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.