You might be thinking to yourself: “Tumblr cons?! What can be a con to using a free, fun, lightweight web service??”
Well I joined tumblr some years back. It was done in a flash decision to start a light and fun tumblr feed of my random thoughts, short stories, insta photos and more. I was already running igotkat.com, but it was not the right place to post my favorite NYC graffiti pics or ironic short stories about the amazing and ridiculous people of my home town.
Tumblr offered a simple, free, quick way to get my stuff up. It promised to make it easier for followers to follow me (by virtue of tagging stuff and appearing in people’s feed – ideally) and to be as easy to post as sending a tweet.
All true. Until I stopped using it regularly.
What happens when you leave it be for a while? Like a year.
Several things happened with my blog:
1. My theme fell apart.
Now this might sound silly and odd. I am, after all, a developer, so I should have not had this happen to me, right?
That’s what I thought. But this happened to a purchased theme. The lovely theme that I had used for at least 6 months was out of commission. So because Tumblr isn’t WordPress, and because I don’t have access to anything but the skinning code (the look), any part of the system could have been updated without my knowledge. Anything – literally – anything could have happened to my site, and I had no clue. I could have been hacked – I wasn’t, but I could have been, and I wouldn’t have known.Bottom line, I logged in one day, and the site was buuuusted.
There was xml code on the page, nothing was really legible. The nice skin that I had purchased was completely gone. Instead of having a battle with tumblr or even digging into the issue, I just used one of their default themes and called it a day. So much for ease. I don’t even know how long it was sitting looking that way for.
2. I can no longer get in. At all.
An email came a few weeks back reminding me to return. That if I didn’t, my site would be repossessed. That igotkat.tumblr.com would be offered to someone else. First off – this is terrible and why I moved away from tumblr-hosted, WordPress-hosted and Blogspot-hosted blogs a while back – you don’t really own your stuff. You own your content, yes, and you can export it, but not having access to the system code or the database like you do in a self-hosted WordPress site opens you up to a ton of issues.
Facebook does the same thing. FB can change their algorithm, to where none of your page followers get your updates unless you pay for it (I’m not getting into a debate about whether this is good or not), and you have zero say in it. I guess by that rule, the next self-hosted WordPress release might remove tons of features you loved, but they wont, and even if they did, you could always download an older package or WordPress to install on your server.
I don’t mess with that no more.
All that aside, I literally can’t get in anymore. I’ve reset my password, had the system repeatedly tell me that it’s been sent to that very email I gave it, and still nothing. Their help files tell me to wait ten minutes. But it’s been at least a day.
I have no qualm with tumblr outside of these two main, gaping, massive issues.
It was a good time, Tumblr, thank you – the creative space you provide has lots of interesting people doing interesting, often bizarre things. Some would even argue it’s good brand building tool, and I would squirm a bit but then agree…
But it depends on who your brand is!
There is a very specific demographic of users on tumblr, so if you’re feeling called to using it, make sure you know the space you’re entering.
All in all
I would advise you to take better control of your content, and if it’s important to you – like my short stories are quite important to me! – I would recommend going the self-hosted wordpress way, even for a playful project like I had started.
(I will now attempt to get all my data off tumblr. Wish me luck.)