I tend to compulsively sign up to just about every new web-based tool or social networking site that comes along. Most of my accounts then languish unused because the service turns out to suck in a fairly fundamental manner.
I signed up for Tumblr a while back. On the face of it, it doesn’t really have anything new to offer; it’s basically just a blogging tool but one designed for micro-content rather than long posts. But there’s something about it that’s—forgive the nineties term—sticky.
Tumblr allows you to pull in feeds from other places. At first, this is what I did but I realised that there wasn’t much point in that because I already have a lifestream. The lifestream aspect of Tumblr just made it harder to filter the Tumblr-specific content. Jaiku does a better job of that, allowing not just the author, but also the reader, to filter content by source.
I don’t use Tumblr for posting links—I’ve got del.icio.us for that. And I don’t use it for photos—that’s what Flickr is for. So I focus on the things that Tumblr is particularly good at handling: videos and quotes.
The Tumblr bookmarklet is pretty clever. If I click it when I’m on YouTube, it guesses that I probably want to post that video. If I highlight some text on a page and then click the bookmarklet, the selected text will be added as a quote. Most importantly of all, the process of posting is very fast and unobtrusive; one or two clicks and I’m done. That means there’s no tagging, which might make refindability difficult, but the speed and ease of posting makes me more likely to click that bookmarklet.
Tumblr has a kind of casual throwaway feel to it and that’s how I’ve been using it: videos and quotes that don’t quite warrant a blog post or a del.icio.us link. Tumblr isn’t the most fully-featured service out there but that’s also its strength. If you’re interested, you can look at my Tumblr account.