This is a guest post by Josh Cummings. Josh serves as the Technical Director at Elim Gospel Church in Lima, NY. Josh is passionate about all things audio & visual. His world includes wires, cables, buttons, knobs, computers, software, lights, speakers and a million other odd and weird knick-knacks. He is, by far, the coolest tech-dude I know.
If Facebook got married to Blogger and then had a trendy teenage son, that would be Tumblr. When I saw the Transforming Leader post on 2/14, teaching you how to create a simple blog using Blogger, I immediately thought of how Tumblr could be useful for ministry leaders. I have used Tumblr for a personal blog for a while, and I would advise anyone contemplating creating a blog for their ministry or organization to consider using Tumblr.
Here’s a few quick thoughts on using the Tumblr blog platform:
First things first: if you don’t know why you should blog, check out some of the older posts in the Transforming Leader that explain the rationale of using a blog for your ministry or organization. You’ll want to read those first before getting into the details of how to create a functional, appealing, and effective blog.
Both Tumblr and Blogger are free and have features such as: mobile apps, customizable design templates, custom domains, photos, videos, group blogging, email and mobile posting, additional pages/tabs, Feedburner support, third party apps, scheduled posting, and custom CSS and HTML. Tumblr has many of the same features as Blogger, but if you’re deciding which blog platform to use, you want to know what the advantages are of each blog. Let’s take a look at appearance, media, social interaction, and comments in order to compare Tumblr vs. Blogger.
The Tumblr theme garden has much more visually appealing themes than Blogger. The first thing that people will notice when they visit your blog is the visuals. If a blog’s layout is outdated, it is likely that the reader may assume that the content may also be irrelevant. Both platforms allow customization, but in general, Tumblr blogs have a better design than Blogger blogs. You’ll be able to create a more attractive blog with a smaller time investment.
Blogger does allow you to post photos and embed videos in your posts, but Tumblr simply outperforms Blogger in this department. Tumblr supports photosets similar to Instagram, allows you to post audio clips (as long as you don’t break copyright law), and to post quotes.
Social Interaction: Tumblr
Tumblr is basically a cross between Facebook and Blogger. With one click, you can reblog another users post. Not only can you follow Tumblr users (or subscribe via RSS if you’re a non-user), but you can favorite posts and post automatically to Twitter and Facebook. One killer feature for users of Tumblr is that you can subscribe to tags. For example, I am subscribed to tags such as Tozer, Tim Keller, and Francis Chan. Whenever one of those names is mentioned in a post on Tumblr, it is sent to my list on my dashboard. If I click on that list, I can read all posts that include those tags in their posts.
With Blogger, comments are built in to your blog. Tumblr users have to use a website like IntenseDebate to get custom HTML to modify their blog to support comments. Once you’ve done this, it’s no different than Blogger, but it requires some basic tech savvy to set up. Every blog should have the ability to leave comments.
Tumblr also has a few more features that Blogger doesn’t, including private blogging, a Tumblr bookmarklet, call-in audio posts, blog rights, and a cool question and answer feature where readers can ask a blogger questions. This is similar to a comment discussion, but it’s a new post that will go to all of your subscribers’ inbox or RSS reader. If you want to compare more on your own, check out Tumblr’s features and Blogger’s features.
I’m not trying to sell you Tumblr, but we all want to have the sharpest tools possible to accomplish our all-important mission of making Christ’s love known to the world. If you’re planning to do that through a blog, I think that Tumblr could be very useful to you, as it has been for me. If you go with Tumblr, I would encourage you to take all of the principles that Pastor Wayne outlined in his blog “Create A Simple Blog With Blogger” and apply them to creating your Tumblr blog. Make sure that your blog has comments and email subscription, and that you consistently update your blog with useful posts. 90% of blogs out there are quite narcissistic, and it’s the helpful, focused blogs that succeed and make a difference.
If you’re curious, check out my personal blog Arthodoxy on faith and music or my (outdated) Elim Gospel Church tech team blog for an idea of what Tumblr looks like and works like.