Khoi Vinh on Tumblr and Identity

Khoi Vinh:

My biggest complaint, by far, has bothered me for some time but has taken me only until recently to put my finger on. Tumblr discourages identity. Or, to be more specific, it promotes shallow identity. Moreso than other blogging systems like WordPress or ExpressionEngine, Tumblr blogs frequently offer only scant few details about their authors. I can’t recall how many Tumblr sites I’ve visited where it wasn’t clear who was behind the posts, what their background was, or what their intent was.

I run into this all the time. It’s my policy to give credit by name whenever I link to or quote from someone; I often run into sites on Tumblr — thoughtful, interesting, well-written sites — where the author’s name isn’t indicated. In many such cases, I just don’t link. Yesterday I did link, but I felt weird about it.

And a separate problem is that when “reblogging”, the original source on Tumblr is hard to track down. I try to be scrupulous about linking to the original writer/creator of things, but Tumblr sites sometimes make that hard to do, or make it hard to even notice that what you’re reading/looking at originated on someone else’s Tumblr site.

Thursday, 5 August 2010