- Your time investment: 10-30 minutes daily.
- Your desire: to share striking images (your own or others’), brief comments/captions, and links to more information.
Choose a topic. What is your Tumblr about? Choose a theme that’s interesting to you and others–and that it’s easy to find or create material for. If you draw your experimental design, methods, or study sites, consider a “science drawing” theme; if you take pictures on research cruises, consider “science at sea” photos; if you want something that covers images from the whole of your (and others’) daily activities, consider “life of a scientist.”
Follow others. Like Twitter and Facebook, you’ll gain more followers–and see more interesting posts–if you follow many people and institutions whose work you like.
Make a schedule. Decide how many times you want to post during a week–either your own material or re-blogging others’ posts–and set aside a few minutes of time each day to accomplish this.
Make it a conversation. Re-blog others’ posts, “like” or comment on their posts, and get involved in hashtag conversations. Others will be more likely to connect with–and follow–you.
Allow submissions. Encouraging others to submit material to your site can be a great way of generating fresh content without having to create it all yourself. (And, since you have to approve submissions, you don’t need to worry about posting content you don’t want.) Allowing submissions is not automatic, however; you’ll need to choose it in your settings.
Make submissions. If Tumblrs you follow ask for relevant images or stories, submit to them! (This includes AGU’s Tumblr, which regularly calls for Postcards from the Field, Artified Abstracts, and other submissions.)
Use hashtags. People often search for topics by a relevant hashtag, for example, #AGU14 for the 2014 AGU Fall Meeting. Use hashtags and your posts are more likely to be widely seen.
Tumblr is something of a hybrid: a mix of a blog, an image- or video-sharing site, and a venue for following others. Some people create Tumblr accounts solely for the purpose of following Tumblr sites that they like, which appear on one’s home screen as a Twitter- or Facebook-style feed. Others use it to highlight their art, to share their thoughts, or to provide previews of content that exists elsewhere (typical of museums and other institutions). While you should certainly include some text with your Tumblr image posts, you should never include very much (many sites never write more than 4 sentences per post). What’s more important is to briefly describe the photo; if you need more room to fully explain it, link to a site that gives more information on the science or research.
Skunk Bear – NPR’s science Tumblr.
Illustrating Nature and Science – Tumblr of Mary Williams, science illustrator.
Melissa Snider Illustrations – Science and nature drawings and paintings.