Tumblr for News

My Moultrie Journal blog is full of stories about my family and my home town along with photos, news and other goodies I find interesting. Since my home town just happens to be gearing up to celebrate its 450th anniversary next year, there’s lots of interesting stories popping up all over the place – from the local paper to other bloggers and more. I’ve found a way to collect those things and share them from the Journal site. I’m using Tumblr and it’s amazingly quick and easy.

I’ve added the Tumblr widget [from the Tumblr Widget plugin] to the Journal’s sidebar and connected it to my Tumblr blog. If you scroll down a bit you’ll see excerpts from the five most recent posts on my Tumblr – all with links to that site.

First, I built a simple Tumblr blog and installed the bookmarklet on my browser’s bookmarks bar. I set up Tumblr’s queue feature to automatically post two queued posts a day – sometime between 8:00am and 8:00pm. I spend about two hours a week visiting Flickr, the state archives and other interesting Florida history/photo sites to add items to the queue using the bookmarklet. That insures there is enough content to keep the Tumblr fresh. Once the queue’s set for the week, anytime I stumble onto an interesting article, blog post or news item, it gets published immediately.

If you’re wondering what the “queue” is, it’s a great Tumblr feature. Yes, you can schedule posts to go live on a particular day and time, but the queue lets you set up a line – or queue – of posts and stretch out how often you want a new item to appear on your blog. That way you can create a number of posts in one sitting then let Tumblr publish them one at a time using your queue settings.

TumblrQueue

In this example, you’re looking at the Queue screen for my Tumblr. (Click for larger view.) You’ll only see the Queue item in the sidebar menu when there are posts in the queue – right now there are 10 items. At the top of the list of queued posts you’ll find the queue settings. As you can see, it’s pretty easy to set. Now look at the Publish icons at the bottom of the post. These are used to rearrange posts in the queue. Clicking the up arrow icon on the right will move this post to the top of the queue. Click and drag the crossed arrows icon to move the post to a new place in the queue. The gear icon lets you edit or delete this post.

Here’s my collection workflow. I visit my favorite sites looking for interesting photos, videos, articles or whatever. When I find something interesting, I hit the Tumblr bookmarklet on my bookmark bar.

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A pane similar to this one appears over my web page. I can choose the type of post I want, change the title and add a description. Then I’ll click the Advanced tab at the bottom of the pane.

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Here I change the Publishing options item to “add to queue”, add tags and make sure I’m posting to the correct Tumblr (only necessary if you have more than one Tumblr) before clicking the Create post button.

Once I’ve collected a number of items, I’ll go to my dashboard to rearrange things and do a bit of editing. Seldom does it take more than a couple of hours to collect enough items to fill the queue up for a week.

Since the support site worked so well for my personal blog, I’m working on a support Tumblr for the Gazette with the focus on personal publishing. It’s taking a bit more effort – mostly as I research the best sites for source material. As my source collection develops, maintaining the blog will become much easier.

By the way, all Tumblr blogs also support RSS feeds to if a reader wants to have my support blog delivered to his news reader, it only takes a couple of seconds to subscribe.

Tumblr is a great way to aggregate news and thanks to the queue feature, I can do it as my schedule allows. I continue to be amazed at the things Tumblr can do.

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