How to Track Anonymous Messages on Tumblr
By Danielle Fernandez
With social networking use and Internet bullying both on a steep rise, it is often necessary to take precautions that protect you from malicious attacks. If you've received harassing messages from anonymous users on your Tumblr blog, for example, you can determine the user's IP address and identify the original sender. This task requires that you first sign up for a tracking service and then embed the unique HTML script for the tracker on your blog.
Navigate your browser to a tracking service like SiteMeter, Google Analytics or Stat Counter (links in Resources). Select the option to register or create a new account.
Enter your blog's details -- like the URL, the blog's name and your local time zone -- and configure your tracker's options to your preferences. You can, for example, opt to receive daily visitor count emails using an invisible tracker so your readers don't know you're counting individual blog visits.
Highlight the HTML script that is provided once your counter is configured and copy it to your clipboard -- if you're not given a "Copy" option, simply press "Ctrl-C" on a PC or "Command-C" on a Mac.
Log in to your Tumblr Dashboard and click the gear icon at the top of the page.
Select "Customize" and click "Edit HTML" in the left navigational pane on the next screen.
Scroll to the bottom of your HTML coding and place your cursor directly before the "</body>" tag. Press the "Return" button a few times to clear your work area -- the extra spaces won't affect your blog's formatting.
Paste your HTML script in the newly cleared space by pressing "Ctrl-V" on your PC's keyboard or "Command-V" on a Mac. Click "Update Preview."
Select "Save" and then "Close" to exit the customization workspace.
Message yourself anonymously to test out the tracking feature. To do so, select "Ask," enter a test message and enable the "Ask Anonymously" option before clicking "Ask" again to send it.
Return to the tracking service site and log in to your account. Select the option to access recent site visitor information.
Locate the listing nearest to the time you estimate that you sent the anonymous Ask and expand it to display the user information -- including the individual's IP address, location of access and how long the visit lasted on your blog. Highlight and copy the IP address information.
Navigate another browser tab or window to an IP lookup tool like the ones hosted on Info Sniper, IP Address or What Is My IP (links in Resources). Paste the copied address into the search box to obtain further details about the user -- like the Internet service provider, time zone and ZIP code.
If you require additional assistance for an ongoing Tumblr bullying issue, provide the IP address you obtained to a legal professional for further tracing.
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.