In essence, Tumblr has made it easy to add media wherever it suits you, and to see exactly what your post will look like when it goes live.
Tumblr released a statement on the new updates recently, explaining the major points up front, but hinting that there was more to be found if you explore a little.
“That’s the big stuff. You’ll find some smaller tweaks on your own. We’re just excited to see what kind of things you’ll make with all of this. Go forth.” — Tumblr
Text ManipulationAs any blogger knows, readers like to see articles broken up into sections with subheadings and horizontal lines to keep things organised. Tumblr now lets you do all of this, with some other gimmicky text tools too.
Embedding Video And ImagesTumblr’s new embedding tool is as simple as can be. On any given line, you can click the ? sign at the start of the line in order to see the embedding tools available. Use this to add an image, video, horizontal line, or more.
It’s really quite a lot like the tool Medium uses for embedding media.
General Overhaul For TextTumblr has tweaked things so that whenever you’re viewing a text post, it will look good. It’s a refreshing look.
Longform WritingAll of these little tweaks imply that Tumblr would like to see more people writing longform content on its platform. If you do decide to write more longform content on Tumblr, it would certainly give you more reason to use third-party tools, such as those that transform Tumblr blogs into books.
Mobile Apps UpdateAlong with all of the site updates, the mobile apps (Android / iOS) have been updated to offer push notifications for “asks” and answers, and swipe functions to like and follow from your notifications.
Comparisons With MediumDespite the writing interface being a little more like Medium than it was before, the Tumblr interface is still more cluttered than Medium. Once the post is written, the whole ecosystem and etiquette of Tumblr is a very different experience. Longform content may indeed thrive on Tumblr, but we’re not exactly comparing apples with apples.
On Tumblr, a post needs to be tagged well and reposted and liked by users in order to gain attention. Reposting ultimately gains your original post the most attention, especially when picked up by a popular Tumblr blog.
The world of Medium is a little different. When you write a post, you can decide whether to submit it to a publication or not. If you choose not to submit it to a publication, your post will originally only be seen by your followers. If your followers recommend the post, their friends may also see it. If you submit it to a publication, all the followers of that publication will potentially see that post as they read, as well as your own followers and the networks of people recommending the post. And finally, if a post is recommended enough it will be featured on the main dashboard of Medium as a “Top Post”, thus taking it viral.
The main difference then, is that on Medium it’s all about who you know. If you know the editor of a good publication, you have a big potential audience. If you’ve written a few good posts already and gained some followers (or brought them over from other social networks), you may have a good following on Medium. If you don’t know anyone on Medium, you may as well be talking to yourself. Medium does have “Channels” on the main dashboard, but they still feature content that has already been recommended by a number of people. There is also a search function.
A Tumblr following is built on previous content, and is not necessarily the same people who you know on other networks. On Tumblr, people follow individual blogs as well as tracking their favourite tags. This means a well-tagged post has a good chance of being seen by people and propagated virally.