To move to Tumblr…

It seems like the whole world is blogging. But that’s hardly the case1. When blogs first started, only the technically equipped could blog. Blogger changed that. But the interface was limited and once Google bought it, innovation on that platform slowed down for a long time. WordPress2 offered people who were slightly technical flexibility. The fact that it is open source meant that user needs quickly drove feature development by the army of users. The power of WordPress and the open source platform is truly brilliant and is something I’ve noted before. But many (me included) are finding that maintenance is a fair amount of work. And the complexity ratchets up with every plugin that’s installed.

I blogged privately on Blogger for years before I decided to switch to WordPress and blog publicly. I chose WordPress because of the flexibility, the ability to host it on my own url and because it was completely free. But over time, it has become a pain to manage the various plugins and the upgrades. In addition, something as simple as a template change is real work because things break. So I’ve stuck with what I have even if I don’t love it.

Tumblr is the new face of simplicity and elegance and is a great platform for blogging. It is quick, it is easy, it is clean and the UI – both for the poster and for the reader – is a sheer joy to work with. It has no sidebar and no plugins (that I know of). The blogger can change templates and colors on a daily basis if she wants – it is a much better alternative to the population that would otherwise choose Blogger.

The lack of thousands of widgets – really, the lack of choice and therefore the lack of complexity – is what makes Tumblr great. It forces you to be simple and focus on the content.

Let’s say that I am sold. Let’s even say that I am willing to give up plugins I like (such as Subscribe To Comments) in order to make my life easier. Can I switch to Tumblr?

The answer is a resounding NO. For one big reason – I cannot migrate my content to Tumblr.

I want my blog to contain all my posts – the content and the comments. This would require the ability to “import” my WordPress blog into tumblr, something almost every other blogging platform allows. Should it be doable? Yes. Is it doable? No. Or not yet. I have no idea whether this is on the roadmap or not, but until it is, I, and others like me who desperately want to, can’t move to Tumblr even though we want to.

Tumblr is late to the game in terms of blogging software. And while they may get a large percentage of those who are just starting3,  a lot of people have blogs already. A few will be willing to cut over in order to avoid the hassle, but most, even those with little traffic, will want all their posts and comments moved over. Tumblr should bring their “easy, clean, and beautiful” approach to this problem and solve it. I am sure it will have a big impact on adoption. I’ll be the first in line.

  1. In fact, just this week, I told three very smart eBay colleagues that they should be blogging 

  2. I’m ignoring TypePad in this discussion since it won’t affect the discussion 

  3. I recommended that all three folks use Tumblr