I joined tumblr a few years ago. Like many things (Twitter, Foursquare) I joined early, only to hate it and go away. Then I came back and discovered I was a huge fan. In contrast to having a blog, I felt like it gave me a venue to flesh out my thoughts. What’s more important though, is there’s a community. Twitter is fine when you have several hundred followers and I imagine thousands must be useful because you can post something and (almost) always get a response when you’re looking for feedback.
Tumblr gives that to people who might not boast credible dozens of fans, followers or friends. There are tricks to the trade, but what I liked most is how I’ve managed to develop a stronger understand of “what works” and what doesn’t. People can “like” something on tumblr as they can on Facebook or star it on twitter, but the currency of hearting something is a deeply personal thing. Some people use them as bookmarks, others as an acknowledgement that they appreciated the post you wrote.
The reasons aren’t necessarily important. It’s about the feedback, really. And anonymity to some degree. What Facebook lacks is the ability to riff on this or that without having the judgment of an entire network coming down on you. These days, it’s even less about people seeing what you posted, but rather, the fact that they might not ever see what you put up. There’s no implicit relationship on Twitter or Tumblr that says “now that we are following each other, I must affirm your statements or give a damn about what you have to say,” but I feel like Facebook comes with that veneer.
Tumblr has made it easier for me to post and to know what sticks. You figure out how to cultivate an audience. With multiple blogs, you can introduce yourself in curated ways through targeted blogs. It’s easy and the community is there engaging and taking it all in. It’s an incredibly powerful resource for figuring things out.