Tumblr as an online scrapbook for writers

Ideas come in all shapes and sizes and can be generated or inspired by almost anything. As writers, we're encouraged to read, read, read, but our imaginations are just as likely ignited by the things we watch, the things we listen to and the people we hang around with.

All of which brings me neatly on to Tumblr.

What is Tumblr?

Tumblr is what's techtastically known as a microblogging platform. For me, it sits somewhere between WordPress, a full fat blogging experience, and Twitter, with its 140 character's worth of tiny talk.

Tumblr's 'About' page says it's the "easiest way to express yourself".

It also says this:

Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything. Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos, from your browser, phone, desktop, email, or wherever you happen to be.

Of course, all of that is true, but the same more or less applies to every other blogging platform out there, doesn't it? And having used it for almost exactly a year now, I know that Tumblr offers so much more.

So what is different about Tumblr and how can you use it as a scrapbook?

What makes Tumblr so special?

I have a Facebook account and I use Twitter. I also have a last.fm profile, a Vimeo page and a LinkedIn profile too. But the only social media platform I return to on a daily basis is Tumblr. Here's why:

It really is easy to use

To post something to your blog, or 'Tumblelog' as they're known, you simply choose from seven different post types: Text, Photo, Quote, Link, Chat, Audio and Video. And because each post type is pre-styled, you don't have to worry about what it will look like. It means you can crack on with finding and adding content, which is great.

It's how social should be

Arguably the best thing about Tumblr is its social aspect. I know that there are various communities and groups of people who regularly communicate through services like Twitter, but it's not the same, I promise.

As a platform, Tumblr is growing and growing, but it still seems to retain a certain ethos that I love. Essentially, you interact with people by reposting their material and saying, 'Yeah, I like that. Other people should see it too.'

Imagine Twitter as a major record label. Tumblr is the indie that's not only cooler, but always has its heart in the right place.

It's the perfect online scrapbook for writers

Like most other social-type platforms, Tumblr comes with its own little bookmarklet that sits in your browser toolbar and allows you to post to your Tumblelog without actually going to your Tumblr dashboard.

Effectively, that means that when you see something you like, whether it's a blog post, an image or a video (see full list above), within seconds you can have it appear on your Tumblelog. It will also appear in the dashboard of anyone who's 'following' you.

Nothing revolutionary there, but with Tumblr it's all so visual. You're not farming links, you're assembling a collection of media that inspires you, flexes your brain-box and makes you laugh.

And everyone else is doing the same, so you're not building a scrapbook for your writing on your own, there's a community (with plenty of writers, actually) there to help you out. Plus it's all so effortless and quick.

So, what now?

Well, first of all you can head over to Tumblr and have an account set up in no time at all. This post is just a very brief overview and there really is no explanation that can do the job better than simply getting stuck in.

Have a scout round, post a few things and then find a couple of people to follow. Ahem.

If you take to Tumblr, you'll no doubt use it however best suits your needs. But I'd encourage you to approach it with the scrapbook notion in mind. Be creative and don't restrict yourself.

Remember, your Tumblelog is not your novel, freelance work or 'proper' blog. It's a playground of ideas. If it looks like fun, have a go on the slide.