Tumblr gestures & data

Tumblr, like Twitter, provides an interesting and valuable experience for logged in and logged out/non users.

For example if you aren’t logged in you can read my Tumblr posts with ease. You can see how many people like or reblog any given posts. And you can see thing like my big pictures by clicking on the “Pictures” link at the top of this page. You can also ask me a question.

If you are logged-in and you view my Tumblr posts, you can do more. You can “heart” a post, or reblog it, or reply.

I like this model. My Tumblr has dual citenzenship on the web. I’m a participant outside of Tumblr and I’m a participant inside of Tumblr.

Even if you are a logged in Tumblr user there is a bunch of data I’m able to see about my personal interactions that aren’t visible to others.

I thought I’d share some thoughts about them.


Tumblr shows me at any given time, who I’m hearting the most on the Tumblr network. These days I follow about 185 people on Tumblr (adding more all the time) but these are the folks I heart the most. I’d encourage you to also follow them if you don’t already.


Related to my Crush badge above, Tumblr gives the ability to hide or make available all of the things you “heart” on tumblr. Some Tumblr themes display this information prominently. Others don’t. My custom theme at the moment doesn’t have this info but I’m proud of the things I heart on tumblr so I need to find a way to show them off. In the meantime, here’s a link to everything I’m loving on Tumblr.


Tumblr has a different view than Twitter when it comes to displaying the number of followers you have. Twitter displays this information prominenantly. Tumblr takes the opposite view and makes this data private. Right now, I have over 6k followers on Tumblr (thanks everyone!!).

As the number of Tumblr followers has increased I’ve noticed that much more of my interactions, engagement and engagement on my blog happen with other logged in users. That makes sense as David and John have been telling me for some time that traffic inside the Tumblr dashboard (logged in users) continue to make up the majority of page views.

As a result, measurement of my blog’s reach is misleading at best based on 3rd party analytics tools. Those only count pageviews to bijansabet.com. They are unable to count how much reach my Tumblr posts has inside or outside of tumblr. 

This isn’t unsual or unique to Tumblr. When I send out a tweet, it ends up being displayed on a wide range of apps, websites and devices thanks to the many 3rd party clients and web apps that leverage the Twitter API. Measuring my site’s traffic with Google Analytics or Compete.com is the functional equivalent of being able to measure page views to twitter.com/bijan. It’s just not a helpful metric .

In some ways the number of followers you have doesn’t tell the whole story either. A few reblogs or retweets and your content can go on a tear.

Last week I shared this photo on Tumblr. I’m not exactly sure when it happened but it felt like a few hours later, it picked up enough reblogs that it just took off with over 6k notes.

If I look at google analytics for that particular day it doesn’t show a crazy, radical spike. It just shows a nice bump. But I picked up a significant number of new followers that day, and a ton of questions on Tumblr Ask. 

I gotta run and get ready for my flight. So I’ll bring this post home by just saying that I get a lot of value out of all the gestures and data on Tumblr. I think there are a many possibilities for Tumblr to continue to increase the user experience with all of this and there are a lot of exciting possibilities for 3rd parties that want to innovate with Tumblr data as well.