Tools for Transparency: Sharing News on Tumblr


A little over three weeks ago we soft launched a Tumblr blog titled Sunlight’s GoViz Blog.  The point of this experiment was to highlight interesting government data visualizations exploring what people were capable of designing (with some non-govenment infographics thown in for fun).

Within the few weeks of launching, the Tumblr platform and our new blog exceeded expectations: We have almost 700 followers and have been reblogged on the Tumblrs of National Journal, The Atlantic, The Washington Post and Mother Jones. It seems that people really enjoy data visualizations. We’ve had over 2500 visits and 4000 pageviews on our Tumblr since launching.

The conclusion we’re drawing from this experience is that Tumblr is a great platform for sharing, discovery and starting conversations, and that it lends itself towards helping content go viral. Setting up an account is easy. Sharing content is even easier.  The platform is designed so that you can quickly share text, photos, videos and other content types:

Blogging options






You can also track posts from other Tumblrs by clicking the ‘follow’ button usually in the top right corner of the page:

Tumblr follow button

Want to track keywords? Simple. Use the tagging feature:

Track keywords

Once you have posted something you can see how other users have engaged your content:

Track actions

We’re going to continue experimenting with our Tumblr account as there’s definitely room for growth. (I find it fascinating that the Washington Post has integrated their Tumblr into their main site.) In sum, this platform is definitely worth testing out, though keep in mind that it caters toward shorter posts, something halfway between Twitter and a traditional blog.  If you already have a Tumblr account let us know what you think about it in the comments.