I’ve found my way back to Tumblr, and I have a strong feeling that this time, it’s permanent.
When I first got into blogging, I started on the Xanga platform. The Xanga Platform had two really important things going for it:
- A simple to use platform, and
- The emphasis on community and conversation through its groups and subscriptions.
Xanga made sharing ideas and connecting others with similar interests very easy. It had a very simple interface for posting blog posts, uploading photos and videos, dialoguing with friends, and more. It had its own built in “feed reader,” where you were able to subscribe to your favourite xanga blogs right in the app itself. It had its own templating system, which, while a bit confusing to those without any coding experience, did in fact allow for some very interesting designs. (One of my very first designs ever was for a friend’s Xanga blog. As of today, at least, it is still viewable.
After a while, however, Xanga began to become very cluttered, both with ads, as well as with an increasingly convoluted features set. Slowly but surely, I found myself wanting for something I had more control over.
I got some free server space from a friend in the UK and installed WordPress for the first time. It was my first experience with anything database related, let alone any amount of php. I moved slowly but surely, designing my own theme for the site. In a matter of a couple of weeks comprised of much trial and error, as well as the insight of the WordPress community, I had a fully customized theme just for my blog. A year or two later, I had developed a couple more themes for the blog and had learned quite a bit about the WordPress platform.
With the knowledge I gained from this experience, I designed a few websites using WordPress as the content management system. One in particular didn’t even have a blog section, and used the “posts” to power a directory.
As my blogging adventures continued, I began to follow blogs such as Shawn Blanc, Michael Mistretta, Kyle Baxter, and others who not only posted full articles, but also posted links to other sites in the blogosphere. This community also introduced me to Tumblr for the first time, a hosted platform that allows users to quickly aggregate content from all over the web. Tumblr blogs by those such as Chris Bowler, Jorge Quinteros, Minimal Mac, Marco Arment and David Kaneda helped me see just how powerful Tumblr can be.
I first gave Tumblr a shot a few months ago, however with my WordPress blog still running, I was struggling to determine which posts to send where. As my WordPress blog was gaining a stronger readership, I made the decision to focus solely on it. However, my method of posting different types of posts quickly became as convoluted as my old Xanga blog, and my frustration began to increase.
What I absolutely love is that, for the most part, Tumblr is frictionless. My Tumblr blog is hosted by Tumblr. Tumblr has assigned several different post types, each of which can be displayed differently using simple CSS and Tumblr’s very simple theming engine. Posting is a click or keyboard shortcut away using either Tumblr’s keyboard shortcut or MarsEdit’s recent inclusion of Tumblr support.
Not only is Tumblr frictionless as far as posting goes, but the ability to join and participate is equally fluid. Every Tumblr page has a “follow” button (which, in my mind, is infinitely more user friendly than “Subscribe to RSS”). “Reblogging” allows users to share their favourite posts from other authors instantly (my only concern with this feature is the abuse it appears to sometimes produce, though that is hardly the fault of the feature).
The only feature I wish Tumblr featured was an import option, because with this new desire to pursue this new direction comes a hard decision.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be making the shift from running my main blog with a self-hosted installation of WordPress to Tumblr. This isn’t an easy move to make, as I am proud of the traffic my old blog has been getting. However, I am not one to hang on to the past if it infringes on my future, and so it is time to make the tough decision to let go.
My plan then is to leave my WordPress blog hosted at archives.patdryburgh.com, while my Tumblr blog will takeover patdryburgh.com. At some point this week, I will also update my Feedburner feed to reflect the change, however those subscribed to http://patdryburgh.com/feed/ may need to update their subscriptions.
I’ll be sure to keep you all up to speed with the transition. For now, wish me luck!