Single-serving Tumblelogs

13 January 2009

Last year, Jason Kottke charted the rise of the single-serving site – “web sites comprised of a single page with a dedicated domain name and do only one thing”, as he puts it. They range from the facetious (IsItChristmas.com), to the possibly useful (IsLostARepeat.com), to the downriight marvellous (ItsNotLup.us). They’re almost the anti-Web 2.0 – uninteractive, dry-looking – devoted to a single psychotic purpose, neatly spelt out in the URL.

Since then, another kind of sites with a single purpose has sprung up – they can feature content – typically photos – and just that. They’re updated, but unlike blogs focused on single subjects, there’s no commentary, no snarking, no linky enthusiasm. It’s just content shovelled up for you straight away – and a lot of them use Tumblr. Brokers With Hands on their Faces, Garfield Minus Garfield and Fuck Yeah Sharks are three of my favourites, whiile Bale Yeah! and White People Trying to Look Serious get honourable mentions. The less commentary the better – let the content do the talking. Dude Totally Punched A Horse slips on this last one – it should just be the videos. Ditto for Arrested Development Stills – just leave them be!

Tumblr is ideal for this kind of streaming – having managed a super-secret Tumblr myself these past few months (I’ll reveal all sooner or later), the interface is a cinch, and as comments are not enabled by default it saves the messiness of moderating or dealing with the content. It’s halfway between single-serving and full-on blogging, leaving you free to obsess about whatever you obsess about. It’s light, fun and often hilarious. Long may it continue.


2 Responses

I’ve also noticed people using Tumblr for informal group blogs: tell people to use a group on Flickr or tag on delicious and it’s easy to get their content aggregated via a couple of RSS feeds. This is how http://lyddleend2050.tumblr.com/ and http://craneporn.tumblr.com/ work – the latter’s mine, fwiw.

I wonder if the advent of multiple Tumblrs under one account helped the quick single sites to get started? I must say I agree with you that the interface of the site is lovely, and the lack of comments (whilst being a cause of complaint to some) is quite nice, as far as I’m concerned.

add the sadtrombone.com and instantrimshot.com designed with one very annoying comedic purpose. I’ve been thinking of a similar kind of word a day type calendar site, except daily gripes instead.