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Lessons in Tumblring

If you were not aware I am on the internet a lot. To the unfortunate detriment of my school work and my suffering masters' thesis. But! All my time spent here means that I know a few tricks. And I have decided to hand those tricks over to you!

I know a lot of authors have made the move from blogspot to tumblr (or are hanging out in both places). I get asked enough about how to use tumblr and how to make tumblr use fun and safe (for your mental health, etc), that I thought I would put together a post. If you guys like it enough, I'll make it a series! So first thing's first! If you have not already installed XKit 7, you should do that immediately, here! XKit is a really useful extension that allows you to modify the way you interact with your dash. There are installation instructions in the link. Once you've installed it the top of your dashboard should look like this:

If there's no red circle around the XKit symbol, that's okay! That is photoshop at work. But you should definitely click it! When you do, this should come up:
The extensions gallery! You are free to fiddle with things, of course! But what we're going to focus on today are blacklist, and postblock. So just scroll through the extension gallery until you find those three, hit the install button, and then return to the 'My XKit' tab. 

So before we talk about blacklist we should talk about tags! Because I am on tumblr a lot, I notice that lots of people don't use them, and you should. Tags are really important, both from an archival perspective and for making the experience of tumblring for your followers as safe and not stressful as possible.

Blacklist basically acts like a catch net for posts with particular words, either in the posts or in the tags. So for people who are triggered by posts about sexual assault, or racism, or food because of disorders or trauma, tagged posts are really important. The accepted format for tagging on tumblr is usually ' xx trigger cw' or 'xx trigger tw' i.e. trigger content warner or trigger warning. 

Things you should tag for:
  • sexual assault/rape
  • abuse
  • child abuse
  • homophobia
  • racism
  • food
  • violence
  • body horror
  • gore
  • death
  • GIFS
Okay I'm gonna stop here and really emphasize why you should tag for gifs. Because we all loves gifs. Gifs are awesome! THEY MADE THE INTERNET COOL. Gifs can also trigger epileptic seizures in some people. Not all gifs, and not all epileptics. But it's really useful to just tag all gif sets with 'gif' - most people who get triggered by them will have them blacklisted.*

It's also not a bad idea to put out a call to your followers and ask them what they want you to tag for. Some people have weird things that upset and or trigger them, and they will enjoy following you a lot more and resent you a lot less if you tag for them. Tumblr has also finally started retaining tags that you use a lot so it won't take long to tag anyway!

But back to the blacklist! To use it, click on it in your My Xkit tab, and scroll down to this: 
Add whatever you please at the bottom! (Shhh, I have a Sherlock problem in that I hate his face. Also the second one is how you get rid of ads! Was super helpful when Tumblr kept advertising The Purge.) Assuming things are tagged on your dash, anything that is stressful and that you've put into the black list (or that you are just straight up tired of seeing) should disappear. Tumblr Savior works equally well! And is actually what I use. You can learn more about it here.

For Postblock you don't need to go into the My XKit tab. If you've installed it, just go straight to your dash. 

Postblock is incredibly helpful if you've written a post that's suddenly gotten a lot of traction, and the notes are taking over your dash. Or if you find a post harmful, triggering, alarming, boring or just straight up hate it. But your friends keep reblogging it! It keeps showing up everywhere! You blacklist every possible tag combination and it somehow STILL GETS THROUGH.

Postblock is here to help! Go to the post in question on your dash. What you are looking for is the stop sign hand with a paper in front of it, circled in the picture below. 

Click it on the post, and that post should never appear on your dash again. The notes attached to it should also disappear! And no matter who reblogs it, even if they are your favorite person, you will never know!

I hope this post was helpful! I find both of those extensions intensely useful to curating my experience and making it as healthy and fun as possible. (Remember when Hannibal started airing. I used blacklist liberally). If you have any questions, or want to see this continued as a series please let me know in the comments!
Somaiya Daud

Somaiya Daud received her BA and MA from a university in DC in English. She is currently working on her PhD. When not writing or studying, she spends too much time on the internet yelling about comics and robots. Her first novel, Mirage, is coming 2017 from Flatiron Books.

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  1. this is a good post for folks who are just getting started on tumblr (or just never understood tagging), since tagging can be an overwhelming concept. there is also a neat userscript that will help you keep track of the things you need to tag here which is suuuper easy (just click the tag you need!) and helpful.

  2. Thank you! I'm bookmarking this post right now.

  3. Sumy, what does "body horror" constitute? I'm picturing anything from ax murders to mirror reflections.

    1. Generally when I tag for it it's anything that distorts the human body in really scary ways (extra eyes, gore, holes in very strange places). o.o

  4. I was so confused trying to figure out Tumblr the other day, I just gave up. My head is spinning from your post too, but I'm going to keep it open to help me when I return to Tumblr. Thank you!

  5. Thanks for this post, Sumayyah. I started using Tumblr two days ago and this will help me have a more interesting (not to mention personalized) experience. Good luck on that thesis!


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Item Reviewed: Lessons in Tumblring Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sumayyah