I am always keen to try something new. So as the buzz around Tumblr grew over the past year or so, I was curious about whether this might be a fun thing to play around with. I watched and waited (to make sure that it wasn't too new) and then plunged in.
So now I have a Tumblr page. Two features have captured my attention so far. First, I like Twitter (and you should follow me), but I the historian in me has always been frustrated by the hyper-ephemeral nature of these little tweets. You fire them out into space and they linger on the breeze for a week, and then they are gone. On the one hand, this is good as a recent study determined that 40% of tweets are pointless babble. We don't need pointless babble preserved beyond a week. On the other hand, tweets do provide a kind of running commentary on the world and its claim to be a micro-blogging service indicates that some of its intellectual DNA is rooted in the practice of keeping a log (that's the -log part of the word weblog). Logs traditionally have an archival purpose and nature. So I began to think about how I could save and "log" my tweets. I am not suggesting that these tweets have some kind of long-term archival value, but simply that their value could exceed the span of a week. Tumblr lets me capture my tweets from an RSS feed and post them to my Tumblr blog. (Tumblr does not yet allow you to export a Tumblr blog into a real archive, which would make it even more useful as an archive for tweets, but, then again, I don't need my tweets forever, just for more than a week!)
The other thing that caught my interest is that Tumblr makes it really easy to upload pictures from my mobile phone. The only reason that I have a Samsung Omnia is because it has a decent 5 megapixel camera in it. I am not planning on replacing my DSLR with a camera phone, but I do like the convenience of almost always having a decent camera with me. And I like to take snap shots. And for a while, I was posting these snapshots here to my "proper" blog. But these snapshots seemed a bit informal or odds and ends-y for this blog. So, I have decided to post my informal snapshots to my Tumblr blog. I want to see if I have the energy and discipline to post a picture a day to document some little part of my world.
So, my Tumblr will become the repository of my tweets and random photos of my day. (It will also post links to my proper blog via an RSS feed). I plan to tweet my graduate course from a separate twitter account this next fall, and I suspect that I will capture these tweets as well.