refining, but it does the job of making the all-important data available.

Then I also pull in my Twitter and Flickr feeds individually as the two most likely places for activity.

I also pull in the Chasing Wheels blog Feedburner feed separately as that's another major source of activity. I'm now trialling pulling in a Yahoo! Pipe feed that aggregates all my blogs together to simplify things. I'll be interested to see how this post appears via that feed.

Weirdly I don't seem to be pulling in any video. In fact I don't seem to shoot much video.

What purpose does it serve?

A while back I tried the Action Streams plugin for Movable Type but never managed to make it work. I can't remember the exact reason but I think it was as simple as I couldn't just plug and play.

Tumblr allows me to quickly plug in a bunch of things and get going straight off, right down to setting it up to point to a custom domain. I like that.

Also the interface offers me a whole bunch of options easily. I think it might even pass the "Mum test of usability".

I like how easy it is and how low they've set the bar to entry.

I've even started on a second tumblr experiment, a photojournal called ToyCam Mono with a very simple premise.

I guess is part of the appeal of tumblr as a platform: its lower threshold to getting started and continuing. No fiddling with templates and code, just straight in.

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