31 May 2009

Microblogging: Tumblr vs. Posterous

Microblogging is defined by Wikipedia as:
Micro-blogging is a form of multimedia blogging that allows users to send brief text updates or micromedia such as photos or audio clips and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user. These messages can be submitted by a variety of means, including text messaging, instant messaging, email, digital audio or the web.

The content of a micro-blog differs from a traditional blog in that it is typically smaller in actual size and aggregate file size. A single entry could consist of a single sentence or fragment or an image or a brief, ten second video. But, still, its purpose is similar to that of a traditional blog. Users micro-blog about particular topics that can range from the simple, such as "what one is doing at a given moment," to the thematic, such as "sports cars," to business topics, such as particular products. Many micro-blogs provide short commentary on a person-to-person level, share news about a company's products and services, or provide logs of the events of one's life.
The two most prominent systems in this field maybe are Tumblr and Posterous. I have tried both systems and each have their own advantages and disadvantages.


Update: Custom themes already comes to Posterous. More details in here.

Tumblr definitely wins in this aspect. You can install pre-made themes and templates into your tumblr blog or you can make your own. Moreover, you can add scripts just like google adsense, mybloglog, google analytics into your tumblr blog.

This is the main limitations with posterous. I once noted that this is one feature they were supposed to offer in the future, but revisiting their FAQ--it's not there anymore (their plan to offer the ability to change your theme).

Favicon-wise, you can change in at your tumblr blog but not in posterous. You always have to deal with that regular posterous icon as your favicon.

Think about it, your blog at posterous looks like any other blog around hosted by posterous as well. How do you like that?

Commenting System

Currently, tumblr does not have a built-in commenting system, while posterous have one. I can't speak about the effectiveness of the anti-spam of the latter as I don't really have a popular blog in there that can be able to solicit a lot of spams.

However, you can always install Disqus into your Tumblr blog and instantly you have a working commenting system. It has also been tested against spam as many popular blogs are utilizing the same in their popular blogs.

Ease of Posting

Both services offer posting by email. (Unfortunately, both also don't know how to insert line breaks, if there are any in my original email, to post to my blog). But Posterous handles photos better especially when you have attached more than one photo. It auto arranges them into a gallery-like post that really look nice.

Both services also have a bookmarklet, but I liked Tumblr's even better. It's quicker and more responsive. It allows you to classify your post on the fly as to whether it's a video, photo, audio, text, quote or link.

Custom Domains

Both offer custom domains. However, I believe Tumblr handles redirection very well than Posterous. If you have a top level domain name (e.g., domain.com), any request for www.domain.com are duly redirected to domain.com in tumblr, while in Posterous your blog is accessible at both www.domain.com and domain.com. This makes it anti-SEO as Google and other search engines think you have duplicate contents both at your main domain at domain.com and at a subdomain www.domain.com.

Storage Space

Posterous explicitly states in the FAQ that you are limited to 1GB of upload space for all types of media files (including documents). In Tumblr there's no such provision. You decide.

Facebook Integration

Both have an available third party app (I don't know with posterous maybe it's not 3rd party) that can enable you to autopost your blog posts to facebook.


I can't think of anything anymore. But I'll update this post once I encounter any other differences (or even similarities) worth mentioning. If you know of one, please feel free to post your comment below.


Hands down, my vote goes to Tumblr. The most selling point for me is the customizability and the custom domains feature.

Check out my tumblr blog here.

What about you, which microblogging platform do you prefer (aside of course for twitter, as twitter is definitely not in the same league as these two, much less is wordpress)?

Update: I discussed more about domain mapping here.


  1. Hi guys,
    I think I found a way to add ads in posterous. Just spreading the word in the posts I find on google. ;)


    Please, check it out and give suggestions if you have any!

  2. 1. we have customization coming, and it's rad!
    2. You can't really say both system can post by email. In a single email you can send us 15 images, an mp3, and a video file. We'll handle everything. there are no limits
    3. You can classify posts in the tumblr bookmarklet? Why do you need to classify anything? That whole idea seems unnecessary to us. Just post "stuff" we can't care what it is
    4. We set a 1gb space limit to stop abuse. If you need more, we give it to you. With Tumblr you can only upload 1 image per post. You can only upload 1 mp3 per day. Gee, I wonder which is more limiting...
    5. We autopost to twitter, facebook, flickr, and most blogs out there. And more are coming soon

    Oh, we also do group site very well. Private sites. And we're in all the major twitter clients out there. And more....

    I'm hoping we can get you to switch to posterous once we have customization out. :)

  3. Thanks Alexandre. But then, this is just one of the factors I have

  4. Great read thanks for the article. I use posterous and tumblr and just blog to both of them since I can't decide which is better. In the end tho I'm really liking Tumblr cause I can log in and reblog content from my thousands of people I follow. They share VERY entertaining stuff. Posterous doesn't seem to even have that going on at all. But, as long as I can put Google Adsense on them both and perhaps customize the HTML template a lil they are both fine with me. And using DISQUS for comments (just like here) works more than well enough. Simplify your life and sign up for Pixelpipe.com ya'll! I study this stuff I'm working to be a master and legendary blogger lol I hope on my tombstone they write "typed his fingers raw"

  5. Thanks for this comment.

    As I mentioned in the post, I guess the selling point to me here is the customization feature. And until that feature is available in posterous, I have to stick with tumblr. I'm not sure yet the extent of customization that will be available in posterous, whether it'll allow me to display my own ads.

    Anyway, for sure I'm still keeping my posterous account (deuts.posterous.com) to watch out for the coming features. But mind you, innovations are as well introduced in Tumblr, not only in Posterous.

    It's really a good way that there are competitions. After all, the users benefit.

    Thanks to both services! :D

  6. Posterous is really great. Clean, simple, fast.

  7. well it's really a matter of choice. And I choose Tumblr. :D

  8. I currently use both Posterous and Tumblr.
    I use Posterous more often do to its ease and some advantage.
    However, I ended up here at your blog through a google search comparing both.

    I asked early in mid 2008 that tags be implemented in posterous and it was done not too longs after I guess there was a general request. I have noticed that since last year Posterous has been saying that themes were coming... and coming....

    So with that, I think I am moving back towards Tumblr which has far better visuals.
    It really sucks that there is nothing setting my blog apart from anyone else's... they all look like cookie-cutter pages.

    Frankly another small issue that bothered me is the featured Posterous blogs page. They always contain the highest subscribed and posted blogs and (no surprise at all) all of the owners/developers. It's like the 'in' crowd always there, with no variety. Why not have a quick script to randomize other posterous blogs?

  9. Yeah, I think the ability to create your own custom themes is the driving
    force to love one service from another (of course, on top of "custom
    domains"). They have promised custom domains a long time ago already, and
    yet until now it's not yet there. I was thinking maybe they were just too
    busy developing app for the iphone. Almost all I could see from their
    updates are related to iPhones.

    For crying out loud, not everybody owns an iPhone, and not everybody wants
    an iPhone! And I guess I'm speaking on behalf of majority of phone owners.

  10. I use Posterous to post everywhere. I don't use my Posterous page as my main blog, but it's really good if I want to post the same content to several blogs, including Tumblr.

    I think you should really not compare Tumblr with Posterous. Tumblr is for good content. Posterous functions more like Friendfeed.

  11. I guess, they are both described as microblogging platforms. To each his own

  12. That was noted. I updated the post in order to emphasize the recent change in Posterous' custom themes.

  13. one vote for Tumblr... for it's Disqus compatibility feature :P

  14. Tumblr's reblog, love, note... i don't really get it.
    I just prefer traditional commenting system.

  15. That's a good point as well. I guess I would rather prefer Disqus over the
    built-in commenting system by Posterous.