Tumblr offers you abundant opportunities to track statistics about your own socially connected blogs without providing the same open access to look at other users' followers. Whereas Twitter links each user's follower and following lists on her profile page -- even for private accounts whose protected tweets you can't read -- Tumblr keeps this type of information hidden from public view. Individual users also control how much you see about the Tumblrs they like.
If the Tumblr you want to analyze uses a theme that displays a list of the Tumblrs its owner enjoys, it shows you the avatar and username of each subscriber whom the specific account follows. Theme designs vary, however, and some don't reveal this feature. Subscribers can edit free themes, buy premium code and alter it, commission original themes or create their own. These customizations determine what you see on an individual Tumblr. When subscribers make these changes, they can choose to remove the following list from view and keep their interests to themselves.
You can come close to figuring out who follows an individual Tumblr if you analyze the lists of subscribers who respond to more than one of the blog owner's posts. If you examine recent entries, especially those that attract longer lists of interested parties, you can begin to piece together a current portrait of the audience for the Tumblr you're investigating. Your ability to compile this kind of picture of an individual Tumblr depends on the features its theme reveals, as well as the amount of time you want to spend conducting a manual analysis.
Developers who sign up for an API key so they can create new Tumblr themes can analyze many aspects of a Tumblr account. They can retrieve information about an individual blog, including its display title, avatar, post total, description, time stamp of its most-recent post, follower list, how many likes it accrues and whether it allows other subscribers to interact with it through questions, anonymous or not. Some of this information won't be revealed unless the subscriber provides access through OAuth. That authorization occurs when you sign up for an app that requires access to your account to add new functionality to it. If you sign up for an API key just so you can dig in to the details of other subscribers' accounts, you may not learn much unless you create something that people actually want to sign up to use on their Tumblr accounts.
Tumblr's privacy protections help individual subscribers make intelligent decisions about how much they want to reveal about themselves. If an account prompts your interest but doesn't show you the kinds of details you want to learn about its owner, you can follow it, read its posts and familiarize yourself with its audience the old-fashioned way. Before you lament your lack of access to that blog owners' biography and influence level, think about how accessible you do or don't want your own online life to become.
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