Rediscovering Tumblr with Tumby
Last fall I began talking with Robert Buckley about a startup he founded called Tumby.
At a high level, this is a Tumblr discoverability platform to help Users sift and sort through topics of interest with greater precision than, say, Tumblr’s “ Explore Page”. Buckley believes that Tumblr is a “treasure trove of awesome content” and his goal is to innovate and deliver tools that help Users “discover, enjoy, and share” it quickly and easily.
While the Explore Page works for posts chosen by editors tagged within a category (eg., LOL, Art, Food, Vintage, etc.), Tumby shifts the control back to you. Tumby lets you create lists of Tumblrs who create content specific to your interests and put them in one or more topic categories you choose. This helps with your focus, as well as making sure you don’t miss posts that might be important to you but passed you on your Tumblr dashboard. You get control of topics and post types with built-in filtering mechanisms too.
You can do this two ways: as curated list called a “TumbyLand” (here’s one for /r/tumblr on reddit) or with a personalized list called a “myTumbyLand”. In both cases, they are wired to a “Tumby Page” (here’s ours) which displays snapshots of the latest posts from the associated Tumblr and more.
The TumbyLands aggregate Tumblrs, their content and include various useful discoverability widgets. You can get a Tumby Page for any Tumblr on the planet — you just need its name. The TumbyLand lists can be public, private, or shared among users you authorize. Lists can have multiple collaborators too.
While the site’s currently in invitation mode, you can take a look and get your invite by visiting Tumby.me. If you’re interested in curating a TumbyLand, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tumby Search adds another level of discoverability by integrating full-text search capability to your Tumblr. Tumblr’s standard search bar searches through blog tags, not through blog content. And in Buckley’s view, tagging is a limited, manual and subjective process. Full-text search, he says, is the opposite and its indexing is automatic. This ensures that readers don’t miss posts you made about specific topics.
For example, we’ve integrated Tumby search on The FJP Tumblr. Here’s what a search for “newsroom disruption” looks like. The results, in our opinion, are richer than what would have been returned with Tumblr’s native search.
Buckley, a software veteran who’s been involved in the introduction of advanced technologies with companies such as Sun Microsystems, IBM’s ILOG, and Kodak, recognized an opportunity to do what he’d always done, but this time with Tumblr. He’s been working and thinking about Tumby and Tumblr discoverability for about a year now, and is rolling out what he considers a “final beta” for public view.
Over on theFJP.org is a Q&A where Buckley explains what Tumby is, how it came about, and while not quite revealing the secret sauce about how it all works, he does explain what it’s like working with Tumblr as a platform and issues of discoverability in general. — Michael