Tumblr features a number of ways to exchange private messages, whether you're a blog host or a reader. The Ask feature, for example, enables users and anonymous readers to ask the host questions, and the host can choose to publish answers to the blog or send them as a private response that appears in the user's inbox. Fan Mail, on the other hand, requires that the sender be a follower for at least 48 hours and messages remain entirely private in both directions.

Ask Me Anything

When you feature the Ask button on your Tumblr blog, others are able to send you messages or comment on your latest post -- whether they follow you or not. To initiate the message, click the "Ask Me Anything" button and compose the entry, and click "Ask" to send it. To answer a message, click the icon of an envelope at the top of the dashboard. Responses that are answered publicly get published to your blog; those that are marked private go only to the user's inbox.

Enabling the Ask Tool

The Ask feature requires that the blog host enable it to function properly. To add this feature to your own blog, click the gear icon on the dashboard and click the blog with which you would like to work. In the Ask section, enable the option to "Let People Ask Questions." You can further personalize your Ask page by creating a title that will display at the top of the page as well as on the Ask link on your blog. To enable anonymous questions, enable "Allow Anonymous Questions" and then click "Save" to save your settings.

Tumblr Fan Mail

Tumblr's Fan Mail feature is activated by default for all blogs and can be used by anyone who has followed a blog for at least 48 hours. The messages can be customized by theme and font face, have no message length limit and are also equipped to support links within the body of text. You can send up to 500 messages per day and can access the feature from your dashboard, your inbox or from any blog page on Tumblr.

Using Fan Mail

To create a Fan Mail message, click the "Send Fan Mail" button from your inbox, hover over a blog avatar in your dashboard, and click the "Fan Mail" icon in the drop-down menu or click the Tumblr Fan Mail icon next to the Follow and Like icons on any blog. From there, compose your note and click "Send" when you're done. To answer a Fan Mail, click the "Reply" button from the message within your Inbox.