There are a load of interesting articles I can, and will, be writing about discovering products in a viral, Word-of-Mouth type way like this, so marketing/PR type people, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!
But I’m going to share my first thoughts about Tumblr for the moment. Lots of people have compared it to Twitter, which in some ways is hiding the real competition. Like Twitter, it does allow you to update quickly and easily, via the Bookmarklet tool, and it has an advantage in allowing quick updates of video, pictures, chat, quotes etc. And like Twitter, it’s clean and smooth to use. Hit bookmarklet, edit anything in a pop-up window, and move on – much like bookmarking in Del.icio.us.
BUT- Twitter is all about the social. Like Del.icio.us, it didn’t really give me much value, until my follows and followers numbers reached a certain point – probably around 20 or 30. And the value has grown with each person added…(Waiting for Dave Cushman to pop over from FasterFuture to mention Reed’s Law!)
As yet, Tumblr doesn’t offer any way to easily connect with friends and contacts and follow their Tumbls easily. That’s why I think the real places it competes is with WordPress and Blogger. I’m a fan of both (As you can tell by this blog still appearing on Blogger), and think they both do a good job of allowing non-technical people to start engaging with blogging, writing, widgets, communities etc.
But both WordPress and Blogger do force you to develop a bit of an interest in HTML, Usability, Design etc. Adding videos can be a hassle, unless the website in question has a ‘Blog This’ function and you don’t mind sharing your username. And misplacing a bit of code in your HTML can lead to serious problems (as I’ve continually reminded myself when editing code in a hurry).
Tumblr removes all these problems, and as with the blogging platforms, it can be ftp’d to your custom domain. Essentially, it’s a stripped down, easy to use Blogger, which doesn’t require you to visit the Blogger site to log in and post. It’s ideal for anyone who uses a lot of multimedia, without wanting to cover their sites in widgets, and it’s also a great time saving device.
Personally, although I’ve signed up and played, and can see the benefits, I’m not sure how often I’ll use it. I’ve already got a working blog with a continually surprising amount of readers – and I adore the social side of Twitter to the point of declining in my use of Facebook or email. But if I was looking to start my own blog as a repository for all the things I find during my day, and without wanting to write huge long posts (Never going to happen, right?), then Tumblr is definitely worth looking at.