Tumblr is something else
March 2, 2012
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I’ve been on Tumblr now for about two weeks, with an average of ten posts per day. What I wrote in my earlier comparison mostly holds true, but on the whole Tumblr became a completely new experience.
Technically, Tumblr is a lot closer to WordPress than I thought. More as an experiment, I have posted the biography of Adam van Noort as a text post, with an inlined image, essentially just copying the last three paragraphs of this WordPress post over. There’s not much difference. The Tumblr editor offers less help for inlined images, any extra tags must be set manually, and there are no theme-supported image captions. Apart from that, any of my WordPress blogs could just as well be on Tumblr.
What actually makes a difference is the lack of categories, combined with a far less reliable search, and an archive that’s just a collection of thumbnails. That makes older posts less accessible, a tumblelog less like a website, less systematic, the flow of time more relevant, careful tagging more important. I found that it somehow reduced my inhibitions as well. I post a lot more on Tumblr than on WordPress not only because it’s easier, but because I care less.
The really big difference lies in the culture and interaction, which is a lot like Twitter. By default, Tumblr does not support comments on posts, only likes, but reblogging is easy and common. Since all reblogs and likes are visible on every instance of a post, this is a good way to find new tumblelogs with similar tastes, and, of course, new material. At the moment, about 60% of my Tumblr posts are reblogs, it’s become for me a place to find things just as much as a place to post things.