“Blogs don’t work for most people.”
That was one of the reasons Tumblr founder David Karp gave to TechCrunch this week when asked why he created the Tumblr blogging platform. “All blogs took the same form,” he notes. “I wanted something much more free-form, much less verbose.” And the beauty of micro-blogging platforms like Tumblre and Posterous is how easy they are to use. Tumblr’s bookmarklet is beautiful and the foundation of Posterous is email, but both have moved on to created incredibly simple to use iPhone apps the compliment their original ease of use propositions.
Another beauty of Tumblr, specifically, is the way it handles different post formats. Highlight a selection of copy in an article and click on the Tumblre bookmarklet and it knows you want to make a quote. It presents you with a dialogue that makes sense for that format and then posts using a style that enhances that format.
I’ve been using Tumblr to drive Just Dug Up (see the image to the right) for many years now. I use it because it’s simple. I use it because it makes the tidbits I find during my web wanderings look better than they actually are. I don’t have to think hard, I don’t have to format anything, I just click. Easy. Fast. Painless.
Similarly, I’ve used Posterous for JeffTurner.mobi since Posterous was launched. I use it when I’m on the go or when I want to do a quick review of a mobile app that requires multiple screen shots. Again, Posterous makes is simple. Email the group of screenshots or use their iPhone app and it takes care of creating an image viewer, like the one below, without any intervention on my part.
Why can’t WordPress be that simple?
I’ve wondered out loud about this in the past. Why can’t the existing WordPress ”press this” bookmarklet be turned into something more intelligent, like Tumblr’s bookmarklet? Why can’t it sense that when I’m highlighting text, I probably want to format it like a quote? Why can’t I post multiple photos and have WordPress understand that I want them shown in a slideshow format? And herein lies the promise of WordPress 3.1, at least in part.
When Matt Mullenweg announced the live version of WordPress 3.1, he said, “There’s a bucket of candy for developers as well, including our new Post Formats support which makes it easy for themes to create portable tumblelogs with different styling for different types of posts…”
And there are some really promising Themes ready to carry out that task, including Wumblr, Lightbright, and from WooThemes, Auld, each of which do a great job of taking advantage of this new post format feature. Auld distinguishes itself already by taking advantage of a slew of “Tumblog” utilities that WooThemes has provided for some time now, including Express App for iPhone, extensive multimedia support, and their advanced QuickPress funtionality that is built into the theme.
The good folks at WooThemes have made their Tumblog Plugin available to everyone. And their documentation on what to do to make your blog tumblog read is extensive. So, you can tune any theme to take advantage of the power of the new WordPress 3.1 features. The Tumblog plugin automatically enables their QuickPress widget. Combine that with their Express App and you’ve just taken a huge leap toward the ease of use that distinguishes platforms like Tumblr and Posterous.
Here’s the problem. Something is missing.
All of that is excellent, but the main reason why I’ve been excited for the release of WordPress 3.1 is the hope that it wouldn’t require me to run to so many different sources for plugins and widgets to get to this kind of functionality. The problem? Something is still missing. It’s a better bookmarklet.
I don’t do most of my content creation on the go. I pick through my feed reader in the mornings looking for good content to talk about and love the ease of getting that content to Tumblr. The Tumblr bookmarklet is what makes it so simple. And while there are rumors that a new Press This! bookmarklet may be in the works for the next release of WordPress, I’m sad it didn’t make it into this release.
I’d rather be posting slightly longer reactions to content right here on Zeek.com, but I don’t want to have to continually jump back and forth between the wordpress dashboard, my feed reader and the post I’m reading. I want to highlight a quote, add my comments and hit send without having to think about formatting. That’s what Tumblr provides right now.
We’re so close.
The promise of WordPress 3.1 is ease of use. We just need a better bookmarklet.