A Guide To Essential Tumblr Etiquette: Do’s & Don’ts

By . Filed in Web 2.0

Tumblr is more than just another social network site – it’s a community. Despite the diversity in community interests, all these communities function on the same set of accepted albeit unofficial etiquette on Tumblr. Certain rules govern these practices, and although they’re not official, things can get nasty if not followed.

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As part of a community, you would want to get along with everyone else and would normally try not to get on people’s nerves. If you need help in this department, here’s an etiquette guide to Tumblr that will help you enjoy your experience and feel a sense of belonging (which is what you’re after, right?).

Let’s take a look at the reblogging, tagging and social ettiquete of Tumblr.

Reblogging Etiquette

Reblogging is what Tumblr is all about. Users reblog to share posts with others – it works like the retweet function on Twitter. Everyone reblogs on Tumblr. Obsessively. There are accounts that only reblog posts from others, without posting an original piece of their own, which is fine, but do bear in mind these 4 do’s and don’ts.

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1. Do Reblog But Don’t Repost

Whenever you come across a post you’d like to share on your Tumblr blog, reblog it instead of reposting it.

By reblogging, you credit the original author of the post. When you repost, you give the impression that you are the original poster, which isn’t true. In fact, this is tantamount to stealing another person’s work. And anyways, it’s also easier to reblog than to repost as it just takes one button.

2. Don’t Alter Posts

Another reason to reblog is that the original poster may have written something to describe the post. It is thus rude to remove the author’s comments.

It is also common for users to post from external sources like fan art from Deviantart. They will credit the artist accordingly by providing a link to the original in the comments. Removing that credit is equivalent to not giving credit where credit is due. Also, people will continuously bug you for the origin of the material.

3. Don’t Delete Other Comments

You will come across Tumblr posts that carry user comments, which you might want to consider removing before a reblog. Don’t.

Once in a while, users respond to a post by adding in extra information in a comment. Sometimes reblogs happen because of the comments. If you still insist on not including the comments, you can go to the original post and reblog it from there.

4. Don’t Reblog Things That You Hate

Suppose that you’re not a fan of BBC’s Sherlock TV Series and someone on your dashboard happens to post a scene from it, don’t reblog it just to rant about it.

Remember, people come to Tumblr to find and share things they love. They will not appreciate it when you rant about how terrible their interest is. Just continue on your merry way reblogging things that you like, and ignoring things that you hate.

Tagging Etiquette

Hashtagging on Tumblr is more commonly known as tagging. Tags play a big part in the Tumblr universe. It allows users to track posts, spread information and organize their blog contents. While their purpose seems to be similar to how they are used on other social media sites, on Tumblr, the usage of tags are on a different level.

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1. Don’t Tag Your Hate

This is somewhat similar to “Don’t reblog your hate” but applied to your own post. If you really hate Games of Thrones, that’s fine. You are entitled to your opinion but don’t tag the post with #game of thrones or any of its related tags. As mentioned, people track tags because they love something; they care little to nothing about your rants as your hate does not contribute to the fandom.

2. You Should Tag Spoilers

If you follow new episodes of TV shows and like to blog about it the moment you finish watching it, do everyone a favor and tag it #spoilers. As much as you like to post spoilers, I doubt you would like it if others spoil a show for you before it is even shown where you live.

It is thus common courtesy to tag your post as #spoilers for your followers. This makes it easier for them to block specific posts. You can also let your followers know in advance and tell them the tag you’ll be using.

3. Tag Triggers And NSFW

Tumblr has a policy about posting sensitive issues but it acknowledges that this differs from person to person. That said, some things do bring out painful memories for certain people while other things also just Not Safe For Work (NSFW).

By tagging your posts with #trigger warning, you’ll help those who are a little bit sensitive to block posts that may cause them discomfort. Tagging #NSFW will help your followers keep their jobs and for the rest of us to treat your Tumblr posts accordingly.

4. Comment With Tags

There are differing schools of thought on why you must post your comments in the tags. The origins of these standards are sketchy and the rules vague.

The basic premise however is to put reaction comments (also fangirling/fanboying) in tags. Examples include #lol #omg #all my feels #my otp #this. People prefer comments in the text section to add to the post like refutations to a statement as they feel that it adds more to the post. It also makes for neater reblogging.

Social Etiquette

At the end of the day, you are still dealing with people, hence the "social" aspect of a social network. All the rules of etiquette adds up to how your actions affect others, particularly their feelings. Here are a few more do’s and don’ts to help you out.

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1. User-Friendly Themes

Honestly you can do whatever you want with the look of your blog. However, do take into account that people may check out your blog outside their dashboard. If your blog has music on autoplay, tiled GIFs in the background or neon colours (or perhaps it lacks navigation buttons), then chances are they won’t be sticking around to check out your posts.

2. Don’t Demand A Follow Back

No. Just, no. Even if you have followed their blog and you desperately need friends or followers, do not drop the person a line to ask them to follow you back. There isn’t a popularity contest on who gets the most followers, and basically, it’s like complimenting a random stranger on their fashion sense and telling them to compliment you back.

Talk to people and share interesting stuff on your blog if you want to make friends. If they like you and think you’re worth following back, they will. If they like you but don’t follow back, don’t take it personally. No one is entitled to follow backs.

3. No Anon Hate

The easiest way to talk to someone directly is through the ask box. If a user has enabled the ask box function on their blog, you can ask a question, comment or say hello to them. There is also an option in some ask boxes to remain anonymous.

Please do not use this function to insult, bully or troll a person, although it is very easy to do so. You may think you’re protected by the cloud of anonymity but Tumblr users can still find and report you to Tumblr’s admin staff. People have enough problems in real life and they don’t need more online.

4. Respect Others’ Opinion

If you want to have an opinion on the Web, the first thing you need to understand is that others are entitled to their opinion as well. People like, hate, are indifferent to, feel strongly and love wrongly about all sorts of fandom-triggered craziness, and that’s what makes the Web great.

The last thing anyone needs, including you, is some hatemonger cramming opinions down one’s throat. The best way to make sure that never happens if to start with yourself: respect the opinions of others as you would want them to respect yours.

5. Credit Your Source

Perhaps you came across something outside of Tumblr that you want to share on your blog. If it’s not yours, provide a link back to the source. Not crediting your source gives the wrong impression that you’re stealing someone else’s work. FYI Google, 9gag, weheartit.com and your computer folder are not sources.

If you don’t remember the source, put a disclaimer or don’t post it up at all. Also if you have posted something up, and the creator finds it then asks you to take down their work, irregardless of credit given or not, please do so. They have their reasons and if there is honor among thieves, there can be honor among Tumblr users – let’s make that happen.

Conclusion

Etiquette, in a sense, goes both ways. While common etiquette breach doesn’t warrant a report, you can call out on people who don’t adhere to the more serious ones, like posting what does not belong to them. Haters can be blocked and mean people unfollowed. You can even disable the anonymous option in ask.

If you are unsure about the right step to take, you can always ask. Tumblr users are generally helpful and aren’t shy to guide you. It’s okay to make a mistake here or two. What is not okay is stirring up trouble when there is none. Tumblr is a place to play out your interests, so if you ever feel threatened or harrassed by someone, remember that you can always report them.

Author:

Leanne is still mastering the art of being an Internet ninja. She spends too much time reading comics and scrolling Tumblr.

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