Categories
Blogs and blogging Mindsets Social Web

Should Tumblr be the next Twitter? I hope not.

I can’t help but think that Jeremy Gordon’s call for people to return to Tumblr after abandoning Twitter misses the point a bit.

But on Tumblr, people could go on for at long as they needed to, a valuable tool for posters who could actually justify it. (And I use the past tense here in the context of my own experience; if you’re still doing this, bless you and yours.) Posts could be as short as necessary, but you could also find a historical deep dive, an interesting think piece (and not the kind derisively referred to as “takes”), a photo essay, or simply just a nice blog about someone’s life. The whole impetus behind following people on social media is, “Hey, I like this person’s brain, and am open to spending more time with it.” Tumblrs delivered the full, unrestrained range of someone’s head — funny, serious, and everything else.

Sure, Tumblr is an appealing platform, with a lot of good things to say about it. At the same time, one of the arguments for moving off the likes of Twitter and Facebook, and returning to personal sites is to regain control over your space on the Web.

Tumblr is another centralised, social space that’s vulnerable to the same threats that face its larger competitors.

People seem to be fixated on constraints, whether they are Twitter’s character count, or Tumblr’s engagement models.

Just create a blog of your own, on your preferred platform. I’m a WordPress user (since 2004), and you can choose another if you don’t like WordPress for some reason.

Whatever you choose, make it your space, at your domain, and keep it yours. If you only want to type short missives, great. If you prefer long, photo essays, that’s awesome too.

If you’re going to leave Twitter/Facebook because of the issues you see there, why replicate those conditions in another, similar service?

As Chris Aldrich put it, “support the web we’d like to have instead of the web we’re given”.

Categories
Mindsets Writing

It’s ok to dislike your writing, just not yourself

I came across this great piece of advice from Neil Gaiman about how it’s ok to dislike your writing but you shouldn’t dislike yourself for writing it.

https://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/post/139093894706/mr-gaiman-how-can-i-get-past-the-self-loathing-i

I may have a story in progress somewhere and I often wonder if I can write fiction well enough to be worth publishing. Being able to separate my feelings about my work and my feelings about myself for producing work that doesn’t meet my expectations of my work (as if I could actually have remotely reasonable expectations when I am still learning how to write well) makes it easier to treat the whole process as a learning experience and keep going.

Categories
Applications Blogs and blogging Writing

Not just another WordPress vs everything else

I love that there are so many options for people who want to publish their words online these days. I was researching a topic for a blog post for the imonomy blog (I am employed by imonomy as a Content Marketing Specialist) and my colleague, Shirley Pattison (read her stuff, she writes about fascinating topics), suggested a topic: is WordPress’ dominance as a preferred publishing platform under serious threat from upcoming favourites? It was a really interesting post to work on and the result is my 4 000+ word post titled “Is WordPress Still The King Of Online Publishing?“:

Is WordPress still the king in online publishing and will it continue to hold sway in the months and years to come?

As a publisher you want to ensure that your site’s platform gives you the functionality you need to reach your audience and convey your message.

I explore some of the major options and contrasted their features with WordPress’ in this article. Each of these options; WordPress, Squarespace, Ghost, Medium and Tumblr, have strengths and weaknesses where I focused on three themes: writing tools, customization and social.

What interested me most about the topic was how each service I explored seemed to have a different emphasis, whether it was simplicity, its underlying social dynamic or something else. The post became less a “WordPress vs Everything Else” and more an exploration of which platform may work best for you given what is more important to you when you share your work.

I really like Medium but when it comes to my writing and maintaining some sort of collection that is under my control (as much as it can be, I guess), WordPress remains my preferred platform.

On a related note, it is worth reading my post on Social Media Today titled “Build Your Community Hub, Don’t Rent It” if the debate about whether to publish on your platform or a 3rd party’s platform is best for you?

Categories
Blogs and blogging Social Web

My not so great Tumblr versus Google+ debate

Never mind the Google+ vs Facebook vs Twitter debate, there are pretty strong similarities between Google+ and Tumblr and Posterous. I used to use Posterous and Tumblr depending on my mood and closed down my Posterous site when I realised I didn’t really have a need for it given my preference for Tumblr anyway. Besides, I have a long standing WordPress blog which seems to keep ticking along and I keep thinking that is a wasted resource I should be tapping.

And then along comes Google+ and I lost myself in it for a couple weeks before emerging with a new appreciation for Twitter and Facebook and their different roles in my social Web experience. I posted a couple more times to Tumblr, tempted to finally just migrate there fully but then I would be abandoning this blog which has a larger following and has a history to it. It is basically my first real blog which I created in December 2004 and took through various incarnations in the last 5 years. That said, I still wonder just how important a long form blog is where so much sharing is on a much smaller and more dynamic scale. I haven’t exactly blogged consistently so my blog’s value to my readers has somewhat diminished in comparison to Twitter, Facebook (for personal stuff) and Google+.

Anyway, back to Tumblr. Tumblr appeals to me pretty strongly. I follow a number of blogs which I enjoy and its really easy to share posts I come across and which appeal to me. I haven’t really felt motivated to work at my Tumblr blog because its been more of a hobby to me than a serious blogging tool. Its fun, creative, inspiring. When it comes to meaningful engagement, Tumblr is a metaphorical dusty street in an old Western town complete with tumbleweed.

Aside from the lack of the sort of formatting options that are available to blogging platforms like Tumblr, Google+ has proved to be almost as capable as Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook (combined) for sharing and engagement. Granted you are pretty much locked into the Google ecosystem unless you use 3rd party browser extensions to share beyond Google+, you can still share stuff pretty easily and enjoy pretty active engagements at the same time. What Google+ does do that you can’t really do with Tumblr, Facebook or Twitter is export your Google+ data using what appear to be open standards and theoretically import that data into a compatible system. In Tumblr’s context, that is a big deal for me. I never liked the virtual lock-in you have to accept with Tumblr (thank goodness for WooThemes’ tumblr2wp service which enables you export your Tumblr blog to WordPress very effectively).

So here I am having a relatively meaningless (in the grander scheme of things) and very 21st century debate about whether I should bother maintaining my better looking and relatively independent Tumblr blog? Or should I just use Tumblr purely to consume content and switch to Google+ for the non-personal/family oriented sharing (Facebook still has that side of my social experience locked down because all my friends and family are there, not on Google+)?

As I type this I am leaning more towards Google+ for that sort of sharing going forward but tomorrow is a new day and I tend to change my mind a lot when debating these sorts of things. What do you think?