Tumblr, That Thingamablog, Keeps Exploding (The rise of the stream as a content consumption model)

Trumblr keeps growing astronomically, but meanwhile even the tech mavens don’t have a clear niche defined for Tumblr.

Jennifer Van Grove, Tumblr Tops 13 Million U.S. Uniques in July

Tumblr, the simple sharing service and blog alternative, continues to attract a record number of visitors each month.

According to comScore, Tumblr scored 13.4 million unique visitors in the U.S. in July — up 218% from the same time last year.

The blog-meets-social-network service has seen its most explosive growth in the past few months, according to comScore’s data, upping its unique visitor count by more than 5 million from April to July.

Here’s one try at defining Tumblr.

Tumblr could be lumped in with other ‘social media’, but only in the most general meaning, as a term that covers social networks, blogging, check in apps, photo sharing, social commerce, etc.

Blogging, a la Blogger and WordPress, is actually not very social, basically a personal publishing model, with comments as a sort of afterthought. Blogging is also considered as text-centric, while Tumblr is very rich on other media types.

The big shift from blogging tools to Tumblr and Twitter is the advent of the stream, the context in which posts are experienced. This breaks away from RSS readers and other organizing devices, used to aggregate the content of blogs into a context.

Tumblr has a chameleon quality, since non-tumblr users who visit a tumblr blog see it as a more or less plain-vanilla blog: they don’t see the social network behind the scenes. And they can use RSS and other old school approaches to aggregate with non-Tumblr blogs as well. To get behind the scenes and really experience Tumblr, you have to create an account and start following people.

Here’s a analogy: imagine participating in Twitter without an account. You could go to various Twitter users’ pages, and read what they were saying, but you could never reply, repost, or get @mentioned. That’s what Tumblr is like for non-users. It’s only when you sign in that you see your own stream of incoming tweets, or in the case of Tumblr, incoming posts from those that you follow.

If Twitter is a social microstreaming network, then Tumblr is a social streaming network. There is no inherent limit to the length of Tumblr posts, as there is in Twitter, so I drop the micro. But the experience is dominated by the stream form factor, not the size of posts.

Side note: I am fascinated by the surging hype around Google+, and how rare it is to have that service compared to Tumblr. But Twitter and Tumblr are the two social streaming tools that are most advanced, in my mind. The Google+ fan boys are endlessly comparing it to Twitter, but hardly a murmur about Tumblr.

Facebook’s killer app is the stream. The sooner more web based properties learn and adapt the stream consumption model the better.
Where is the stream in the game world? I don’t know?

Originally appeared from

By Laurent Courtines

I'm here and I am ready to go. Been doing my homework and I have things to say.

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