Email versus bookmarklet blogging – a comparison of Tumblr and Posterous

by Jennifer J. Breazeale on July 8, 2009

Now that I’ve moved to grown-up blogging software (thank you, WordPress!) I’ve been doing some tech-gardening to centralize my content, make sure all my URLs point to the right place and that my profiles are at least somewhat consistent (yeah, still working on this one.)  And as part of this process, I’ve been reexamining some of the tools in my collection (arsenal?) to decide if I should use it or lose it.

Since blogging’s on my mind, I’m going to start with this question – if my blog platform of choice is WordPress, then where does that leave Tumblr and Posterous?

What gets posted where?

Assuming that I do want to keep all three, how do I decide what gets posted where? For the WordPress blog, this is a pretty easy decision – my long form content goes here – this includes articles on new technologies, case studies, event reviews, etc. If it takes me more than a click or is much longer than a tweet, then it’s probably going to be here.

As for everything else, for me it’s more a question of…

How does it get posted?

Let’s put it this way, I only have a Tumblr bookmarklet (not Posterous) on my browser. When I come across articles that I think would be interesting to the Tumblr community (more on that in a sec), it’s only one (ok, maybe two) clicks away from posting. And, wow, Tumblr has really added some neat stuff to their bookmarklet feature — I can select what kind of content I’m posting (text, photo, quote, etc.), add my notes or description, tell Tumblr which of my tumblogs to post to, schedule when it should be posted, date it, tag it, and customize the URL; and I know that when it’s posted, my content will be nicely formatted when it appears on my tumblog. (Well, unless I do something screwy, that is.)

I know Posterous has a bookmarklet, but to tell you the truth, I’ve never used it. Oh, I’ve put it on my bookmark toolbar before, but have always taken it off after a few weeks because it was just taking up space. (Actually, the same is true for Evernote, but that’s a discussion for another day.)  I use Posterous when I need to post via email.1 Specifically, I use Posterous as a mini-email archive for one of my community groups. When announcements or meeting minutes are emailed to the group, an email is also sent to Posterous and the content (again, including text, photo, video, etc.) is posted on the Posterous blog. These are records, they need to be kept, but they typically don’t provoke tons of discussion and therefore don’t require a highly interactive experience. Including them on the blog, however, gives our group a searchable and centralized archive of information that would otherwise reside in a handful of email boxes. So far, Posterous has been a great solution for this, but otherwise I’m not that inspired to use it.

Who’s looking at it?

As I mentioned above, I post stuff to Tumblr that I think the Tumblr community would be interested in and Tumblr is definitely a community (sometimes a juvenile and clique-y one, but still…) Folks post on Tumblr to generate a response from their audience – humor, inspiration, or disgust; Tumblr folks are an opinionated lot and if your content is stale and uninspired, don’t expect to get much love from this group.

Posterous doesn’t have the same community focus as has, but part of this has to be due to timing – Posterous turns 1 this month and is coming of age in the mass Facebook era, Tumblr is almost 2 1/2 and although Facebook was still popular way back then, it wasn’t the behemoth that it is now.2 Posterous focuses on you and your interaction with its product and this user focus has included some really nifty privacy and group blogging features that Tumblr doesn’t have.

So, what makes the cut?

Well, I’m going to keep them both for now. I really like the folks on Tumblr, strange though they may be, and I love looking through their photographs, listening to their music, and reading their inappropriate comics. I’m probably not going to integrate that stream with this blog, though, at least for the time being. And, as for Posterous, I’m going to keep emailing in my announcements and building my archive. Once that time is over, I’ll take another look, but will probably shift my Posterous account to idle.

What do you think? How do you use either or both of these tools?

1. Tumblr allows this too, but I prefer Posterous in this case because their posting email address is easier to remember and, when combined with their privacy options, it just makes more sense for what I’m using it for.) I’m pretty sure WordPress also has this capability, but again, it just doesn’t make sense for me.


2. No opinion on Facebook in general, just saying that if you were creating a community now, you might be more likely to do so on Facebook then you would have previously because so much of your audience is already there.

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