Before I begin, I don’t mean this to be a hit piece. I love both platforms dearly, and as I’ve been noticing myself spending much more time on one than the other, I thought I’d explain why.
Let’s start with my old friend, WordPress. WordPress is an open-source publishing platform. It’s software, provided for free and developed and supported by volunteers, that you install on a hosting provider. So you take this free software and install it, your site is entirely self-contained, and that is its biggest strength, something no other platform can claim. You own and can do everything. And I’ve been doing that a long time, since the start. This year, I’ve been using WordPress longer than I haven’t, and that’s mind-blowing!
WordPress is powerful; it does so much. Its editor can’t be beaten if you want complete control over your posts. If you want full control over how your site looks, the site editor will let you easily reach your heart’s desires. That is power, real power, for free. Is that not enough power? No problem, there are currently 59,271 free plugins available. Don’t want to customize your theme from the default? No problem, there are currently 9,603 free themes available.
That’s a lot! It’s truly incredible, in many ways freeing, but it’s also a lot. Sometimes, or I guess often these past few years, I need less, and that’s where Tumblr comes in. I’ve been on there for 2 years now, and the more I’m there, the less I’m here. One word can summarize that: convenience. Or, more specifically, convenience by ease of use, and most important, lack of options.
That’s not to say Tumblr is crippled; it’s not, and far from it. Tumblr’s editor may not have as many options as WordPress, but it’s more than enough, and it’s getting better every day (and now powered by Gutenberg). There are no plugins, and theme editing is limited to editing raw HTML and CSS, but you can still find a theme that’s close enough to what you want.
You simply get your Tumblr site looking the way you want, then use the app or visit the site and start writing and sharing content you love. And I know what you’re thinking right now; WordPress has an app too, but again: convenience and lack of options, just write and share.
So, that’s where I am right now. If I have something short to share; a few paragraphs, an image, a video, or an article I love, it will be on Tumblr because I can do that with nothing in the way. But if I’m writing a long post like this, something I’d be happy to know is on a platform where I fully own the content, it’s going to be posted here with WordPress. A long post is by no means a quick process, and the tools here are just more suited for that. This is by no means a character limit thing, just to clear that up. Tumblr is not Twitter. A single text block on Tumblr can have 4,096 characters, and a single post on Tumblr can contain 1,000 blocks.
So, at the end of this stream of consciousness, it’s all about using the tool that’s best suited for the purpose. Tumblr is quick and convenient, and excessive options don’t get in my way. It’s perfect for short and immediate content creation and sharing. WordPress is powerful; it’s perfectly suited for building longer content that I don’t mind spending time on.
In short, use the right tool for the job, or perhaps, more importantly, use the tool that feels right to you.