How to Get Phone Alerts From Someone's Tumblr
By Danielle Fernandez
A variety of notifications on your smartphone alert you when there is new activity on an account you manage -- when you get an incoming email, for example, or a new comment on a Facebook post. The Tumblr mobile app offers similar push notifications, but they can only be set up for blogs you run yourself. To receive alerts when new content is posted to the Tumblr blogs you follow, you'll have to rely on the blogs' RSS feeds and the email or push notifications built into your favorite RSS reader.
RSS Feeds Explained
RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication" and works just like your Tumblr mobile app, organizing all of your favorite, frequently-updated content -- like other blogs or news services -- in a centralized, easy-to-read format. What an RSS feed offers that the Tumblr app does not, however, is the ability to set up alerts for blogs that are not managed by you. Once you've been notified of new content, you can then read the Tumblr posts using either the RSS reader or your Tumblr mobile app.
Finding the Blog's RSS Feed
Every Tumblr blog has its own RSS feed; some themes feature a displayed link to it in the sidebar or footer while others omit a navigational link entirely. The URL, however, is the same regardless of whether it's displayed or not. You can simply add "/rss" to the end of the blog's main address -- in other words, use "http://username.tumblr.com/rss" -- to locate and subscribe to any Tumblr blog's RSS feed.
Mobile RSS Readers and Notifications
A variety of cross-platform RSS readers are available, and it doesn't matter if you choose to go with a reader that offers both mobile and desktop support -- like Feedly, Pulse or Flipboard -- or a browser-based solution like Digg, Reedah or AOL Reader. A mobile app will likely support its own push notifications -- in other words, the alerts and icons that appear on your smartphone's Notifications bar -- but you can always configure a non-mobile reader to send you email alerts, which prompt the same kind of push notifications when received on your mobile device.
Configuring a Mobile RSS Reader
Once you've selected your preferred RSS reader, add the Tumblr feed's URL -- again, the main URL with "/rss" added to the end -- to initiate notifications. Click or tap "New Subscription" or "New Feed" -- the exact name of this option varies depending on which app or software you use -- and then enter the URL. By default, most readers send push or email notifications when new content is published, but you can also configure a keyword filter using the blog's title so you are notified as soon as new posts bearing that keyword go live.
Based in Tampa, Fla., Danielle Fernandez been writing, editing and illustrating all things technology, lifestyle and education since 1999. Her work has appeared in the Tampa Tribune, Working Mother magazine, and a variety of technical publications, including BICSI's "Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual." Fernandez holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of South Florida.