pinterest versus tumblr

i’m not just an early uptaker because i am bleeding edge trendy. though i AM. obviously. but because i am interested in social media, and i like to landgrab all the elaine4queen potential real estate. not that i have ever come across competition for the name, but – okay, whatever, i have no excuse as such, i just join things and then see where it takes me.

at the beginning of things it’s often hard to see what a site is going to be good for. i had my tumblr account for ages before i did anything with it. it just languished there, with a self portrait holding the page, gathering digital dust, for several months. by the time i posted my second picture some other people had started posting and i could start to get my eye in.


this is what i looked like in february 2009. pretty gripping stuff, right? those glasses? £2.

but even then it took over a year before i found the art blogs i would more or less stick with. like darksilenceinsuburbia.

trawling through my early posts i just found this quote

“In the morning Julie sunbathed on the rockery, this time without her radio. Her skin was so dark I thought it would only be another day before it was black. there was several wasps in the kitchen feeding off rubbish that had spilled across the floor. Outside there was a cloud of flies around the overflowing dustbins which had not been emptied for weeks. We thought there might have been a strike but we had heard nothing. A packet of butter melted into a pool. While I watched out the window I dabbed my finger in it and sucked. Today was too hot to clean the kitchen.”

The Cement Garden, Ian McEwan

a favourite quote from a favourite book. nice.

so, anyway. seeing how crap my tumblr was for so long i wonder if pinterest has anything interesting to add to… culture? at all? like i did with tumblr, i joined early, and part of joining was that it suggested i follow some people, so i did. it soon came to my attention that i was NOT INTERESTED in most stuff on pinterest. on the other hand, most of the people i know weren’t on yet, so there was that. the other thing is that the pictures are small. on tumblr you see one picture at a time on the dashboard, and you scroll through. also, it’s really flexible and quicker than twitter to add or discard whoever you do or don’t want to follow whereas pinterest, with all it’s boards is kind of klunky. tumblr has ended up with a vast cache of tagged stuff – recently i trawled through hundreds of fashion posts, hundreds of interiors, at a size on the screen of about postcard size, so more appropriate for visual culture than the fairly pants 2″ wide (on my laptop screen) images all huddled together.

on pinterest i have pinned some recipes. not that i have made any of them, apart from gleaning the idea of cooking pineapples, which is nice, and which i have done several times. so yummy. since chums have joined i have gradually dumped the boring ladeez that i had been following, but it is still a LOT about having stuff or wanting stuff rather than just liking stuff. it seems essentially consumerist rather than essentially creative.

what they do have in common is a tendency towards perky messages like this

for me, these got tired quickly on both sites, although on tumblr they tended to be more abstract and wistful and arty, whereas on pinterest they tend to be more about positive thinking and family. if pushed, i’d say the earliest users on pinterest were mormon housewives and the early uptakers on tumblrs were art students.

so anyway. i hardly follow any friends on tumblr, just people who post images i like. i can’t seem to find much to like about pinterest, despite following some funny and creative people. is it just the structural stuff? you can click through to bigger pictures on pinterest, where the details of the clever thing or the recipe might also be found. which is something, but it is also a bit annoying to have to do. pinterest makes it sort of easier to have a dialogue with people, but is neither snappy like twitter nor realtimey enough to be like IMing.

i dunno. this is not meant to be an extensive review. it’s just been a bit of partial perspective from your sofa based correspondent. i know there are plenty of people who don’t ‘get’ tumblr, either, so no big thing. i will put my hand up to having watched two documentaries today, one about ’70s britain, the other about the baader meinhof gang. the overlap being the emergence of consumer culture, and in germany an immediate radical theoretical response thereof. once i get going on the anti consumerist thing there’s no stopping me, really. except that there is  because i don’t write about these issues, really, do i?

not as such.

ponder, ponder ponder.

muse, muse, muse.

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11 responses to “pinterest versus tumblr

  1. Dear Elaine,
    I don’t get tumblr. I joined it not long after I joined WordPress (about 4 months ago, I was a blogging novice) but I couldn’t work out what it was for or how to use it so I haven’t bothered with it. Same with Twitter. I did a Facebook thing and people have joined it but I don’t bother with that. I’m a WordPress lass, through and through. 🙂
    Love Dotty xxx

    • i like twitter, but it took me a while – for social rather than technical reasons. it’s easy to work out how to use twitter, but, again, how to use it so that YOU will like it is another matter. same with tumblr, really

      i think with facebook there is nothing to figure out. it is what it is, and you either like it or you don’t.

      so this is my quandary about pinterest, is there something about it i just didn’t *get* or is it simply geared to something i am not interested in?

      wordpress is another kettle of fish entirely. i started blogging several years ago, on livejournal, so blogging is completely natural to me. i kept diaries since i was a kid and never gave them up, and i had pen pals, and continued to write letters as an adult, too, so blogging is just perfect for me. and moving to wordpress has been brilliant. i love meeting new bloggers all the time.

  2. I am far too technologically challenged for anything beyond WordPress and Twitter. And WordPress is really stretching my limits as far as posting pics or videos. Everytime I try to figure it out with the “help” answers, I have to decide if wasting another hour on what I want to put up is really worth it.
    The answer is usually no.
    i have seen a lot of comments about Pinterest, usually in the form of bad puns.
    Fortunately for me, I have a handful of shiny blogs like yours to read. That is good enough.

    • John! Send me a message if you need WordPress help, forever and for always. If I don’t know how to do what you want to do, I can figure it out super-fast for you. Promise. I’d be happy to help!

    • someone showed me two pieces of html when i first started, how to make hot links and how to gank photos.

      i know what you mean, though. i have recently tried to learn how to use storify, and it completely confuses me. i may never want to use it so badly that i am prepared to go through the pain threshold of learning. luckily wordpress is VERY similar to livejournal to use. made the transition virtually painless.

  3. I ADORE those glasses. And you have just stunning eyes.

    I don’t get Pinterest OR Tumblr. Here’s what I’ve decided: I’m just not a visual person. I’m a word person. I mean, sure. I see a pretty picture, I’m all, that’s pretty! But overall I don’t know what makes something pretty or what I like or what to share and everything comes out a huge jumble. I’m better with the words and making THEM pretty and orderly. I’ll stick to them. (And look at your, and Ken’s, Tumblrs, and think, aw, if only my brain worked that way. If only.)

    • for me, it’s a residue of being an artist. people nag me to make stuff again, but i think they don’t realize that i am already doing creative things by blogging, and curating images on tumblr scratches my visual itch just fine. why do stuff you don’t feel like doing?

  4. I am pinitrest, and while I am not on there all the time, I find it (1)functional – for recipes, home improvement ideas, etc. (2)a bit entertaining – I do post quotes, etc – mine tend to be more snarky then inspirational though.

    I think much of your ideas about it hold true (vs tumblr). Its almost like .,,, a facebook version of tumblr in a sense (if you were to compare facebook to blogging!). And yeah, I remember when I first stumbled across it – I was actually looking at a miniblind project there and I was thinking “what is with all this cute kid and god stuff?”

    What is interesting is how it is developing among some non profits – museums and libraries, for examples, as a way to publicize their collections, which tumblr has not really done. I think we say pintrest replace FB as the social network of choice for certain types of outreach — as someone who works in a library and with a background in public administration/non profit management, I am still torn about the effectiveness of social networking for such groups for outreach to the intended audience, but I do think pintest should more potential then FB!

    • yes! i am with you on fb, i think it is immensely limiting. it is what it is, and there’s no elbow room.

      glad to hear that pinterest is being used in a different way. it is really interesting to hear how something presented in one way can be utilized in another. not that i am against collecting recipes – who knows, one day i might actually cook something.

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