Why Tumblr is a terrible platform, and observations on platform killers
Here. In short, because it’s inconsistent and full of unnecessary kludges, it refuses to add basic functionality, and it provides far too much control over theming, not to mention the reblog fraud problem. For theming, I get that Facebook-style forced conformity is perhaps too far to the other side of that spectrum, especially for a site like Tumblr aimed at the “creatives” (read: mediocre photographers and pretentious 15-year-olds), but when I can set up a Goatse redirect (if you don’t know what Goatse is, you don’t want to, so don’t click that) on it without using any exploits, it provides too much control. Tumblr reminds me of Myspace: it’s doing something that hasn’t been done on a large scale, but it’s doing it badly, and it’s obvious that it’s going to die once someone manages to kill it. Which I hope they will soon.
Note that Tumblr won’t be killed by something designed as a Tumblr killer: Google+ was designed as a Facebook (and maybe LinkedIn or something, I don’t know) killer, and so far, it’s been a resounding failure. And if Google+ isn’t enough of an example, remember Orkut, although Orkut managed to have some success in some areas, by picking up demographics that weren’t already sold on one dominant social networking system. To kill a platform, you can’t set out to kill it: you have to provide something different enough to persuade users to switch, and for social platforms — that is, platforms where the users themselves are part of the product — you have to persuade a critical mass of them to switch. Nobody’s going to use a Tumblr clone that nobody else uses.
As a side note, I’m noticing WordPress having the same text-style problem Tumblr does, albeit only sporadically. I already knew WordPress was trying to become Tumblr with that ridiculous, un-bloglike “reblog” button, but if it’s also imitating its bugs… come to think of it, I did get more hits when I was on Posterous. (Except there’s really no other blog platform with actual features that I know of. Posterous is too fruity and “user-friendly” for my taste; as far as I know, you can’t even see who’s linking you! Oh well, the biggest market is the lazy and the clueless, and we get what the market demands.)
(Finally, some administrivia: that whole updates-Mondays thing didn’t work out. My life is far too unstable for that right now. I might pick it back up once I’m back in college, but for now, posts will be whenever.)
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