What’s a Tumblr?

Hey all, as you may (or may not) know Tumblr is another handy blogging platform, kind of like WordPress (what I use), Blogspot, Typepad, and Xanga (though very few people use that anymore). Back in the day, Xanga and Livejournal were ‘the’ blogging platforms for your rantings, poetry, recaps of high school drama etc. but today’s blog platforms are more advanced and more diverse. Need a quick primer on what blog platform does what? Well here are some types and what they do:

  1. WordPress/Typepad/Blogger-aka. the “word” based- These platforms are highly driven by writing, the written word, and stylistically how text appears on a page. Seeking to appear more official than its Xanga/Livejournal predecessors, these platforms offer crisp, clean, text-driven layouts that are mean for ease of reading rather than extensive picture use. While they all offer variations which can be more suited to images etc…its not their primary goal to have tons of pictures and very little text. These platforms want to mimic all the nostalgia of print, without the hassle.
  2. Tumblr-aka. the “picture” based- This platform is primarily a pictures-first platform, and many of its primary layouts are driven by pictures rather than text. A quick glance at a Tumblr blog versus a WordPress blog often reflects far less writing, and far more style-driven pictures of varying social groups and pop culture phenomenons. On this platform, ‘tags’ are more than just markers at the bottom of a post, and can be tracked based on interest. Though Tumblr is an elegant platform, it really doesn’t lend itself to rigorous writing….an example being the high success of tumblrs such as ‘whatshouldwecallme’ and ‘howdoIputthisgently’…and the failures of other blogs seeking to use it as a text-based blog.
  3. Livejournal/Xanga-aka. “the oldies”-While Blogspot was able to freshen up and compete with the newer platforms, these social-based blogs generally revolved around ‘mood’ emoticons, and were initially created to be ‘journals’ online. In high school, many of my friends used these platforms to vent about drama, boyfriends, friends that were ‘frenemies’ etc. Long story short, these platforms are still around, but more or less are ancient relics of the early 2000’s and were mainly used by gloomy teens. If someone says they used Xanga to blog now…it’s a bit like saying you use a Walkman or have an 8-track in your car. Or use a CD player…or still know what a dial-up modem sounds like. It’s not a cool thing to admit to, basically.

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