I like the neighborhoodr-eastvillage feed, but something is starting to bug me. I can’t quite put my finger on it.
Thanks for the feedback, Ted!
The signature, or “Dashboard Spam” as you referred to it, was an attempt at combating a nagging Tumblr deficiency, namely that site/post content doesn’t always appear as completely as one would like it to when read via the Dashboard. Whether it’s an embedded video that doesn’t get parsed correctly (or at all), or in this case, that important header/sidebar information isn’t visible to readers, the Dashboard needs work.
Neighborhoodr is a slightly different beast than a typical, personal Tumblr. It’s designed to be: a) a reader-generated community blog/bulletin board, and in the end b) a valuable source of news for said community. The former, of course, is only true if/when readers submit stories (or, in the least, tag their posts “East Village”) and, having moderated for about a year now, I’ve found this did not occur as often as this volunteer moderator would like… The latter won’t materialize to any large degree if the blog has no audience (or, the content may just end up limited to what moderators find interesting).
“So, what’s the problem, Matt?”
Therefore, they don’t see that header regularly, if ever again after initially choosing to follow the blog.
Two, and I can’t speak for others, but I do about 85% of my Tumblr consumption via the iPhone app.
For those that don’t browse Tumblr on their mobile phone, this is how posts appear on an iPhone (same goes for Blackberry/Android apps) within the Dashboard and the mobile-optimized version of the native site:
And, we don’t auto-post to Facebook, but here’s how posts appear there:
See? Between browsing via the Dashboard or mobile phones, one rarely sees the header.
So, I thought I’d experiment by adding a signature reminding people that they can submit and providing direct, inline links to do so.
Spammy? I can see your point. Most personal Tumblrs don’t do this, though others may not think about Tumblr from a design/technical/feedback/UI standpoint as much as I do.
Overkill? I often post multiple posts in a row, so, yes, I see how the signature can seem redundant when three or four posts from us take over your Dashboard.
Perhaps utilizing the queue more would help alleviate that effect.
Was your beef just with the folksy, interstitial language? I can pull that out to minimize the Dashboard footprint.
For the record, for the few weeks that I experimented with the signature, we received more new followers and more submissions/tips/feedback than ever before.
In the end, the experiment worked, but we obviously care first and foremost what our readers think.
Again, this stemmed mostly from my frustration with the limitations of the Dashboard. Maybe the Neighborhoodr reader-generated design will eventually have to fall by the wayside for a more curated editorial model.
For now, and following word of your post, I already have and can continue to dial back the signature usage. I thought at first that I’d only add it to original posts vs. reblogs. Of course, we never know which posts will end up resonating with the community, and the way Twitter and Tumblr make going viral very simple, again, I’d like to always remind people that they can add to the conversation. Maybe just a once or bi-weekly post with a reminder and submission links will be less of a bother to readers.
Will continue to tweak.
Again, thank you for your input, Ted, and please don’t hesitate to reach out in the future.