Explain Tumblr to me? (In three great examples)
Tumblr -- call it a blogging service, or a micro-blogging service, or just plain neat-o -- makes sharing text, video, pictures and your own commentary super easy. Think of Tumblr as somewhere between Facebook, Twitter and a traditional blog.
Blogging often feels over-complicated and a bit daunting for the casual user. Twitter let's you share itty-bitty chunks of links and text -- referred to by many as micro-blogging -- but doesn't allow for verbose explanations. Facebook offers users the features of Twitter and traditional blogging but disallows anonymity -- friend lists are often filled with a mix of family, acquaintances and co-workers with widely varying tastes and values. To wit most users keep Facebook PG-13, at the most.
Tumblr combines simplicity and (optional) anonymity of a service like Twitter with the robust features of a Facebook. The end result? ATumblelog -- the term coined in 2005 to describe the concept of micro-blogging tools, although now more deeply connected with it's namesake, Tumblr. Tumblelogs define the gap between flexibility of a robust blogging tool, and the ease and comfort of posting to your Facebook Wall or your Twitter feed.
Looking to dip your toes in the ocean of Tumblr users' content, but not sure where to start? The Los Angeles Times uses Tumblr to tease and tantalize stories and news updates. Their Tumblr is a great example of the gap-filling nature of Tumblr content -- Giving more in-depth and visual nods to longer stories in the public consciousness, as well as more personality laden hints of what their staffers are interested in on the Tumblrs they follow.
Linking directly to photo galleries rather than wordy peices, and showcasing interesting things from other Tumblr users. The culture of Tumblr is such that there really are no traditional comments -- instead Tumblelogs encourage reposting and sharing. It's a bit of an alien concept if you're a big fan of comment threads but, it helps encourage distribution and lends well to posted items travelling between groups and communities.
Whether you know the term or not, you likely already love "food porn" too. Food porn is, simply put -- artful, delicious and envy-inducing pictures of food just before it's consumed. In a world of Photoshop enhanced everything and fast food burgers that never look like the TV advertisement, honest food porn taken right at the table reminds you there really are amazing meals to be had and tastebud boundaries to be tested.
I Love Food Porn is a fantastic example of a Tumblelog that communicates mostly in pictures. Additionally, ILFP's posts are sourced almost entirely from other food porn addicts around Tumblr. The result is a visually pleasing (if a bit diet testing) aggregation of the best food porn on Tumblr, as cultivated by an honest food porn lover.
Self-described as "A decadent orgy of materialistic delight in the pursuit of fashionable transcendence", The Coquette is part fashion, part sarcasm, and a dash of pure-green wealth envy. It's also a clever social marketing tool for the Coquette Boutique, a web-only purveyor of stylish bits which fit in quite nicely the rest of Coquette's content.
Unconventional to say the least -- while irreverent and uncensored to the core -- The Coquette uses a much more blog-like Tumblr theme, and is a well-executed example of how posting cleverly on Tumblr can expand the reach of other projects or causes with which you're involved. Beware if you have sensitive tastes, Carlin's 7 Dirty Words come up early and often on Coquette, but that's also a bit of her charm.
Have you discovered an interesting or unconventional Tumblr you think I should see? Let me know.