Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Quickblogging Options: Comparing tumblr and posterous

One of the most important things we can do as learners, and specifically as educational leaders in our communities, is to SHARE OUR IDEAS. “Quick blogs” are a category of website which is “kind of” a hybrid between a blog, a microblog, and an email service. As far as I know, tumblr and posterous are the two primary web services right now offering this kind of “quick blog” functionality, although other blogging platforms (including can arguably do many of the same core functions. There are critical differentiators, however, and these platforms are worth exploring in their own right. My investigations into these tools has just begun, so I’d love to hear about your own experiences and opinions.

I’m very interested in comparing the features / function / ease-of-use of tumbler and posterous. Yesterday I heard the co-founder of Posterous describe its functionality, and I was most impressed with how everything works through email— and email is a technology which virtually ALL teachers now are comfortable.

I found the following article which argues tumblr is better designed than posterous. Since I just setup my own posterous account yesterday ( and this is my first post on tumblr (,) I don’t feel like I’m in a good position to weigh in on this question YET. I have been impressed with how easy it is to publish content from my iPad to my posterous blog, since everything works via email. I’m eager to see how tumblr does.

Here’s PEG on Tech’s take on this from 2 months ago:

Why Tumblr is kicking Posterous’s ****January 19, 2010

Tumblr and Posterous are the two most prominent “tumblogging” sites, i.e. sites that make blogging more straightforward by making it easier to post media. Both were launched within six months. (Actually, Posterous was started later than Tumblr.)

But now Tumblr has been an Alexa Top 100 site for a while and is still growing strong. Meanwhile Posterous has about 4 times less uniques. Yet Posterous has everything to win: it’s a Y Combinatorcompany with top-tier investors like Chris Sacca and Mitch Kapor. Its founders are experienced software engineers with computer science degrees from Stanford. How come it’s eating dust from a small startup started by a high school dropout?

The answer is as easy as it is counter-intuitive: Tumblr is a New York company and Posterous is a Silicon Valley company.

Or, to put it another way: Posterous is an engineered product, while Tumblr is a designed product.

Two months go, Chris Foresman argued  on ARS Tecnica (Tumblr vs Posterous: quick blogging showdown) a big way the apps are differentiated is the way Tumblr lets you aggregate content. He wrote:

It’s also possible to pull in content automatically via RSS feeds, so you can aggregate content from any other blog or social site that provides a feed. This can be especially powerful when combined with a tool like Yahoo Pipes. For instance, I have a pipe that filters all the posts that I write for Ars from our RSS feed, which are added as links with summaries to my blog. Web consultant Joe Lazarus created a pipe specifically to generate a nicely formatted list of your top five weekly artists from to share via Tumblr. Users willing to experiment with feeds or pipes will find the possibilities are limitless.

Yesterday in our webinar I asked Sachin Agarwal (Posterous co-founder) specifically about aggregation possibilities for posterous sites, and he indicated that isn’t possible now. (It can be done with other tools like Yahoo Pipes, of course, but evidently not within Posterous at this point.)

I am glad to learn via the ARS article about PicPosterous. It is a free iPhone app that lets you upload multiple photos and videos to Posterous, so they can be aggregated into an auto-created gallery on the same post. If you use a tool like PixelPipe, it uploads each image as a separate post. I’m delighted to learn about PicPosterous.

In his ARS article, Chris ends up endorsing tumblr. To me, tumblr “feels” more like a blog. Posterous feels like something else. I think Posterous’ focus on using email as the content funnel is really its biggest differentiator, and in the context of educational professional development for teachers who are ALREADY familiar with email, its killer feature.

Ultimately, I think it would be great to help ALL teachers learn to both blog and create content on a wiki. However, actually getting teachers to that point is BIG challenge for multiple reasons, technical as well as cultural. FEAR also plays a big role. Being able to publish with JUST a simple email address ( is elegant and functionally brilliant. Tumblr does allow users to post via email, but it creates a “secret email address” to accomplish this and you have to hunt for it on your dashboard under “goodies.” Posterous, on the other hand, works the same for everyone: Just email and you’re done.

What’s your take?

(Cross-posted to Tumblr)







4 responses to “Quickblogging Options: Comparing tumblr and posterous”

  1. Russ Goerend Avatar

    I set a colleague up with a posterous blog for her annual Spring Break trip (with students) to Washington, DC. Posterous made it beyond simple for her to keep her students’ parents updated (via email or RSS subscriptions to the blog) of what they were doing.

    I’ve never used Tumblr, but I’m a huge posterous fan.

  2. John Maklary Avatar

    I’ve been using Posterous for a while now for a personal family blog, my professional blog, a tech support blog for my school, a podcasting platform for collaborative weather projects, and as an easy way for our staff to group-journal their professional development forays into conferences. I’ve given several presentations on Posterous and I agree that the one big hook is using email. I don’t have to train someone on email and most seem very comfortable using email to blog. Posterous makes huge strides with respect to easy access to the technology without a huge learning curve.