Why Tumblr is the future of blogging
The future of blogging is more interactive, fast-paced and multimedia, and Tumblr is on the edge of that wave.
Imagine what blogs are going to look like a few years from now. Are they going to look the same? If not, what are they going to look like? I suspect they’ll look a lot like Tumblr looks now.
I remember the first time I saw Tumblr. I think it was the one time when I most badly wanted to be a venture capitalist or just a rich guy because I was just dying to invest in it. Then I found out Fred Wilson had invested in it and that’s what put him on my radar.
I’ve been blogging for a long time, in different formats, in different ways, personally or collaboratively. I’ve used blogging as a collaborative advocacy tool, as President of Impulsion Concorde, which was the top free market think tank of students and young professionals in France at the time. I’ve used blogging as a dialog tool when I created a vlog with a friend I loved to disagree with (and then posted my friends’ YouTube parodies of same). And of course I’ve used blogging as an outlet for ill-informed, rambling rants like this one. I’ve used Blogger, Wordpress, Typepad, you name it. And I’ve been thinking about the web for even longer. So why do I think Tumblr is such a big deal?
Well, blogging is old. Blogging has been revolutionary, it’s transformed media, politics, it has created this fantastic global conversation that I’m proud to be an infitesimal part of. However Blogger.com was launched in 1999 and blogs basically look the same today. Has it been so long? Yep. It’s a great format but the web has changed a lot since then.
Here are what I think are the main places where blogging is going and why Tumblr is already there:
- Interactive. Blogs have always been interactive, but Tumblr is more interactive, thanks to features like following and reblogging. There is a definite social/community aspect to those features but to me they’re not what’s most important. What’s most important is that blogs are so transformational because of their interactivity. In Loic Le Meur’s words, traditional media broadcast messages, blogs start conversations. And this stuff is exponential: adding just two interactivity features squares the number of possible connections within the blogging graph, ways in which ideas can be shared, go viral, and be created.
- Fast-paced. This one’s easy. Tumblr makes it very easy to post, and (this is often overlooked) very easy to read blogs. The web is more fast-paced today and so a most fast-paced blogging platform is the way of the future. We’re going to be blogging more from mobile platforms, on the fly, the web is more crowded, so we’ll want blogs that are faster to publish and faster to read. Tumblr does that really well.
- Multimedia. This is another one where the true scope is misunderestimated. People focus on how Tumblr makes it easy to post videos, pics, music, etc., and it’s true. But more importantly, it makes multimedia content an integral part of the blog medium. Again, this is the way of the future. With better bandwidth and camera phones we are creating and publishing multimedia all over the place. We’re sharing them in socnets but we also want to publish them as part of a broader conversation and for that they need to be an integral part of blogs. Tumblr makes blogging a multimedia experience.
These are the reasons why I think Tumblr isn’t just a really cool toy, but a platform that really brings blogging into a new age. When I envision what blogs will look like a few years from now, even “professional” blogs like HuffPo or NYT, I envision something like Tumblr. Bloggers will post media and aggregated tweets as much as full-fledged posts, they will blog on the fly from their Android phones, etc. And Tumblr anticipates that.
Tumblr isn’t perfect by any means. Mobile integration is still sketchy. Obviously being lightweight, easy to use and to read, Tumblr is mobile-ready, but it’s going to have to come out with mobile apps and/or features like those of competitor Posterous. (As a general rule I think companies especially startups should focus on their own strategy instead of just mimicking competitors but Posterous clearly gets it.)
So it’s not perfect, of course not, but it’s definitely at the edge of the wave of where blogging will be a few years from now.
(If there’s anything else to mention about Tumblr it’s the amazing community but I wanted to focus on the platform’s potential and how I see it intersecting with the main trends of the web and future blogging.)
P.S. This post is the first one after adding Disqus comments to my Tumblr! Have at it!