Fumbling with Tumblr

Two cats and a dryer

Where’s the Tumbl button? — photo credit Malingering @ Flickr

The class readings we had on Tumblr taught me a few things about Tumblr I didn’t know before, but only left me more confused about it!

* It’s like Twitter, in that you can share quick thoughts with the world and do so from your phone.
* It’s like Flickr, in that you can easily share your photos with the world.
* It’s like LiveJournal, in that your blog exists in a community of other blogs with a feed of blogs you’re following.
* It’s like Facebook, in that you can share thoughts/photos/videos/links in a space that encouraging sharing of what you shared.
* It’s like a blog, in that.. it’s a blog.
* It’s like a podcast hosting site, in that you can easily post a podcast even if you only have a phone and no recording equipment.
* It’s like Pinterest, in that you can curate a collection of photos and links.

(Random note: My spellcheck likes Twitter, Flickr, LiveJournal, and Facebook, but says I misspelled Tumblr and Pinterest. Hrrrm.)

* It’s not as good as Twitter, because you can’t quickly search a hashtag to follow a discussion in real time.
* It’s not as good as Flickr, because you can’t create photo albums and easily see all the metadata embedded in the photo.
* It’s not as good as LiveJournal, because… well, maybe it is. But it’s not as old as LiveJournal.
* It’s not as good as Facebook, because all your friends and family aren’t on it and you can’t play games.
* It’s not as good as a blog on another platform, because you don’t have as much control and variety of plugins.
* It’s not as good as a podcast hosting site, because it doesn’t help you get your podcast onto iTunes or make your podcast easily searchable amongst other podcasts.
* It’s not as good as Pinterest, because Pinterest lets you see a collection all at once and makes it very easy to pin.

(Random note the second: Spellcheck is fine with podcast, but make it plural and it just can’t cope. Podcasts, really?)

I’m left with the conclusion that Tumblr falls into some niche that I just can’t pinpoint. It does things other places do, and just.. does them a little differently. Sometimes better, sometimes worse, mostly just differently. It probably is one of the causes for LiveJournal declining in popularity, at least in the US. It seems to most closely match what LiveJournal does, only with making it easier to customize and to post a variety of content.

I’m still not quite convinced I need to have one.


2 thoughts on “Fumbling with Tumblr

  1. Barnaby Hughes

    What an excellent and creative comparison! Perhaps Tumblr doesn’t fall into a niche, but actually falls through the cracks?

  2. Christy Confetti Higgins

    Yes, very creative, thanks for sharing. I think there is a lot to be said for choice so maybe it’s not for everyone or every library but it certainly has a place for some – having choices are always good.


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