Pinterest versus Tumblr

During my social media class, I have tried out many different social media platforms and tools. Most of these I will let fall by the wayside and my accounts will become inactive, but I think Tumblr and Pinterest are here to stay.  Now I know many people would argue that these two platforms belong in separate very different categories in the social media world. Pinterest in a bulletin board or bookmarking platform more closely related to Delicious, and Tumblr is a straight forward microblogging site in the same family as Twitter. However, I think these two platforms could very easily be grouped together. This association in my mind began when my husband, a heavy Tumblr user, proudly stated when I opened my Pinterest account that “Pinterest is the poor man’s Tumblr.”

The Similarities

So how are these platforms similar? Well  as new user of both, I can spot several things. Both services have main dashboards (even though as far as I can tell only Tumblr calls it that) that shows you all the new things (posts or pins) that people you follow have posted since the last time you visited. Reposting is a vital component of both platforms (rebloging or repining). These posts then show up on your personal site as well as in your followers’ dashboards. You can also “like” posts or pins. These posts get stashed in a different area and don’t show up on the dashboard. Both platforms allow you to make personal notes on the posts you reblog or repin. Now this last similarity will lead to the differences of the platforms – both have categorization above what appears on personal blogs or dashboards. For Pinterest these are controlled and predetermined, but on Tumblr these are user created tags that can become very personal very fast. However, many Tumblr users might create their own standard tags to help with refinding for example a tag of their username for their original content or pictures of themselves which is similar to the curation seen in Pinterest boards

The Differences

Now the biggest difference between the two services comes down to personalization. Pinterest has a controlled vocabulary for categorization and there is no personalization of one’s Pinterest page. Tumblr allows as much customization as you want as long as you put the effort in. You can customize your home page to outrageous levels (including making your page look like a pin board). As mentioned above, Tumblr users tag their own posts however they like (or skip it all together). Tumblr also allows users to converse through reblogs (as well as through Ask boxes, replies to certain types of posts).  The original statement or caption is preserved and then the reblogger adds his or her own comment or reaction. This can go back and forth for quite a while and can spread to include other bloggers. Tumblr also allows users a better way of tracking the spread of their posts through their notes feature than Pinterest with their more simple repin and like count. Now I will finish on probably the most obvious difference which usually causes people to put these platforms in separate categories – the variety of content that can be posted on Tumblr. Tumblr allows not only pictures & videos but also text (both long & short), quotes, audio, links (straight hyperlinks), and chats (posts that are recounts of conversations).

Which to Choose?

Now if you only wanted to invest in one of these platforms, which should you choose? Well you should ask yourself a question, “How much interaction do you want?” If you want to be apart of an integrated community that communicates directly with one another then you should choose Tumblr. If you just want a place to pursue content that you want to save and share latently with a group of followers then go with Pinterest. Want to make and share text posts and links that don’t translate pictorially? You probably want more communication – choose Tumblr. You don’t want a big time commitment either up front for personalization or later with up keep? You probably don’t want to spend tons of time creating posts conversing with others – go Pinterest.

What do you think? Do Pinterest & Tumblr have more in common than we usually give them credit for? What are some other questions one could ask to figure out which platform to try out?

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