Tumblr for Curating the News

I have been experimenting with my DIGITAL Storytelling weekly newspaper looking for the best way to collect items of interest from across the Web for each week’s edition. I have been using selected RSS feeds and Twitter to collect items based on topics but then I spend a lot of time manually removing articles that aren’t relevant. Recently I was researching blog platforms for an article and took a fresh look at Tumblr, the micro-blogging platform. As an avid Posterous fan I hadn’t paid much attention to it of late, but with Posterous gone (as of tomorrow) it was time to take another look. I was quite surprised. A lot has happened with Tumblr since my last visit and I must say it’s quite impressive. The best way I can describe it is a long-form, multi-media version of Twitter. Let me explain.

Tumblr supports seven types of posts: text, photo, link, quote, video, audio and chat. And, there are dozens of gorgeous themes designed to make the best of each type. While it will handle longer text posts with photos and screenshots, it’s primarily designed for shorter “update” types of posts. Of course there are mobile apps (Android and iOS) that not only makes it easy to post your pictures, videos or links quickly, it also gives you access to the social side of Tumblr. That’s right – Tumblr is also a social network. You can follow other Tumblr blogs, like specific posts, comment on them and even reblog them.

Sample Tumblr page

For my purposes, I take advantage of the Tumblr bookmarklet and email posting option to collect stories, videos, how to articles and news items in a Tumblr blog that is now the primary content source for the DIGITAL Storytelling newspaper. Even if I’m reading in Flipboard or Reeder, it’s just a couple of taps to add an interesting article, link, photo or video to the Tumblr blog – which eventually becomes part of that weeks newspaper.

Although I’m impressed with Tumblr’s capabilities for curating news, I’m still waiting for Posthaven to complete its buildout so our family journal/news service can once again be functional. Tumblr does not provide the email subscription capability that made Posterous so perfect for private family sites. Once Posthaven has those features functional, we’ll be keeping everybody in the family informed on all the latest happenings.