Tumblr blogging service, which launched last month, gives people the chance to publish brief or full-length, media-rich posts using their browser or mobile phone. It's a happy medium between a tidbit posting service, such as Twitter, and a full-fledged blogging tool, such as WordPress or Blogger. Tumblr is aimed at folks who feel they may not have enough content or time to write a full blog, yet still want to write and share links and media.
Each Tumblr user gets their own "Tumblelog," a short-form blog that contains one of six types of media: word posts, photos, videos, quotes, URLs, and IM conversations. Each type of content has its own visual style and corresponding form for publishing. It's delightfully simple, and within minutes you can add a wide range of content. There's also a bookmarklet for your browser's toolbar to post items without having to navigate to Tumblr's home page.
Tumblr comes with some pretty advanced options for power users. You can give your Tumblelog its own domain, and even set the length for stories on your RSS feed. There are five themes to pick from, and you can customize the color of every aspect of the interface. If you are integrating Tumblr into your blog or Web site, there's an option to paste in your CSS.
What really sets Tumblr apart is its speed. It's blazingly fast. According to founder David Karp, the service gets in excess of 10,000 posts an hour, something you can visually track using an in-house tool called Radar. Currently in alpha, it shows the last 20 pieces of content published to the service. It's a little bit like Digg's DiggSpy, but without autorefreshing.
If you're on the fence about blogging or just want an easy way to publish interesting tidbits you find while browsing, give Tumblr a try. Our semiofficial Tumbleblog can be found here.
Note: From 2003 to 2007, Tumblr creator David Karp was a partner and CTO of UrbanBaby.com, now owned by CNET Networks, publisher of Webware.com.