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Why Tumblr Was the Best

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
1 min read

Shawn Blanc (in his newsletter):

"Tumblr encouraged you to post anything and everything: quotes, links, conversations with friends, photos, videos, articles, etc.
On the one hand, this led to tons of Tumblrs being the online equivalent of an angsty teenager’s messy bedroom. But on the other hand it also encouraged folks to put stuff out there day after day.
For the most part, I am an advocate for the idea that constraint breeds creativity. But sometimes the constraints need to be removed so you can just get unstuck.
And that’s something Tumblr got absolutely right. Because Tumblr had all sorts of various post types, there was no right or wrong thing to publish. You could share anything you found to be interesting or special or unique or funny or helpful, no matter the format. It all counted. You didn’t even need to have a title."

Shawn is absolutely right. I've tried every major consumer CMS and several (universally horrible) enterprise CMSs. Tumblr is the best CMS I've ever used for sharing anything online. It isn't even close.

I miss it constantly.

I don't feel like I left it as much as it left me. I was willing to pay whatever they were willing to charge. But instead of going after millions by charging for their product, they went after billions by turning their users into their product. Just like Twitter.

How's that working out?

As for the part about constraints, I've always stressed constraints in creating art, not necessarily sharing art. There were certainly design and function constraints all over Tumblr, so I wouldn't say it was free of constraints. It just made the sharing frictionless, which is something desperately needed outside of the social network walls today.