Tumblelogs

I discover a new, abbreviated form of blogging.

One of the things I’ve noticed about my blog is that a high percentage of the entries are extremely wordy, full of stories or opinions or information that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, compiling, formatting, and publishing. And it seems that most serious blogs are the same.

Enter, the tumblelog, which has apparently been around since 2005. This short-form blog is ideal for quick and dirty entry posting. In fact, that’s what it’s supposed to be for.

From Wikipedia:

A tumblelog is a variation of a blog, that favors short-form, mixed-media posts over the longer editorial posts frequently associated with blogging. Common post formats found on tumblelogs include links, photos, quotes, dialogues, and video. Unlike blogs, this format is frequently used to share the author’s creations, discoveries, or experiences without providing a commentary.

I first heard of tumblelogs on either the TWIT or MacBreak Weekly podcast. Leo Laporte and other members of those two podcast teams use Tumblr to create and publish their tumblelogs. Curious, I went to check it out for myself. And, on the FAQs page there, I got a the analogy that sold me on trying it for myself:

If blogs are journals, tumblelogs are scrapbooks.

It might be nice to have an online scrapbook, I thought. I decided to sign up for a free Tumblr account and give it a try. The result is the unimaginatively named Maria’s TumbleLog, which can be found at tumblelog.aneclecticmind.com. (And yes, you can host a tumblelog on Tumblr’s site; I just got fancy and set mine up with my own custom domain name.) Since then, I’ve added entries that include photos and quotes. I’ve also set up my account to automatically create links to new articles in a number of feeds — including the one for this WebLog.

Although I like the ease at which entries can be added to my tumblelog, I don’t like the fact that there’s no offline composition tool. But I think that’s because I’m worried about composition — a task that simply doesn’t apply to tumblelog entries. Entries are extremely short and to the point: a photo with a caption, a quote with the name of the person being quoted, a link all by itself. While it is possible to create a standard text entry, I’m going to try hard not to — unless I can keep it to 100 words or less. That’s not an easy task for me — writing more has always been easier than writing less.

Will anyone read my tumblelog? I don’t know. Do I care? I don’t know that, either.

Right now, the idea is too new to me. I’m more interested in experimenting with this form of expression and seeing whether I can stick to it.

I’ve been blogging for 3-1/2 years now; it’ll be tough to branch some of that energy off to a similar yet very different form.

In the meantime, I’d be very interested in hearing from others with tumblelogs. Use the comments link. And be sure to include a link to your tumblelog in the form so other readers and I can check it out.

What do you think?