Wednesday, May 29, 2013

tumblr. 1.1 billion (updated)

tumblr. I never really understood what it is. But that may be a matter of temperament/nature. Or age.
But it was developed by two guys who were fanatic. It never really made money.
And now Yahoo has bought it for 1.1 Billion dollars! Billion...
There's so much I don't understand in this world.

One thing I don't understand, by the way, is that this is apparently a "micro-blogging" platform. (What is that, blogging for people who don't write?) And yet when you come to their home page, there are no blogs to be seen. None, nada, zip. Huh? In fact I've messed around in browsers and apps now for ten minutes, and I've yet to see one actual "micro blog". Also when you sign in, there's a form, but it does not tell you if it wants a username or an email address.

Is it that young people think different? Or that usability as Jakob Nielsen and I understand it, is already a dead art and we might as well give it up?

Even after I've (signed up and) signed in, the page I get has a tall column of posts, I guess they are, but I don't understand what most of them are about. Most are just pictures. I don't understand if they are supposed to be funny, or interesting, or connected to other bits of material I'm supposed to have seen before or be familiar with...

One of the things I don't understand is that considering the fantastic amount of work which has gone into developing tumblr, and the high price it sold for... there must be something enormously unique about it, yes? But what is it? Because what is it exactly that it can do that other blogging platforms can't? Anybody can make short posts in a blog. And all of them also can be posted to in a wide variety of ways, and can connect to the Social Spider Web in so many ways that one feels like a fly just waiting for the spider.

I'm trying to set up my own tumblr blog. For some reason, it's called "Untitled"! And I can't find any way to change that!
What's more, you can install Disqus in *some* of their themes, but tumblr does not even have its own commenting system. How on Earth can anybody think this site is worth a billion bucks??

Oh, some of the art I like though, like this one:

James Wyper. Acrylic on birch, 36x36 in.

It has a basis of slickness and order in the composition, but avoids being boring by the distressed colors in the shapes. (It is rare for me to like something which has so many different, strong colors. They usually clash badly. I guess he has done something subtly right with them.)

Good stuff for a modern home.


Ken said...

A lot of what is in tumblr is taken from other sites. People like your picture and put it in their tumblr, maybe correctly attributing it. Tumblr then allows for it to be shared around in tumblr. Maybe it is a sign of the times, almost nobody creates their own content, it is sort of a scrapbook. I hate it. I come across it occasionally as people are using my photos.

Considering the things that Yahoo has just done to flickr, being bought by them is not a good sign. I think there are a number of clones of tumblr, see

Alex Greene said...

It's actually a marvellous place for you to post your DOMAI Beauty of The Day and Daily Goddess, as well as links to your proper blogs - this one and The Power of Source.

Sure there are the huge swathes of Loki, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock, Doctor Who, Supernatural, Hannibal, Star Trek Into Darkness, X-Men, Avengers Assemble and many other kinds of fandoms that fill your daily feed with animated GIFs.

But you can also find daily feeds of erotica and animated gifs / videos of softcore and hardcore porn, straight and gay and everything in between. Everything from lingerie models coyly posing to full-on penetration animated gifs and videos. Bondage, BDSM ... no holds barred.

The DOMAI girls would fit right in, and you'd find links to your sites and blogs being reblogged all over the site.

Along with plenty of new visitors to DOMAI &c.

Watch for mine:

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Thank you.

Ken said...

From their terms of service "Don't use deceptive means to generate revenue or traffic, or create blogs with the primary purpose of affiliate marketing. "

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Good point. They don't want it to become a big spam marketplace like the News Group service did.

I guess though that if I posted content from my *own* site, it's not affiliate marketing, and I don't think it'd be deceptive.

Alex Greene said...

You have a dashboard at - and you can change the title and features of your blog from there by clicking on the little gear icon in the top right or going to https :// www . tumblr . com / settings and making your changes there.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

That's what I'd have thought, but I've looked all over the settings pages without finding a way to change the Title.

Alex Greene said...

On the left hand column, you should see four items - "Account," "Dashboard," "Email" and "Apps" - and then the name of the blog, which could still be "untitled."

Click on that blog name, and you'll be taken to a page where you can change your avatar, URL and theme.

Click on the Customise button and you'll be able to change the blog's title, description and all that.

There are other settings, and I can help you with those too. Email me at if you get stuck.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

aha, it's under "Customize Theme"! I expected it to be right up front with the other central settings like URL. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I, too, am baffled by Tumblr. But I have two sites there, mostly because I like how photos are displayed. I do not engage in any of the social aspects of it, but I do occasionally go see who is re-posting my photos. The sites I see are so bizarre - no original content outside of some cryptic bio, with gifs and photos pasted to and fro like they were shot from a cannon. And look, there's one of mine! Weird.

What I cannot figure out is how Depressed Teenager A communicates with Depressed Teenager B through one of these sites. Is it all code, like Craigslist? Are they setting up drug deals, gay hookups, and the like?

Who knows what Yahoo was thinking, but they want an "in" with teenagers, clearly.

Alex Greene said...

They communicate through the /ask function - a feature pioneered by Formspring, mayitrestinpeace.

Some of the blogs have some stupid-looking posts like
(1) My age;

(2) My fandom;

(3) My gender;

(4) My favourite town;

and so on.

You respond in the /ask function with a set of numbers, e.g. "3, 2" - and you respond in that order, putting up the answers in your public stream.

And while some of them might be doing drugs, and there's a lot of gay peoples on there, they're not using tumblr to do all of that Daily Mail crap you read about. There's nothing secret about what they do - it's all about sharing the things that call to them.

Things that, as the fanfiction writers and Omegle roleplayers say, "get them right in the feels."

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Never heard of /ask function, how do you use it?

Alex Greene said...

If the blogger has the ask function enabled, you can type

whateverthebloggersdomainis dot tumblr dot com /ask and it will show you a text box.

You have a few hundred characters to write your ask, and some blogs allow you to ask anonymously a la Formspring.

You can also set up your own tumblr account to accept /ask and even /submit - where someone can submit their own, and you can moderate their submission.

You just have to go into Settings, then click on your blog's name. The /ask and /submit options are beneath the "Customise" button.