August 17, 2016
Repurposing tumblr for social bookmarks
Tumblr is a surprisingly great tool for sharing bookmarks
Note: This article was modified and republished on Medium as Using Tumblr for Bookmarks

A World of Bookmark Managers

There are probably more bookmark managers out there than we really need. I’m a former Delicious user and I’ve been using Diigo for a few years, and it works fairly well. I also use Chrome, and I like the way Google synchronizes my bookmarks across all my devices.

Yes, they work fairly well, but I have the same problem for both of these apps – I use bookmarks in two different ways, and they only solve for one. Here’s a quick analogy:

Storage Closet

My closet is a semi-messy affair of clothing articles, loosely organized for different situations (cool tees in one corner; sport jackets in another; my tie collection in a third). The closet is there for me, close to where I sleep, but I still end up wearing the same things every day. I only go in there if you need to find a specific outfit. And sometimes, outfits will go forgotten for a very long time.

My closet never inspires me to wear something different, because its contents are tucked away behind a door. They’re out of sight, out of mind, and I end up forgetting about them.

Coffee Table

Meanwhile, the coffee table is always in the open. It’s always in the corner of my eyes, at the edge of my mind. When I get bored, I mindlessly pick up a coffee table book. Maybe I’ll learn something.

When friends come visit, it could even spark ideas and conversation.

Bookmark Storage

Both Diigo and Chrome organizes bookrmarks in the same way – they let me throw your bookmarks in a digital storage closet. Sometimes I remember to go in there and take a look, but honestly there’s so much cool stuff out there I become a hoarder of bookmarks, many of which I’ll forget.

I am a hoarder of bookmarks, most of which I’ll forget to come back to

Coffee Table of Bookmarks

What I need is a coffee table for bookmarks. A place for me to save my reading for later, for those days I get bored, or seeking inspiration.

Bare bones tumblr template

This is where the power of Tumblr comes in. With Tumblr, you can easily post links, images, videos, and whatever you’d like to Tumblr, then display the content anywhere you’d like.

Since I don’t intend to use tumblr as a blog, I’m just using a janky bare bones template.

Easily posting links to Tumblr

With a Chrome extension like Post to Tumblr, I can add, categorize, and tag links I love in seconds. With Tumblr’s RSS and API, I can make my links appear anywhere I want.

To make my bookmarks social, I plan to use the tumblr API to display my bookmarks on my site, so visitors will know the type of content I’m interested in (Here’s a quick how-to). I can even add my own comments, thoughts, and treat my bookmarks as reposts.

Configuring Panda to show my Tumblr feed (bottom left)

I already use the Panda Chrome plugin to display news and RSS feeds, so I can keep my bookmarks fresh in my mind by adding my own Tumblr feed to Panda.

This way, whenever I start Chrome, I can get a quick glance at the recent bookmarks I’ve added.

Neat eh?