Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dear Tumblr, we should see other people.

Oh poor Tumblr. You are an oddity.

Let's talk about Tumblr for a moment. It is one of those websites that doesn't like user feedback. It goes "I want to change something" and it does, and everyone complains. "Isn't that about standard for a website? I mean, everyone complains when Facebook updates" you're saying. Well yes, actually quite a few changes in layout have been unimportant and met with criticism but then died down when everyone got used to it (and could no longer remember what the old layout even was). I complained once when the dashboard changed and moved all the helpful things I wanted to look at to a new page off the dashboard and it didn't seem as optimal as the old system and just an update for the sake of an update! Awful! Then I started running a 2nd blog and suddenly it made sense! It was really convenient the way they'd set it out once I had 2 blogs.

But then they started messing with the ask box. They limited the amount of messages you could send in an hour, which OK fair enough make a vague amount of sense when you think about it from the perspective of stopping spam. Youtube has a similar system, but it does it in a smaller time frame so as to not be really annoying (take a hint David Karp). People were really annoyed at that! Especially the social ones (on a website that has it's own little culture of being socially awkward). Well that is such an annoying thing to do why didn't they just stop us from sending links instead? Oh then they did that. Then they got rid of the ability to press "enter" in ask boxes. What? Why? What possible reason could you have for bunching text together? OK well at least that's where it ends... oh no wait it doesn't. They give us 500 character limits. What? That basically destroys any attempts to communicate effectively.

Our entire social interaction with people we know solely on tumblr is turned into an even more limited and constrained messaging system that a youtube comment (and we all know how great that is for communication).

There was a rumor that they had also imposed a reblog limit of 100 per hour. I tested this and found this to be untrue. Whether or not they got rid of this (I doubt it, that involves listening to people) or whether this never was true I don't know. It seemed like such a stupid thing to enforce as it is actually kinda difficult to amount that many posts to reblog in under an hour.

So people complain and Karp goes "NO! NO I DON'T WANT THE WEBSITE TO BE WHAT YOU WANT! LET ME HAVE IT MY WAY!" instead of listening to everyone complain over actually important things that significantly lower the functionality and our enjoyment of the site. I thought good business was listening to the consumer but no. Karp is insistent that it's his website, he can do what he want. Fair enough, it is his website and as long as people keep going there he will keep doing what he want. Not that it's all bad though! Please do not think I think him and his team the intellectual equivalent of intelligent monkeys with the intent on ticking off the human race. No he's had some good ideas, like making ask boxes have the "answer privately" feature which was a massive improvement to the ask box system and actually seemed to arise from people's habits of answering people in their ask boxes instead of publishing the answer, a habit that ilyketurtles would do constantly for everyone who wasn't anonymous. That or they just thought it'd make sense. Who knows? Probably the latter.

Ah! But this is not why I have been absent! No, actually I've stopped going on because it was taking up too much time. It just wasn't practical to stay on it for hours each day making sure I never missed a post. I just didn't do much else while I was on the computer, distracted by this great big collection of images, videos, posts, music, everything. It was awful to my productivity and made me feel like I was wasting too much of time doing absolutely nothing. So I've followed in the footsteps of Mark aka Ilyketurtles who decided one day that he'd quit Tumblr for a week and see how that helped him with his study/life/etc and then after a week of being free from it's grasp realised "WOW! I HAVE FREE TIME! I CAN DO THINGS!" and all that jazz so he left, again. Permanently, with the exception of a few posts updating this and that, like his trip to Spain and such. OK well oddly enough that was actually my advice that I gave to him... sorta. He blogged about how Tumblr took up a lot of his life so I gave him a motivational speech and said "DO IT! No excuses, just log off and do it! Even if you fail you'll have learned a few things in the attempt!" and a few more things, I can't remember what but then he's like "Ok guys, thanks to (me) encouraging me I'm going to quit Tumblr for a week. See you all then!" and I got a few new followers. Then he quit for real and I was thinking "gee I sure hope no one blames this on me..." But they haven't. And that's good because he did all the work, it was his idea in the first place I just encouraged him and there are probably a lot more factors than just me going "DO IT! DO IT!". I miss his posts on my dashboard, but he's off living life free from the time consuming grasp of Tumblr so he'll probably do a lot better in his exams now. Then he can get into UWA doing medicine so that'll be awesome. Go Mark!

So yes, I'm following my advice to others, and leaving Tumblr for a while. I'm not going to do what he did and leave permanently, just probably until I finish my next essay. But now I know how easy it is just to not log on every time I go on the computer I will probably learn to use the internet for research more effectively. I'll learn to do other things with my life and maybe achieve something.

So leave Tumblr! Join us and join the real world! Never mind the sunlight, you'll get used to it. They've got lotions for that anyway.

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