With the internet now clogged with multiple “mini-blogging” options making it easy to to fritter away all your time sharing everything from your random thoughts to your latest finds. Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku and Tumblr are generally seen as the 4 frontrunners, and while it’s not necessarily comparing apples to apples, it’s worth a look at how they compare. (I considered throwing Facebook in here, but it’s really a different animal)
A quick overview:
“what are you doing?”
The first on the scene and easily the most popular, Twitter does one thing and does it very well. You can have an instant message chat session with the world, as long as the service isn’t suffering from its all too frequent downtimes.
Pros: Everyone else is using it too. Extremely simple to use and options abound for getting messages in and out.
“a way to send stuff to your friends”
Launched this summer and growing modestly with an invitation-only system, Pownce allows you to easily share messages, links, events and files with the world or just your friends. Will a nice UI, features and filtering capabilities make up for the lack of SMS and delayed API?
Pros: File sharing ability. Nice look and feel. Desktop app available.
Cons: Currently no SMS and no RSS import.
The combination of messaging with feed aggregation means that almost anything you do online can be combined into one stream. The addition of channels makes it easy to connect with others of similar interests, but with limited filtering capability it can be information overload.
Pros: Easily import all online activities into one place. Apply icons to posts.
Cons: No filtering. Limited SMS.
“share anything you find”
Called the “ADHD version of blogging” by TechCrunch, Tumblr allows you to share pictures, videos, links, quotes and messages. RSS import and the ability to completely customize the look and feel or even host the tumblelog on your own domain make Tumblr a great option, but comment functionality is taking a while to materialize, which is a serious flaw these days when we’re all about interactivity.
Pros: ability to share photos, videos, etc. directly (others must link out to them). Completely customizable.
Cons: no comment functionality, though that’s apparently in the works.
* with external app Twitterfeed **international number only
Which one to use?
Which one(s) you prefer has a lot to do with how you want to use them and where your friends are. While Pownce and Jaiku have some nice features, Twitter and Tumblr stand out at either end of the spectrum depending on how much you want to “connect” with others. If you’re into public web-based IM, then Twitter is the place to be. It’s already the most popular, and if they would just add a couple of features it would be difficult to compete with, especially if they could address some of the downtime issues that have been plaguing the system. Tumblr is the perfect solution for people who really don’t want to have a blog per se, but want to aggregate all their online activities into one place and share what they’re finding with friends. Can’t decide? Use all of them and update them at the same time.
Which do you use most and why? Which ones do you think will still be around in 5 years, leaving the others looking like ghost towns?
(I’ve got a couple of Pownce invites left – anyone want them? Let me know in the comments.)
This article was written by Randa Clay. Read more about design, marketing, blogging, branding and all things creative at RandaClay.com.