Image from: Gallery / Shutterstock
Attention all: we’ve come to the brink, to the edge, to the precipice. Much-adored microblogging platform Tumblr.com is about to be surpassed in unique visitors by quirky style-wrought upstart Pinterest.com. I know what you’re thinking: these two are in separate categories, with Tumblr falling in the blogging field and Pinterest falling in the personal networking field, but if you’ve ever used either service you’ll know there is a definite common denominator uniting them; personal curation.
Curation means the aggregation and organization of artifacts, and in this virtual context the term’s meaning must be stretched. This brilliant NYTimes article outlines the semantic discrepancy of using this term, but the sentiment of curation holds true for both Pinterest and Tumblr. On either platforms users sit within their own microcosm of content they’ve accumulated themselves, all of which represents their identity and taste, and then, as pertinent media drifts by in the broader nebula of the Internet, users pluck up what they feel fits and they arrange it in their collections. We hoard these curios, we pin them and repost them, and through this act of curation we flay open our imaginations so that it might be arranged in neat little boxes and pleasing formats for all the online world to see and appreciate. As the article’s author Carina Chocano states, “it’s a low-dose visual lithium,” and what it soothes is the human need to see our identities expressed in the metaphorical form.
Depicted above in the comparison of UVs between Pinterest and Tumblr is the shocking ascension of Pinterest over the last two years to come just below Tumblr in the past month, with a mere difference of 1,157,604 uniques between the two (and believe me, this is mere when you’re talking in terms of multi-millions). Taking a look at the average stay (below), tells a different story; Pinterest has been mingling in the range of Tumblr for a while now, and it doesn’t look like the site is losing its attraction anytime soon. This shows the type of fastidious loyalty that has kept Tumblr so near-and-dear in its users’ hearts.
But these two platforms may not be as contentious as the above graphs would have you believe. Looking at a breakdown of the age demographics on either site, Pinterest seems to have a diffused popularity among the age ranges while Tumblr has a definitive hold on the 18-24 range. Simply put, younger people love their tumblrs.
Combined with the loyalty displayed in the relatively high average stay, this is a grandiose investment for the Tumblr. If each user on Tumblr is curating, as the site’s design behooves, then each user is essentially creating a chronology of their fascinations and interest, and this is the sort of wealth that is not easily parted with. Tumblr has thus ensured its popularity, or at least loyalty, as this generation ages, while Pinterest is taking a less focused, though just as effective approach by targeting no age in specific.
The point is that these two sites are not in a battle and should not be viewed as contentious. Instead, the interplay between the two sites will be essential in making sure they don’t develop a mutual exclusion for one another. Pinterest will probably surpass Tumblr in UVs very soon, but Tumblr will not be made irrelevant as a result. In fact, it looks like Tumblr will be around for a long time, so they might as well get used to one another.
Ryan La Sala joins Compete as the Digital Marketing Co-op for Compete.com, sovereign of all things social media. Ryan is a current attendant of Northeastern University, dual-majoring in Cultural Anthropology and International Affairs (with minors in Biology and Psychology), with career interests in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Consumer Anthropology. Aside from acquiring aspirations with big words, Ryan’s other interests include reading cheesy fiction, writing in any capacity, singing and cooking. Find Ryan on twitter @Ryality or connect with him on LinkedIn.