8 of the best tumblelog platforms reviewed.

July 15, 20094 Comments
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There has been a recent trend within the web community towards platforms which facilitate low barrier to entry blogging. Whereas traditional blogging platforms such as WordPress require a certain amount of technical know how, these tumblelog platforms allow everyday web users and the less technically proficient to collate their internet activity in one place with minimal fuss or effort.

Linklogs / tumblelogs are simply collations of links and user activity. They are ideal for everything that’s slightly less than a blog post but slightly more than a tweet – and can also perfectly compliment and enhance an existing blog.  Remember more content = more traffic.

There has been alot of talk recently about how social media platforms such as Twitter are adapting the web landscape and indeed linking patterns. Likewise with more and more users now getting access to blogging as a medium for self expression, and generation Y users becoming statistically more likely to be content creators rather than content consumers; these easy to use platforms perfectly fill the void for many. In addition as users seek to consume information in increasingly micro-sized format, the tumblelog offers a certain amount of brevity and speed over a traditional blog offering.

This post examines some of the features of each, and may be useful for some less techie users, and folks who simply want a record of their online activity. There may also be some bloggers out there who wish to enhance further their existing blog by offering a tumblelog on a subdomain.

Hosted Tumblelog Options

Often setting up your own tumble platform can be a pain – with some of the more mature products offering wide feature sets, and even domain management in some cases, there’s no reason why even the more novice of tumbloggers can’t get up and going quickly and easily.

hosted

Posterous

URL: http://posterous.com/

Posterous allows you to blog via email. Whilst this may seem tedious at first, when you realise that sending email  opens up mobile updating across a variety of devices, it is a welcome feature.  It also allows you to post via a web interface as well, and target a variety of other web 2.0 services.  Getting started is a walk in the park , simply choose a subdomain, a password and an email address. Your blog will be setup in the format of http://brandname.posterous.com – although some high profile users have setup the service on their own domain.

Posterous supports cross pollination of other services across the web, including Twitter, Facebook and others. It also allows you to setup a custom domain easily – a really nice touch, as you can add your linkblog to your own site as a subdomain. Only thing missing from posterous as a platform is some CSS styling – although I can understand why they want to keep their own branding.

Posterous has also integrated with Google Maps to allow for easy embedding of maps and geo-tagging within your stream. Another useful string to add to their bow.

Tumblr

URL: http://www.tumblr.com/

At first glance, Tumblr is much more feature rich than posterous – and the interface is that bit more polished. There are a variety of options available for customising the look and feel – including submitting custom themes if you feel inclined to do so.

Tumblr’s interface leads with  a “format” choice – where you indicate what type of content you would like to submit to your blog. Whether it be text, music, video, links, quotes or chats – Tumblr supports them all. Given that sort of flexibility, you could easily create a linkblog dedicated to one of these formats. The system automatically formats the post accordingly keeping the site style in check without the author having to worry about formatting.

Tumblr also offers multiple ways to post. You can post directly via a bookmarklet, your iphone, instant message (AOL), or indeed a voice call! Now that’s way cool – and is available to folks outside the US as well.

Tumblr posts can be sent to Twitter as well, so for those of you tweeting useful links daily it could be a way of gaining a following in two places. One on your Twitter account and one actually somewhere on the web getting you some traffic / exposure.

Overall Tumblr is a very mature product that is leading the way on what tumblelogs should be providing for their users in terms of features and UI experience.

Twimbler

URL:http://twimbler.com/

As you might expect from a domain beginning with “Tw” – Twimbler allows you to update your tumblelog directly from your Twitter account. At time of writing – the home page of the site had been spammed to death by someone, but I imagine that with more participants that would get cleared out. Your individual twimbler page lives just off the main Twimbler site – and is the same as your Twitter user name.

e.g.

To post to your Twimble just do this:

#log: {http://example.com} {A short description or comment on the link}

Your tweet will automagically end up getting logged to Twimbler. Its a novel idea for integrating your Twitter postings with something more permanent, but as with the Twitter service you are limited to 140 characters, which may not be enough for some folk. I also found that it sometimes took a while for tweets to appear, and reliability is a bit of an issue.

Soup.IO

URL: http://soup.io/

Firstly – what a great little domain name. It is catchy, quirky and perfectly fits the target market. The interface of Soup also follows that trend, and is really simplistic to use.  With the demo, there is no signup required, and you can have a play with it yourself without so much as needing an email address. This low barrier signup is a trend that is becoming more and more apparent with many services / web application online, and it fits perfectly in line with Soup.IO’s brand values. Kudos for not making it a pain to try out!

If you already a user of an alternative platform such as Tumblr (mentioned earlier) – an easy import solution exists under settings. There is also import support for a wide variety of formats including RSS, Flickr, Myspace, Delicious and more. If you already heavily involved in bookmarking online, and wish to flesh it out a bit – this is the service for you. With support for RSS importing in particular, (widespread amongst other web applications now) you can pretty much integrate with ANY other web service.

Overall Soup.IO has eliminated any pain with using the service. Updating can be performed via a bookmarklet or the web interface – depending on your preference. Whilst some of the aforementioned services offer a greater variety of ways to post – Soup.IO is still worthy of a mention, as it is so simplistic in design and interface.

Self-Hosted / Open Source

Looking more of a DIY approach? Some of these should help you out. Bear in mind that some of these open source projects are in beta; others haven’t been contributed to in some time. That said, they may offer some advantages over rolling your own solution.

flying-solo

GelatoCMS

URL:http://www.gelatocms.com/

GelatoCMS is an open source PHP based tumblelog solution. It’s infrastructure closely resembles WordPress with a templating language in place to control the output, and full theming support for authors. If you are comfortable with some hands on activity for your site – Gelato offers a great solution for tumbling to those who want that extra bit of control in the appearance.

Roar

URL: http://rubyforge.org/projects/roar/

Roar is a rails plugin that provides an automated admin framework for Rails resources, through a Domain Specific Language (DSL) in the controller. Full support for CRUD, model relationships, custom widgets, and customization. More here.

Ozimodo

URL: http://ozimodo.rubyforge.org/

Another Ruby on Rails offering, although it appears to have a good bit more activity around the project than Roar. As with Gelato, Ozimodo has theme support out of the box, so for you code monkey’s customising it would be a breeze.

Bazooka

URL: http://code.google.com/p/bazooka/

Bazooka is another PHP offering. According to the Wiki “The easy 3-step installation takes less than 5 minutes to complete. “  It supports themes, and comes bundled with four out of the box. It also has plugin support, which should give it a fighting chance at taking off as an open source project that others can contribute to.

Other Resources:

http://hacks.tumblr.com/ – contains hacks, tips and tricks for the tumblr platform

http://tumblrthemes.com/ – A collection of Tumblr Themes

How to Using WordPress as your Tumblelog

http://tumblepedia.com/ – a useful collection of links and information on all things tumblish.

Impressive Tumblelog themes – in particular for WordPress

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About the Author ()

Paul is a regular 30 year old web bloke / programmer with a penchant for online marketing. This blog is a personal outlet, with an eclectic mix of articles.

Comments (4)

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  1. Dawn Baird says:

    Paul – This is a really helpful list. Had never heard of some of the DIY ones.

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