charmian: a snowy owl (Default)

Article about why Tumblr is so good at retaining users, reportedly even better than Facebook.

I find myself using Tumblr more and more these days. The search capacity is especially useful.


Today (link processed through google translate) LJ added some code that will allow people to put the buttons for Facebook and Google (and others) in their entries. Since this is totally opt in, I am guessing this isn't going to be controversial.

Dreamwidth + Tumblr?

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 11:37 pm
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
In the dw_news comments, some suggested that DW make Tumblr a site you could link to with an icon, which IMHO might be a bit hard because Tumblr allows you to use domain names fully for your Tumblr site. IMHO Tumblr is sort of like a hybrid between Twitter and Wordpress, and the way it allows for (free) domain name usage is more on the WP side.

DW could implement a Tumblr import. Probably Tumblr's API can handle this, because you can import Tumblrs to Posterous and

Why DW might want to create more Tumblr integration, some thoughts:

thoughts/speculation/terseness )

Some links:
Requiem for Livejournal

An article about LJ's popularity in Russia

Quote from Anton Nossik: "In Russia, LiveJournal's primary function has shifted from social networking to mass media, so it makes little sense trying to figure out how many people are actively blogging in Russian LJ -- tens or hundreds of thousands. It's the readers that count, and the readership has been growing quite steadily over the last five years."

Tumblr vs. LJ?

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 10:31 am
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
Prompted by fears that people are abandoning LJ for Tumblr, some LJ users have started a movement for people to take a month-long break from Tumblr.

While I have no interest in participating in such a campaign, I hadn't realized that so many people were apparently moving from LJ to Tumblr (Tumblr's growth is continuing, though, and those new users must be coming from somewhere). Personally, I see no reason why the two can't coexist, and I suspect that Tumblr's popularity is because of its ease of use, lower pressure, and also because the personal, locked component on LJ is migrating to FB and locked Twitters (Tumblr doesn't, IIRC, have much emphasis on the locked aspects of its service).

Some highlights:

links to subthreads )

Anyone else have other links? Have you noticed any LJ-->Tumblr migration? I noticed that some of the people on these posts, also, are claiming they've seen a big slow-down of LJ activity compared to last year.

In any event, I think one thing which also defines Tumblr is that, unlike LJ, it's developing consciously within a niche, and they are very willing to experiment with new features, and axe them if they don't make the cut.

In other news, now you can use Twitter as an identity on LJ, meaning you can comment using your Twitter account. Reportedly, according to Russian sources, in this update you'll also be able to crosspost a Tweet digest to LJ on a daily basis automatically, and be able to view all posts by a specific user within a community.

post draft update

Thursday, August 12th, 2010 05:07 pm
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
In the latest DW news post, a new draft of the update journal page has been introduced! I think it's a big improvement on the last draft, and it's great that we can collapse all the things we don't need, like how it is in WP. The main qualms I have with it are that the text box still feels too narrow, and it would also be good if there was a way to disappear the boxes instead of collapsing them. However, I don't have many strong opinions about the update post page because I basically use only two features on a regular basis: tags and access lock. As you can see, I normally don't even change my icon. So I felt, that as long as the boxes were collapsible so I don't have to see the things that I don't use, it would be ok. However, some people brought up some good points about complexity:

from here:

It's got an on/off switch for everything including the kitchen sink, with collapsable menu upon collapsable menu requiring clicks to conceal or expose functionality that only a handful of people will need.

If our target audience is LJcode power users, let's just come out and say it. Diversity statement or no, when the site's interface looks like this we're making it very intimidating to new users. And I know Dreamwidth serves a different niche than Tumblr or Posterous, but it seems like it requires a lot more effort to do basic things on Dreamwidth than it does almost anywhere else.

Between invite codes and privacy filters, I wonder if Dreamwidth's real "killer feature" is insularity. And I don't mean that as an insult.

I think this is a pretty good point.

more thoughts )
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
Huh, it seems a lot of people are quite interested in the issue, as there are sixty comments (admittedly, a lot of those are mine, but anyway.)

Some highlights:

It was pointed out that crossposting might undermine pseudonomity, not in a general sense (newcomers changing the site culture), but in a specific sense (people's friends crossposting, and then the crossposter's FB friends coming over to DW, and then possibly finding them.) In other words, say that A and B both use DW and are linked here (through access/subscription). A blogs pseudononymously at DW and wishes to keep their RL identity and their pseudonoymous DW identity separate. B does not blog pseudononymously at DW, and so crossposts to FB. What if B's friends on FB decide, prompted by this, to go to DW? Then, it is possible that they might find A via B's profile or by reading B's read-list or some other means, thus undermining A's pseudononymity.

While this is an issue, I don't think this is one which should be solved by banning B from crossposting to FB, or otherwise discouraging them from doing so. The same problem would exist if B had a WP blog which linked to A's DW journal, and B was crossposting their WP blog to FB. It's an issue which exists when someone who is pseudononymous and someone who is not are publicly linked to each other: I am not sure how it is generally solved in other situations. (I personally solve it by keeping a strict separation, and also, on LJ and DW, not posting publicly RL info: location, birthday, etc.)

There was also the important point of how social networking sites are generally not monocultures, and how multiple norms may exist on other sites. In some parts of LJ, it is the norm for people to use IRL names, and not in other parts. I think this could occur on DW, and wouldn't necessarily be a problem either.

There was also a call for more non-LJ users on DW.

Also, I was thinking about Tumblr, and actually, it has some FB integration. This, in my limited anecdotal knowledge, has not undermine Tumblr's own culture, or made it difficult to blog pseudononymously there, as I do. In fact, I would say that Tumblr minimizes the above issue (undermining of pseudononimity by visible social media links) by allowing people to hide on their blog their lists of followers/followed.
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
As part of their marketing/feature efforts, Posterous has this thing where they're publicizing their ability to import from different services, and highlighting the benefits of Posterous. As I said earlier, their choice of Ning is baffling from a technical perspective, but pretty clever from a marketing one. (Basically, a Ning is like a social network/community site, not like a blog) Tumblr makes more sense, however, and since Tumblr has made the philosophical choice not to have comments as a feature, they can easily differentiate themselves there. Vox also makes more sense, but they don't seem to be doing the locked posts.

Basically, Posterous has a lot of interesting, and even unique features, and I like many aspects of their design, but I don't use it that much because a) I already have a Wordpress installation, b) none of my online friends use it, and c) I haven't found that many blogs on Posterous to read. Anyway, it'll be interesting to see whether Posterous gains many converts from their efforts.

Also, on the dw_news comm, they're asking for suggestions in marketing DW. I think, as I said in the comments, there's a big difference between marketing to current/former LJ users, and people are not LJ users or do not enjoy using the LJ software: the marketing approaches will have to be very different there, and I suspect content rather than features might be the attraction.

In other news, here's some interesting speculation (in the comments) on the future of English-language LJ. (Stressing, of course, that it is simply speculation)

my speculative thoughts )
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
Posterous creates a new posting interface: previously, I was sort of meh about posting on Posterous because well, email posting is convenient, but it's not something I really needed or desired, but now Posterous has totally, in a way, 'un-microed' itself and media galleries a big part of posting there. Not only that, 'media' also includes documents. I think if I were doing a lot of media in my blogging these days, these changes would be especially attractive. Wordpress, too, is striving to upgrade its inclusion of images and other media embeds.

I had been wondering what Posterous had been doing, since it had been quite a long time since they had added major features (though they did include a few nifty ones like page-breaks and post scheduling); they also seem to be selling domains for a rather high price, considering that it's not really that much trouble to set up the mapping yourself, I suppose. But Posterous prides itself on being for the non-blogging-saavy user, so maybe there is some interest.

Anyhow, Tumblr has also been including a lot of new stuff, (such as pages, and the ask/submit/reply stuff.) as well as growing a lot. Judging from their official blog, Posterous is mostly focused on the technical/design issues of Posterous itself, whereas Tumblr is, while doing a lot of stuff related to APIs and new features, also orienting itself towards the curation of content and discovery of new material (hence their directory). They've also started some small methods of monetization, such as offering premium themes, and under some circumstances, you can pay to be featured at the top of a directory (I couldn't... I think it's because no one has recommended my tumblr).

Some things I'm wondering whether Tumblr will add:
Lists (a la Twitter): already my dashboard can sometimes get clogged if someone decides to post a lot of posts at once. Lists might help me control the chaos.
Customizable Dashboard: Right now, everyone gets one Dashboard design, which I personally like, but maybe others would like to mix it up a bit more.
Comments, or better Disqus integration: self-explanatory
More flexible private blog options

more thoughts/speculation )
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
Haven't been posting that much because I've been working on a translation project. Anyway,

1. (Discussion of a post negatively comparing Posterous to Tumblr)

I think, since both Tumblr and Posterous are growing, it's difficult to project future growth, especially as both are works in progress. Posterous hasn't done much worth noting in the last month, but Tumblr has redesigned their Dashboard and added an "ask" feature (thereby supplanting Formspring, and complementing the 'submit' feature), and I'm very interested to see where the site is going in the future. I keep seeing more and more links to Tumblr on various sites, and even a certain egregious fan-behavior incident was brought to light (by the perpetrator) on Tumblr. However, I think Posterous is indeed forging its own path, by concentrating more on business clients, so we'll see how this turns out.

2. Also, LJ seems to be modernizing some backend stuff, while also possibly planning to include OAuth? I wonder what the OAuth implementation will look like. What will users be able to do what they can't do now? <--list of sites that use OAuth. <--what is OAuth, and how it differs from OpenID (from the creators) <--technical explanation of Oauth's possibilities

3. Also, Kyle Cassidy, the LJ Advisory Board User Representative, has posted about his communications with LJ:

Summary: LJ is aware of problems with the new search feature and underreporting in the stats feature. The Best Buy ads have had some bugs fixed in their implementation. Apparently, there will be another meeting Wednesday, after which he will discuss his own goals. (IIRC, they were mostly about getting an improved backup feature).
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
In the microblogging world, Tumblr has put out a beta Mac version of a back-up app. I can't use it yet, because I use Windows (a LOT of Tumblr's users use Macs, apparently, though), but other versions will be forthcoming. The lead developer of Tumblr, Marco Arment, was inspired to create this app because of the T-mobile data failure.

What's nice about this app is that it's very simple, in keeping with the rest of Tumblr's design philosophy: you get HTML files in folders, not archive file. But there is also the data there for developers within those files, should they need it.

In other microblogging news, Posterous has updated their group blog capabilities, to allow for group profiles and for autoblogging to each member's accounts on other services.

Anyway, for those of you who came in recently and have well, never heard of Tumblr or Posterous, both are "micro-blogging" sites, where you can blog much easily (though less powerfully) than from Wordpress. Tumblr seems more beloved of the artistic hipster crowd, and is NY-based, whereas Posterous is a Silicon Valley startup, especially popular in the tech community. Both impress me with how they seem to come out with new features on a regular basis, although it still remains to be seen how successfully they'll monetize. Right now I'm using Tumblr more often, but Posterous's features often seem more radical and intriguing (and their autopost (which is the ability to crosspost to huge amounts of sites) is impressive).
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)

Sweet. Tumblr is now allowing you to have password protected blogs (along with the private blogging feature). Since you can control multiple blogs under the same account, this in a way does give you granular privacy, since you can create separate pw-protected blogs for different groups.

Speaking of privacy, thinking more on the cross-site authenticated flist reading issue, until Dreamwidth somehow resolves the problem (which from reports, it seems they still have quite a ways to go) probably if you have a small friendslist on LJ, the easiest way to read LJ without touching the LJ site is to set an emailed notification every time a person on your flist posts. That means that all the posts will go to your email account, IIRC. However, I suppose this is only convenient if the number of people who you follow on LJ is small.

Also, wow, LJ ads have gotten quite uh, advanced. I have a Plus account and suddenly my window went gray and a Best Buy movie-ish ad (the sort where you have to close it to make it stop) popped up. Obviously I use Plus, so ads are what I will see, but this was the first one like that I've seen. (Or this could be a trojan or something, not sure what it is, but since there was a Best Buy ad in the inbox page, I suspect it really was related.)
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
[personal profile] elena informed me that Six Apart has released Typepad Micro, which is basically a Tumblr knock-off plus native commenting.

This is met with some snark:

An employee of Six Apart's main rival, Automattic, talks about it:

"The biggest lesson learned from P2 is that if you are looking for “micro” style content, you must put a content add page in the reading page: just like Twitter, Tumblr, and P2 do." (P2 is a Wordpress 'microblog' style layout)
An interesting assertion is made: eventually, users will demand reblogging EVERYWHERE, including in regular Typepad and Wordpress. Also some interesting comments on the "veil" of Tumblr; I have to say, you CANNOT understand Tumblr's appeal without going "behind the veil" and seeing it from the perspective of a logged in user.

It's an open question whether this will work: it's supposed to be free because the objective is to promote the Typepad platform. Yet, will people still want to pay for Typepad when they can use for free? Or Tumblr for free? Do people who microblog even want to do regular type blogging and thus become Typepad customers? (I think what we're seeing is the casual/personal component of blogging basically leaving for microblogs and Twitter)

Anyway, I have a post brewing on Tumblr's discovery features and promotion. (BTW, how many of you use Tumblr?)
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
Not as many people are interested in Tumblr, I noticed in the poll. However, I think er, that Tumblr is quite fascinating. In this tough economic climate, the site's continuing to become more popular, especially at a time where social networking sites are becoming more popular, while other types of social media are stagnating or declining. Why is this so? I think it's because of its simplicity and immediacy. I should note that Tumblr is in essence a cross between Wordpress Lite (but unlike, you can do whatever you want with your layouts: own stylesheet? Sure! Javascript? Ok!. You can just get in there and start mucking with the HTML) and Twitter, but with even more multimedia friendliness.

It seems that the blogging-social media landscape is becoming "verticalized," meaning that it's being broken up into niches. In this entry on the evolution of personal publishing, there's an interesting chart which posits that microblogs exist kind of between blogging and social networking on the axes of corporate<--->social and heavy<--->light. I'm not sure "corporate" is the best word here; perhaps "broadcast" works better. Anyway, Tumblr, and other microblogs, seem to have scratched an itch, as this blogger says. (This post is well worth reading, as it talks about the history of blogging, and Wordpress vs. Tumblr) [It mentions Posterous also, but doesn't talk about it as much.]

Here's an interesting comment that talks about microblogs as well.

Another factor in Tumblr's success is its encouragement of interactivity. How can it do this without commenting? Likes and Reblogs are how it's done at Tumblr. While this means that Tumblr is not a big discussion site, perhaps, I think the users do find it valuable. It made me think of this post about the three 'classes' of social media: creators, curators, and consumers.

(Quick summary: The article comes from an advertising business model perspective, BTW. Creators seek (positive) feedback, so you had better create means of encouraging that, such as highlighting them, creating leaderboards, etc. Consumers need help discovering content they are interested in, so you had better create those means of discovery, such as search engine optimization, social link sharing optimization, and once they are within the site, stuff like 'related content,' 'most popular content', etc. Curators are the ones who filter and collate, "editing" the site, and they require 'frictionless' (that is, streamlined and easy) ways of giving feedback, adjacent to the content.)

Tumblr, it seems to me, is especially effective at curating. You can of course create things, but a lot of it is like scrapbooking: collecting things of interest to you, and finding them and reblogging.
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
Love Twitter or hate it, it's a popular site, and rather more popular than LJ. However, LJ doesn't have any Twitter integration (as far as I'm aware) and neither does Dreamwidth. IMHO, it would be a good idea for DW to integrate more with Twitter, especially as a) many DW users use Twitter, b) many potential DW users use Twitter, and c) Twitter seems to quite integratable.

How do other (micro)blogging sites integrate with Twitter? There seem to be several ways:
1) using Twitter as a form of login [EDIT: Twitter's materials on signing in with Twitter]
2)crossposting feeds/updates to Twitter
3)importing Twitter feeds as a sidebar widget

Let's look at Posterous, Tumblr, and

Posterous: One of Posterous's famed features is its crossposting (called "Autoposting"). And I sure do mean crossposting. Twitter is just one of the many sites Posterous can crosspost to [LJ is one of them, Dreamwidth is not], and the Posterous folks openly tout Posterous as a way to easily post pictures and other media to Twitter. Also, Posterous, unlike Tumblr, has built-in commenting, and it allows Twitter login, along with Facebook Connect. I don't think you can import Twitter feeds into your sidebar, though (I may be wrong).

Tumblr: Tumblr also allows you to send info to Twitter (and also Facebook). Tumblr doesn't have built in commenting, but you can edit your layout to use either Disqus or Intense Debate, both of which allow you to use Twitter login (as well as FB connect). And, you can put your Twitter feed in your blog layout, should you so desire to, as a widget. Wordpress recently put in Twitter crossposting (it also allows you to edit how the Tweets appear.) doesn't use Twitter login. (Though on your own Wordpress install, I'm sure you can do it.) Since Twitter uses RSS, you can easily display your Tweets as a widget in your sidebar

Although DW and LJ don't have built in crossposting to Twitter, you can use a service such as Twitterfeed to post them to a Twitter account (such as I have done here). This works fairly well, IMHO. Twitterfeed also allows you to have a feed input into your Facebook account. What if DW were to allow Facebook Connect as a login option for comments and have an option to automatically crosspost to FB?

(BTW, in terms of the poll, I'm fairly surprised that so many people selected Facebook, especially given that so many people in the LJ Suggestions comm and on LJ news seem to think that the site is the Great Satan.)

Also found something interesting while poking around in Russian LJ: seems that SUP bought out the equivalent of LJ-Toys, and they have some interesting utilities there. <--supposed to show who memoried someone (enter in LJ name), although it only seems to be the users they've spidered, and I'm not sure how that was determined (only Cyrillic journals?) <---choose two users, and it'll give you the friends they have in common.
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
[profile] your_librarian says: "The problem is that there aren't many people on LJ who want them and most of the comments here are assuming that moving users from LJ is the answer to DW growth" and "most people who are still using LJ today are going to continue doing so. " and "What DW needs is a killer app, not to worry about codes. And it needs to look for new users in places where people are not yet blogging but nonetheless producing content. What would make them want to produce their content here?"

I would say that I agree with most of these statements, except that IMHO, it's harder to get new users because DW, as an LJ fork, has a high learning curve. Livejournal has been stagnant or declining in usage over the past year. Meanwhile, Wordpress has been growing, and the microblog service Tumblr has experienced dramatic growth. (Lately, Tumblr seems to have done such things as providing a meetup organizing place and creating a film festival also. )

[BTW, my Tumblr.]

[personal profile] chris claims that invite codes decrease diversity, and what he has to say is objectively true to a certain extent. Many of the comments by the people saying they want 'community' and like the smallness of DW suggest this, IMHO. It's a trade-off, to a certain extent, between community and diversity. (As I state on the thread, I don't support invite codes for reasons of community preservation, but for spam prevention)


Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 10:50 am
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)

A posting on Posterous, a microblogging site with some pretty advanced features. The main thing that hurts it now is they haven't created the template customization elements, so you're stuck with the default layout.

The main feature is the ultra-easy email posting, and crossposting and super easy media options. They seem to be gunning for several audiences: neophytes and those who want to co-blog with them, and people who have five bajillion blogs and would like something to help crosspost.

The integration is pretty impressive. I'm struck by how Twitter seems to be becoming a web-ID of its own, sort of like Facebook connect.

tumblr notes etc

Saturday, June 20th, 2009 09:00 am
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
Posted on a post by M John Harrison on Tumblr.

I also got Notes and Disqus working on my current theme like I want them to. ^_^ Disqus is actually comparable in power to something like WP's commenting system, with searchability and a full archive of all comments left in your posts and all comments which you've left.

Notes and reblogging begin to grow on you, actually. I still find the Tumblarity thing irritating, though.
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
Someone on my read list expressed an interest in using Tumblr.

Firstly, what the heck is Tumblr and what is it for?

Well, looking at the site should tell you, but basically Tumblr is a microblog. It's kind of a step up from Twitter, and a step down from a full fledged blogging platform like Wordpress. It's kind of like a really simplified way of posting short posts, especially media ones; it's good for people who like to share stuff publicly, especially if they don't need a lot of deep interaction/commenting, and for people blogging lightly and ephemerally.

If I don't want to blog at Tumblr, is there any reason to get a Tumblr account?

There is, actually. Tumblr also allows you to 'follow' tumblelogs, and if you do, they'll all show up as an aggregated RSS in your dashboard. This is sort of like the LJ friendslist.

What can't you do at Tumblr that you can at LJ, or less well there?

Basically, anything involving filters (both for reading and access purposes), and granular privacy, both on the post and user level. There is a system of private blogging on Tumblr, but it works differently from LJ's system. (I'm not really convinced that LJ's system is actually the best, though). Multiple userpics. Native commenting system. LJ-cutting. Most of LJ's 'social-network-like' functions.

As bad as LJ's archiving system is, Tumblr's archiving system is worse, also. Tumblr also lacks data portability presently.

What can you do at Tumblr that you can't do at LJ, or better there?

You can save drafts of posts, and then queue them (create a bunch of posts, then set them to post in the future or at predetermined time intervals). Secret group tumblelogs. The customization is miles easier than LJ; I could never make my own LJ style, but I suspect I could roll my own Tumblr one. You can use Google Analytics, and Statcounter. You can search your own Tumblr, as well as Tumblr as a whole. The design is a heck of a lot more modern, as is the interface, and the ease of posting too. Twitter integration, also. Using your domain name is free, as well, and it actually sticks, as opposed to being a simple redirect.

And, though Disqus really should be better integrated into Tumblr, it well... is really powerful as a commenting platform.

ETA: I had also forgotten about the "reblogging" feature and the "like" feature, as well as the v. easy uploading and simultaneous posting of photos and mp3s.
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
Apologies to all of the people who read me for... well, I have no idea why people read me. I blog about too many different things, so I could never really hack it as a professional blogger. XD

But anyway, I continue to be fascinated by Tumblr and why they are so talked about and why they receive so much money, despite not making any revenue (yes, no revenue). Recently Tumblr introduced the new ridiculous 'Tumblarity' feature. As silly as it is in some ways, it probably WILL encourage people to tumble and to reblog more (you get points also for reblogging others, as well as being reblogged, I think), and it will provide a useful popularity metric (I suppose if someone wants to monetize?) Providing a list of the top Tumblelogs could also aid in discovery. If you're bored on Tumblr you can always, also, go and look at the 'popular' feature to see popular posts on Tumblr.

What struck me was that, now that I'm logged into Tumblr, I notice how a lot of the new amusing link of the day blogs posted on sites like Reddit and Metafilter are Tumblelogs. (It's often not obvious because you can use your own domain name w/ Tumblr). Minor celebrities, people affiliated with certain artistic scenes, often hipster meccas, are also on Tumblr, and have helped publicize it.

so maybe... )

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