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Understanding the Union Metrics reblog tree

You’ve probably seen us talk about our Tumblr reblog tree before, and show off how awesomely intricate it can be, but you might be curious about the nitty-gritty breakdown of how it works. If so, here you go!

For any post on Tumblr, we can map out the full reblog network - exactly how the post spread through Tumblr with reblogs. We can show you who reblogs your posts, where they saw a particular post, and who’s responsible for amplifying your content the most. 

Let’s start with a fairly simple example. Here is a reblog tree for the post we wrote comparing House of Cards to Arrested Development on Tumblr.  

This post got 27 reblogs and 91 likes, so it has a nice and simple reblog tree for our example. It’s a visual breakdown of these metrics: 

Let’s dig in. Each circle in the reblog tree represents one post or node in the network - either the original post or a reblog of it. The size of the circle and the number in parentheses shows the number of reblogs that came directly from a particular Tumblr. So if you see a really big circle on your reblog tree, that represents a blog that got a lot of reblogs for your post. In this example, there are a few circles that are slightly bigger than the others. 

Reblog trees should be read left to right. The first circle on the left is the original post - the subject of our analysis. The tree shows how many direct reblogs the original post received, either from a follower seeing the post in his/her dashboard or by someone visiting the blog directly. In this case, our post got 8 direct reblogs. That’s the first degree, or generation, of our reblog network. 

We can also see that our post was further spread through amplified reblogs - any reblogs that happened later down the line when people reblog the people who reblogged you. This post had 19 amplified reblogs. 

Hovering over any circle in your reblog tree will show you the name of a blog that reblogged you. Paying attention to these over time can allow you to find people who share or respond to your content - your fans! You could follow them or engage where appropriate by reblogging or liking some of their posts. 

In this case, shortformblog’s reblog of our post led to six of their followers reblogging it, and one of them -

- popculturebrain - lead to 10 more reblogs. That’s 16 of the 19 total amplified reblogs for this post. Both shortformblog and popculturebrain really boosted this post’s reach for us (thanks, by the way!).  

Finally, at the top of the reblog tree, you’ll also see the degrees, or generations, of reblogs.

This particular post was reblogged for three degrees beyond the original post (us). That it got the most reblogs in the third generation is interesting - this post gained momentum from more people as it was reblogged. That’s all thanks to two influential amplifiers in our network - the aforementioned shortformblog and popculturebrain.

So that’s the reblog tree. Some of them can get more complicated, but the basic principles are the same: hover over the circles to see the names of the blogs doing the reblogging, (and remember that the size of their circle correlates to how many reblogs resulted from them reblogging your post), how many reblogs resulted from each one, and their relationships to each other. Use this to pinpoint your biggest fans and most influential advocates. You can also find new blogs to follow and communities to join. 

Got questions? Send us a note. What else do you want to know about the reblog tree?

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