How to Create a Personal, Automated Collage with Tumblr

There are too many social networks. This is not news, of course, but to the daily web user, it is a constant challenge. Where does my attention belong? Which deserves my data?

Each social network has its own ‘schtick-’ that thing that they do better than any other network. Twitter has its brevity, Facebook its ubiquity. Instagram has filters for photos, Google+ has unparalleled Google integration.

Awhile ago, I ditched Tumblr. I simply couldn’t figure out where it fit. The content is wonderful, but there are too many regurgitated snippets of the worthless, the meaningless. So I left, but as the weeks passed, I felt a bit of regret. Tumblr is a great platform, so I set about the task of trying to decipher its strengths. If I could find its strengths to my advantage, I could find its place in my web.

I recalled coming across the concept of using Tumblr as a collage of sorts. Tumblr profiles, after all, are just websites, really, but with great personalization, free themes, and a focus on digestible snippets. It’s also a fairly large player in the blogging game, so integration with other services is not at a premium.

I began to wonder what a personal collage would look like. Ideally, it would incorporate what I’m reading, what I’m listening to, and a bit of my personal style- and it would be effortless, would not require direct input from me.

The picture began to take shape. I wanted to add my favorite Instapaper articles, my Pinterest pins, my favorite songs from ThisisMyJam, and my favorite YouTube videos to the collage. Thankfully, it’s not difficult to set up.

Articles

Instapaper has built-in Tumblr support. If you have an account, head into your settings and hook up the Tumblr integration. Now, when you favorite an article in Instapaper, it will automatically be posted to Tumblr. If you use Readability or Pocket, this can be achieved via IFTTT.

Images

Pinterest integration needs to be set up via IFTTT. If you want to send pins to your primary Tumblr blog, you can use this recipe. If, like me, you need to send your pins to a secondary Tumblr, you can use this recipe to post to Tumblr through Gmail.

Music

ThisisMyJam also has built-in Tumblr support. Sign in, head to your settings, and hook it up. Now all of your favorite jams will be posted to Tumblr.

Videos

YouTube, alas, has no Tumblr integration, so again we’ll need to use IFTTT. Here’s the recipe. Again, if you’re using a secondary Tumblr, you’ll need the alternate recipe. Again, the result is simple: like a YouTube video, and it’s sent to your Tumblr as a video post.

In the end, this setup becomes a passive, automated journal. I look forward to browsing my collage five years from now to see what I was reading, what I was listening to, how my style has evolved. It is perhaps the most intriguing way of doing something with your data.

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