Are We Afraid To Do What We Want With Our Blogs?

tumblrlogoOver on the WooThemes blog, they have an interesting discussion taking place in the comments of their most recent post discussing Tumblr. They basically want to know if their customers would pay for Tumblr specific themes. Adii prefaces the entire post though with his impressions of Tumblr.

I say the comments are interesting because I keep hearing repeated statements. “I want to use WordPress like Tumblr“, “I just want to post video or a quote“, etc. I’ll admit that one of the best things I remember about Tumblr is its bookmarklet for quickly and easily publishing content. That bookmarklet was awesome and was supposed to be the inspiration behind the new “Press This” bookmarklet but for whatever reason, it’s just not the same. The point I wanted to make though was that can’t people post videos, quotes, etc to their blogs already? Why is it that WordPress needs to be setup like Tumblr for people to publish in these ways? I mean, look at Ma.tt. Usually all he does is post a link and gets away with it on his WordPress site. I don’t see him needing Tumblr to do that.

People argue the fact that Tumblr is about microblogging and quickly posting various content types. Why can’t WordPress be used to do lengthy pieces of content while also doing short pieces of content? Is there some sort of virtual barrier on the fact that WordPress should only be used to write lengthy pieces of content?

Should I really go back to Tumblr and give it a shot for a week to get a glimpse of what all the fuss is about?

9 Comments


  1. Nope, I wouldn’t ditch WP in favour of Tumblr… But I do think there’s a gap in the theming community for themes that look like tumblelogs. I’m not *that* excited about a simpler backend / posting functions; instead I think it’s all about how it looks & acts in public! :)

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  2. I think I will just summarize the comment I posted over on Woothemes here then! :)

    In my opinion, Tumblr is more than just a quick way to post videos or pictures.

    If you have used it, I am sure you have seen how it works for everyone: you follow and are followed, you check people’s posts from your dashboard, and you reblog what you like with two clicks of your mouse. Once you start following more and more people, reblogging represents an important part of your blogs content: much like Twitter retweets in fact.

    In the end you do not even check people’s pages, you get everything in your dashboard.

    So I do not really get why we compare WordPress and Tumblr, when Tumblr is actually much more Twitter-like.

    Can you implement Social features, develop a community of followers and friends, display a dashboard with all their recent posts and the possibility to post quickly from there, all this with WordPress? I am sure you can do it, nothing is imopssible, but what is the point?

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  3. I will admit, Tumbler is simple, but WordPress provides so many options and the ability to modify anything. I use my blog/site to post both lengthy articles and short link posts (like ma.tt), it’s relatively easy, just some simple css.

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  4. I dont think people are necesarily afraid to do what they want, but you’ll find that not all wordpress users are “web savvy” and will ultimatelly be under the impression that if it’s not native (or available in a plugion) then its not possable. Not that wordpress isn’t capaple of posting “just a link” or “just a video” but I find that the admin area Is definately geard more towards bigger articles.

    Tumblr seems to offer this great feature that allows an almost flickr like posting mentality, short sharp frquent bursts of information, its not that this can’t be achieved with WordPress, I think its just people are less inclined to mess with the default functionailty.

    One other blogging tool that I have been looking into that goes even further than Tunblr for ease of posting “on the fly” is http://posterous.com/. This really is the ultimate “flickr in a blog”. Not sure what other peoples opinion and experince with this is though.

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  5. I think it’s more a culture issue, you know?

    If you’ve always published long blog posts, it can be risky to change the culture around your blog.

    I think Adii is right as well that sometimes a short post just doesn’t look as good as it does on other services so it reinforces your tendency to write “normal” length posts.

    This is a great discussion though and it’s interesting to read all the different views.

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  6. That would be a nice plugin for someone with a short domain name, but I prefer YouRLs so far. You can then register a domain like WPURL.com or something and build your own URL shortener easily! You can also open it up to the public or provide private logins.

    Here is a detailed write up from Lifehacker.

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  7. @Adii – Well, I’ve given it some thought and I’ve looked over Tumblr again and I suppose you have a point.

    @Jeremy – When you explain it like that, Tumblr definitely sounds like Twitter but for blogs. I’m sure WordPress could be turned into something similar as Tumblr but the social features and the ease of publishing different kinds of content and having it all look good I think is the issue here.

    @Chris – First off, good choice in themes :) Secondly, I can tell there is a difference between your asides posts and your normal posts. Although I’d prefer a little more visual difference between the two, I get what you’re saying.

    @Epic Alex – Taking a look at it, I see they use the chain link image and some other things to differentiate the short content versus the regular blog post content. I see the same problem though between this site and Chris’s and that is not enough visual difference between the two content forms. This must be what Adii was referring to regarding Tumblr and themes.

    @Alex Blundell – Over the past three months, I’ve seen Posterous popping up more and more in the news. I’m guessing what they have going on over their is a good thing. Have you tried using the built in “Press It” bookmarklet for quick bursts of information to your WordPress site?

    @Ben Cook – I think culture may have something to do with it. I mean, there are plenty of people who have a full blown blog and then an entirely separate site for short form content because apparently, the short form and the long form simply don’t mix well together visually. Definitely an interesting conversation and I hope it continues.

    @Kyle Eslick – This seems like a comment meant for this post: https://www.wptavern.com/roll-your-own-url-shortener-with-pretty-link

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  8. I’d like a way to post links in my WordPress blog the way they work in Tumblr, where the title is linked to the article I’m writing about. WordPress has the link section, but it’s not really getting used … would be great if there were a way to link the links and push them up on the blog itself Tumblr style…

    Any ideas?

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