Tumblr Kinda Sucks

by Cosmo Catalano

After roughly a year’s hiatus, I have an official blog again. I’ve tried this beforetwice, actually—but those Tumblrs just didn’t really work out.

You see, the thing with Tumblr is…it kinda sucks. I’ll admit, it has seductive elements—the themes invariably look great, post formatting is easy, the cool kids use(d) it, there’s a whole social network underneath it, providing you a stream of ain’t-it-cool images and popular posts from all over the Internet.

But the cracks in the armor appear quickly. The URL structure is abominable and most themes have similarly atrocious search-engine readability. While downtime has improved over the past year, crashes were once laughably frequent. Readership is maddeningly hard to follow, since traffic from inside the Tumblr Dashboard—where a good deal of your views come from—isn’t easily quantifiable.

Tweaking the default themes and post formats is easy on paper, hard in practice, mostly because you have limited control over how Tumblr handles your content. Don’t want everything wrapped in <p> in your text posts? Want to put line breaks into a conversation post? Want customized search pages? It gets frustrating in a hurry, and it only takes a few hack-job workarounds to turn those beautiful themes into something a whole lot less nice-looking.

The social network aspect quickly betrays you, too. Reblogging and asking, the default modes of communication between users are pedantic, awkward, closed, and unreliable. There’s no way to effectively follow a conversation, and no way to tell if comments have been edited between users. On top of that, most of the content is stolen, largely from Reddit and 4Chan, with no value added. Let Buzzfeed do the sorting for you and find better things to do with your time.

For me, and I think for most intelligent people, the whole point of having a blog is to impart detailed knowledge and thoughts that aren’t really compatible with the infinite scrolling and the Tumblr-dashboard-forced typesetting of 16pt Arial on white. Even if the SEO disasters, the inaccessible code, and the (now less frequent) site downtime don’t get you, the repetitive and shallow nature of service will.

I’m not saying they’re aren’t some great aspects to Tumblr—otherwise I wouldn’t waste time designing and developing for it. Everyone from bloggers to formerly important media outlets have made it a nice little supplement to their offerings. It’s good for cats. It offers 14-year-olds a place to rant and feel emo and reblog trite things that sound SO REAL because they’re 14 and they don’t know any better yet.

But for me, or for anyone looking to share ideas, engage in conversation with the world, hack the webz, and otherwise CREATE AWESOME, my advice is to give up and use WordPress.