Sunday, June 3, 2012

Twitter VS Tumblr

Twitter or Tumblr?

Which is better?

That is a very hard question to answer.  They each offer some positives and negatives.  However, each of their cores are pretty similar once you examine deep down.

I am pretty much a noob (brand new person) on both.  I've only been on them for about three months or so.  I joined both for the sake of advertising this blog.  Getting word out about a blog is an important part of the equation as I have discussed previously.  An audience is needed to change a journal into a blog.  Community is a vital part of the blogging experience so numbers matter.

Do they matter a lot?  No.  People should blog because they want to blog.  Constantly worrying about numbers is a waste of time.  Content suffers when caring about the numbers takes over the driving purpose of the blog.  However, completely ignoring the numbers is also a bad idea.

Blogging is a community activity.  It is an act of putting your words out into the world and telling others to come check them out.  Without that sense of community the blog is not living up to it's potential.  That is why marketing your blog is important.

So I snuck into both Twitter and Tumblr with that idea in mind.

Why didn't I juse use Facebook?

I suffer from a unique drawback as far as Facebook is concerned.  This blog is anonymous.  You guys know my name is Andrew but you don't know my full name.  In the world of Facebook which is all about putting your information out all over the place that limitation is a huge problem.  I have a Facebook page but pages (unlike individual profiles) have a lot more limitations.  That means advertising and joining discussions on Facebook is much more difficult.

That means I need to rely on Twitter and Tumblr for the vast majority of my social media.

Why am I explaining all of this?  I just feel it is important to understand my thoughts heading into both experiences.  This is what I have discovered about both along the way based off my framework.

Both twitter and tumblr are very similar in a lot of ways.  I'm going to list all the ways they are similar first and then I will talk about their differences.

Twitter & Tumblr
1) Real Time - What you type immediately goes out into the world.  The same goes for people that you are following.  This is both very cool and one of the great drawbacks of each site.  I will explain this more in greater detail below.
2) Followers & Following - Both systems are based off the idea of you following individuals to hear what they have to say and others following you in return.
3) Wide Angle on Humanity - There are millions of people on each site.  Twitter is more popular but Tumblr also has quite a few people.
4) Reblog/Retweet - Both sites rely quite a bit on passing on what other people have to say (I personally lovet his aspect of them but it might annoy others)

1) 140 characters - The defining element of twitter.  A brief thought.  A funny joke.  Every tweet has a hard limit.  You can do stuff over multiple tweets but based off how twitter works this can be problematic because part of the message might be missed along the way.  For someone as long winded as myself you can imagine this aspect can be difficult for me
2) Word focused - you can link to pictures and other sites but every tweet only can consist of words, numbers, and links.  If you are more of a visual person twitter might not be your cup of tea.

1) Multiple media types - Text, Photos, Quotes, Links, Chat logs, Audio, and video are all up for grabs.  On tumblr you get your only little mini blog and you can put whatever you want on it.
2) Visual Focused - reblogging pictures is generally the biggest thing on Tumblr.  Other media are represented but pictures and memes are king in the lang of Tumblr
3) Repetition - Expect to see more repetition on tumblr.  If someone reblogs a funny picture you can often expect to see it many more times from other people you follow.  Think of it as a big dinner party where everyone has cameras and instant printers.  You might first see the picture on one side of the room and then encounter it 3 or 4 more times by the time you hit the other side.  Given enough time most people in the party will see the vast majority of the most popular things.  Due to this fact Tumblr seems to be more insular than twitter.
4) Each post is more of a living document - you can add on a comment to anything you reblog on tumblr.  Due to this fact everyone can continue to add comments to a funny image, etc and sometimes this can grow into something that is greater than its individual parts.

It is generally easier to get followers on Twitter.  Part of that is based off the increased number of users.  Part of it simply comes from the nature of twitter.  For instance, I currently have 211 followers on Twitter.  I only have 21 on Tumblr.

I really love both.  However, I feel less stupid when I use tumblr.  What do I mean by that?  It is much easier to reblog/retweet someone else being clever (especially comedians on twitter) than come up with something orginal on your own.  However, with tumblr since it is so much more visual based you often can get a good starting point (some bizarre or funny image) and then reblog it and add in a fun comment or two.

Basically tumblr often gives you more to start with than twitter.  It is easier to add to the conversation when someone starts it up for you.  When you have to start completely from scratch (like completely new and orginal tweets on twitter) it is MUCH more difficult.

If you go to my twitter and tumblr you will see that I retweet and reblog a LOT.  It is just easier.  Does that make me less than original?  Yes.  However, I also link to stories and other random thoughts here and pass along some other random things here and there so I think it balances out.  However, that's the beatiful thing about both.  Even if you aren't adding a lot personally just interacting and passing stuff around still helps to build community and gets to show a little piece of you to your readers/followers.

That's why I love both so much.  They are both giant ecosystems of millions of people and there are just so many neat people that can be found on both.  The fact that they are in real time means truly following everyone that you might find interesting is going to be nearly impossible (I love following people and will probably always follow more than follow me unless my popularity just explodes for some reason) but it doesn't matter.  You can pop on for a few minutes and tap into the collected population of the world in real time.  That is so damn incredibly cool.

That is the internet.  Sure, Facebook is pretty neat and it's great for keeping in touch with long lost friends and family (Yes, I have a personal facebook account under my real name even though I almost never use it except to look at family pictures every so often) but it doesn't have quite the same instant element that twitter and tumblr have.  Sure, if people happen to be online at the same time instant communication can happen but it has a very different feel than twitter and tumblr.

If you are interested in reaching out into new social media I honestly suggest you check out both.  They are both fascinating windows into humanity and great fun.  However, if you simply don't have the time and only want to pick up one I have a super simple suggestion for you.  If you are more of a visual person you will probably like tumblr more.  Otherwise, go with twitter.  Just remember that both are in real time and things move very quickly on both.

Log in, soak in the humanity, and log out.  That is pretty much the core of both.

As I mentioned above I absolutely LOVE following people.  I like being exposed to tons of people from all walks of life all over the world.  If you leave your follow information in a comment or follow me on either I will follow you back for sure.  That might eventually change but for now I don't have any plans to change that general social media strategy.


I just love people and I want to hear what you guys have to say.

PS - If any of you guys need any help getting started feel free to contact me and I will try to help you through the process.


  1. Replies
    1. Kellee - Have you tried tumblr out? It isn't exactly the same as twitter obviously but it does have some similarities. Also, what is your favorite part of twitter?

      (Just trying to get some conversation going here)

  2. hmm.. I'd go Tumblr over Twitter anyday.. But nowadays I'm usually on this newer social network - I just got addicted lol.

  3. Hmm.. Definitely Tumblr over Twitter. It's just more of a fun network. I like fun social networks lol. Nowadays I only use Tumblr and that newer network -

    1. What makes it more fun for you? Also, why do you consider formvote fun? Your comment is very similar to Wanda Kennedy so you may in fact just be a creature of spam. However, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt for now. Why do you like both?

  4. I just want to know which of those 2 is best for marketing, generating leads, and which has a higher ctr

    1. Probably twitter for both. Tumblr is very community focused and is a lot more visual based. If you just want to try to generate some traffic towards a site you should probably go with twitter. The trick is you don't want to just spam. You need to "add to the conversation" as well, otherwise nobody is going to follow you.

  5. What would you suggest for an aspiring writer?

    1. I would go with Tumblr. You can use twitter to link to different things that you write (how I use it) but the character limit is really a huge factor.

      Unless you want to write poetry or stories in very small chunks (possible but difficult) Tumblr will probably serve you better. I often cross post stuff both here and on Tumblr.

      Unlike twitter where you are stuck at 140 characters (unless you post multiple tweets in a row) your limits on Tumblr are much less severe. That means you can post full poems, stories, or whatever else as text posts.

      I thus feel that Twitter could be good for some publicity (especially if you are clever or good at expressing thoughts in snippets) but Tumblr is much better for actually showcasing your work.

  6. i prefer twitter. twitter pushes you to be as creative as you can be with the 140 characters. however it has its drawback too. people cant fully express themselves with just 140 characters. but i still like it

    1. Twitter has more users and is faster paced. The general format of the system also generally works better. However, as you noted the self expression is a little bit diminished since you are limited to 140 characters. Twitter is more generic. Tumblr is much more focused on niche groups honestly.

  7. Great informative article. You sound like a really knowledgable guy. I liked your entry because it goes straight to the facts about each social media network (which I couldn't find anywhere else and in a clear format as you wrote it down). And it also gives the real purpose of Twitter and Tumblr. I agree with everything you said basically, and one of the only possible reasons I dislike Twitter is because of the constricting word limit.

    I have both only a Twitter unfortunately. I would like to make a Twitter account but my friend has warned me against creating one unless I want to get good school grades, haha! I do sometimes look through Tumblr accounts on occasion though.

    However, one of the reasons I do not like sharing personal ideas and creative work like stories and poetry in general is because of piracy issues. These days it is really easy for people to copy whatever they see on the Internet.

    1. Social media is deadly for productivity. Very easy for a few minutes to turn into hours. It can also be a great way to connect to the world though so it is a very seductive danger.

      Piracy is certainly something to think about. However, if some kind of debate comes up the time stamp system present in the blog format can be pretty useful for determining who is the true creator. Sure, someone can potentially mess around with the system some in order to try to cover their tracks but at the end of the day there are ways to check into such things. Plus, from a purely practical point of view the chances of amaeteur stuff being pirated isn't that high unless it is on some kind of topic that can immediately go viral and be profitable.

  8. Thank you for your post. It really helped me think about which to use for my blog's exposure. It is a very neatly written blog post. Thumbs Up.

    1. I'm very glad you liked the post. I just checked out your blog and I personally think twitter will serve you well. It looks like your articles are usually pretty short so a quick link to them here and there I think could work well for you.

      You just need to make sure you have other (smaller things) to say on twitter to make sure you make it worthwhile for people to follow you.

  9. good article! ! what do you think for an art blog? would be partly my own stuff but also exhibits, shows, and museums I am going. I am also not writing too much ..

  10. So what would you suggest for an art blog ? my own art and the art of others(shows, exhibitions , museums)

    i mean , to be able to write that comment i had to subscribe into this here , so i might as well start of here.


    1. For an art blog I would go with Tumblr for sure. It is WAY more visual in nature. You can showcase your own artwork there and then send people back to your blog to check out other works. Give them a taste and then make them want more.

      You can also highlight various artistic things that catch your eye and then establish a presence on Tumblr as someone that knows something about art.

      On twitter you can do something similar but you will need to do it with 140 characters and links.

  11. I have both a Twitter and a Tumblr, and I have been trying to find the words to describe both. I love both sites a lot, but I really feel more involved with Tumblr. I feel really self aware of what I tweet on Twitter mainly because my followers are people I actually know, whereas at Tumblr, all my followers are just internet friends who followed me because they liked my weirdness. And the post limit thing on Tumblr is really annoying, I always agreed. This might be biased, but I just feel more apart of Tumblr community wise. I know most people won't like how it's set up and all at first (I was the same way) but it really is an awesome site once you start getting followers and follow people. :)

  12. Repetition - Expect to see more repetition on tumblr. If someone reblogs a funny picture you can often expect to see it many more times from other people you follow. Think of it as a big dinner party where everyone has cameras and instant printers. You might first see the picture on one side of the room and then encounter it 3 or 4 more times by the time you hit the other side.

    Cherry Flitcher @ Acne and Treatment

  13. Thanks, this was a really helpful and informative post! I'm a scientist who just took on an online marketing role for a new literature searching start up, and this is all so new it can be overwhelming - thanks for the clarity!