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Using Tumblr to Share Online Models

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Workshop on Tumblr in the classroom by tengrrl on Flickr I have never felt adept at Tumblr. I just don’t get it. Enough people like it for me to believe that there must be something there; but whatever it is, I don’t quite connect with it. To look for answers, I attended that Computers and Writing workshop, “When You Find a Great Meme to Post for Your Assignment: Tumblr as a Multimodal Writing and Community....” I gained some pointers, but honestly, I still couldn’t understand what Tumblr offers that wasn’t already available with tools I already used.

 

As I was preparing for my presentation on social media for the Council of Writing Program Administrators Conference (#CWPA2017) earlier this month, I was looking for a way to share example sites that met several goals:

 

  • Hosted on a trustworthy site (and not one I owned)
  • Has no cost
  • Incorporates screenshot images easily
  • Publishes entries easily (since I would have many)
  • Allows a system of tagging or similar option to sort entries on various criteria

 

I was essentially thinking of a simple database, but I didn’t want to program or host it. I went through a number of tools, but everything had some problem—until I came to Tumblr.

 

Tumblr met all my goals. I remembered, as I was testing it, that the workshop leaders, Meg McGuire and Jen England, had mentioned that one of the things people liked most about Tumblr was its rich tagging system. I quickly began gathering examples of the online presence of writing programs and writing centers for my #CWPA2017 presentation in my own Tumblr blog, Social Media for WPAs.

 

The homepage of Social Media for WPAs felt a little busy to me, with its Pinterest-style grid layout. To provide a simpler organization, I created a Categories page, which lists my folksonomic tags under a few headers. Clicking on any of the tags on the Categories page takes you to a page that shows only the entries that demonstrate that particular tag. For example, if you click the Instagram tag, you get a page showing examples of writing programs or centers that use Instagram.

 

As I worked on my Social Media for WPAs site, I realized how valuable Tumblr would be in the writing classroom. I could use a similar system of tagging to organize online examples or readings for students. If I was teaching students about blogging, for instance, I could gather examples of different kinds of entries and collect them on a Tumblr blog. Likewise, students doing online research could do the same thing, tracking what they find in a Tumblr blog.

 

Using Tumblr, it turned out, was easy, and it provided exactly what I needed. Perhaps I finally get Tumblr. Do you? If you have ideas to share for using Tumblr, I would love to hear from you in the comments.

 

 

Photo Credit: Workshop on Tumblr in the classroom by tengrrl

4 Comments
Macmillan Employee
Macmillan Employee

This is a very useful post, Traci!

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Thanks, Karita! I'm glad that you found it helpful Smiley Happy

On Thu, Jul 27, 2017 at 10:10 AM, karita.dossantos <

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I still don't get Tumblr. I find that Pinterest works better as an organizing tool for me. (They seem to be very similar in structure, though, so I guess it's really a matter of personal preference.) I also hate that the only way to have a discussion on Tumblr is to reblog someone's post and write a new post for it. I have just accepted that it's not for me.

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Yes, Akilah, I can see that is an annoying constraint. For my part, I

wasn't trying to engage folks in discussion. The goal was more to

categorize kinds of social media.

I like Pinterest, and I "get" it, but I find it harder to navigate for

examples.

Traci

About the Author
Traci Gardner, known as "tengrrl" on most networks, writes lesson plans, classroom resources, and professional development materials for English language arts and college composition teachers. She is the author of Designing Writing Assignments, a contributing editor to the NCTE INBOX Blog, and the editor of Engaging Media-Savvy Students Topical Resource Kit.