Is Short-Form Blogging The New Social-Network?

by Stanely Stuyvesant · January 31, 2008

tumblr stats

[Photo via Jakob Lodwick, via Silicon Alley]

For those of you who haven't heard of tumblr yet, its a new short-form blogging platform by 21-year old David Karp, that has been growing at a feverish pace. Think of a mash-up between Wordpress and Twitter. It has an extreme ease of use, enough dexterity to allow users to express themselves, and a feeling of ownership that far exceeds that of social-networks. Moreover, it engenders a very tight-knit community of fellow bloggers. Jakob Lodwick, of college humor and Vimeo fame, recently posted the following entry about the platform and its recent growth.

I imagine these numbers will just continue to grow as more people discover that maintaining your own blog is more satisfying than maintaining a profile on a social networking site. As I’ve said before, a comparison to being a homeowner vs. living in a housing project is appropriate.

Truer words have never been spoken (at least with regards to tumblr!). With a tumble blog there is a feeling of ownership, control, and expression. It makes social-networks feel a bit like a 2-dimensional cardboard figure. Moreover, most social-networking Terms of Service state that users DO NOT own their own content.

This is not to say that users will abandon social-networks or that they will lose their relevance. No, social-networks will always be relevant as a utility, like a business card, or an address book, but in terms of free flow of ideas and expression, the tumble blog seems to be quickly filling that niche.

The one fly in the ointment for tumble blogs, however, is that they might simply require too much expression. As one gofg commenter (Quin) put it after our post on The Julia Allison Tumblr Domino-Effect:

"i tried it. i can’t think of anything clever enough to put on it. i have enough problems remembering where i’ve put things like my keys or my glasses… how can i remember clever quips n’shit?"

Nevertheless, Lodwick is a classic example of an early-adopter (like his ex, Julia) who has embraced David Karp's tumblr outright. Support like his is a critical element necessary for the burgeoning community to explode with viral growth. Many people "in the know" (especially New Yorkers) have started blogs on tumblr, and it seems that it is only a matter of time before it shifts from small underground outfit onto center stage...it already has 1/3 the number of daily posts of Wordpress.