Social Media

Is Facebook Tumbling?

Tumblr-android Could the recent surge in the popularity of Tumblr, coupled with a fall off in the use of Facebook, suggest we have another twist in social connectivity coming our way?

Tumblr has reportedly hit 400 million users a day, and its success may be due to the very thing that Facebook tries so hard to eliminate – creativity within the confines of the platform. Tumblr promotes individuality whereas Facebook wants us all to be the same.


Facebook is like going to work in an office, where everyone has his or her own little indistinct cubicle. Sure we are allowed to put our own photos up, just as long as they aren’t too risqué – we don’t want to upset anyone who may be casually passing by now do we?

Music and groups have now been pulled into check too. It must have been deemed inappropriate to give too much power to any mass of people. Or before you know it, Betty White will be on SNL, and Rage Against The Machine will have a Christmas number 1.

There is a set way to do things at Facebook, and up until this point, everyone has dutifully complied.


Then there is Tumblr. It’s like taking a lunch break from Facebook’s faceless demeanor and going for a stroll through Venice Beach. There are colors and variety galore. Pages have a certain unity but they all look different. Hmmm remember that site, you know the one, where you could copy and paste your own code and customize it to your own specifications. What was it called again? Yes that was it, Myspace.

Ever since the heady days of Myspace, musicians have looked to social networks as a key to building success. With the integration of Soundcloud and an ability to collect followers, Tumblr is certainly becoming a friendlier environment for musicians. In fact, can I be the first to mutter the phrase “We’re really big on Tumblr”? 


Perhaps social networks have become far too narcissistic for this to happen again. The majority of people are not using these platforms to discover new acts like they did in the early days of Myspace – they are using it to tell the everyone else about themselves.

Bands telling the world about their gigs, parents telling the world about their kids, hypochondriacs telling the world about their ailments, Christians telling the world about their God, Atheists telling the world about the lack of God.

When every one shouts so loud, no one ends up being heard.


With its lack of censorship and customizable options, Tumblr could certainly become a dominant force in the near future. However, it seems like social networking trends could play out like our political preferences. Ebbing and flowing from conservative to democratic, shifting as the times change and our tastes broaden and recoil.

There is after all, a distinct unity in our social behavior.

Hypebot contributer Robin Davey is an independent musician and Head of Music & Film Development at GROWvision.

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  1. I don’t really get the value of tumblr. To me, it’s just like a blogger or site, but not as “full”. I see many using it as their website, which IMO is a mistake (never give up your dot com).
    I think we are starting to see the fall of facebook, at least in the States. It’s very difficult to get your message heard thru all of the noise and filter bubbles (and peoples clique-like behavior).

  2. I don’t know that I would agree with this. Facebook’s most successful predecessor was MySpace, which specifically failed because it got too gaudy. They didn’t keep a close reign on spam or even on customizability, and all of a sudden people were going nuts with all kinds of things that caused horrible web performance, and it degraded the entire MySpace experience.
    Facebook succeeded because it distilled the most important part of why people enjoyed MySpace — real content posted by your friends — and cut out all the extras. Yes, it was a “downgrade” in terms of customizability, but what it really was was a sharp honing of the MySpace experience.
    People will continue coming to Facebook because it’s the closest thing to a universal phone book of our friends, a virtual party where we can peek in on our friends at any time of day, in an ultra-convenient and clutter-free way.
    Tumblr isn’t really a Facebook competitor. It can be used as one, but it’s more of a web site alternative. I would rather check Facebook once to keep up with 1000 friends, than check 1000 friends’ individual Tumblr sites.

  3. ” I would rather check Facebook once to keep up with 1000 friends, than check 1000 friends’ individual Tumblr sites.”
    You’re clearly not a tumblr user if you’re making a statement like that. Just like Facebook, tumblr shows you a dashboard of all the people you follow when you log in. The dashboard works just like the Facebook newsfeed. I consider myself to be an active tumblr user and I’m often surprised by how little I look at people’s atcual profile pages.

  4. With the tumblr dashboard you do see all of the people you follows updates in one place.
    If Robins hypothesis is true – that people want more variety ( and I’m not sure it is)- I would argue that twitter has more to more to be afraid of from tumblr then Facebook. Twitter and tumblr have similar functionality, but with twitter you are limited to 140 characters, while tumblr lets you write to your hearts content.
    Facebook is fundamentally a different platform. I think their biggest competition will come from a company that allows more privacy and less data gathering. I thought that might be diaspora but those guys have seem to disappeared. Google+ announced today is supposed to emphasize privacy as well. Privacy has become Facebook’s weak point, just like functionality and spam became myspace’s. It is where they can be beaten.

  5. It seems somewhat obvious to me that there will ALWAYS be a “next big thing” in social networking sites, in much the same way that no “biggest band in the world” ever held that spot forever. IMO the mistake is expecting any SN site to last forever. We’ve seen the rise/fall of MySpace, now it’s the rise/fall of Facebook, Twitter will come after that, and probably Tumblr after that. And so on.

  6. Interesting. Very interesting. Tumblr with its blog and reblog structure is like hip-hop music with its use of sampling. Personally, I have already thought about getting my own tumblr page but I just don’t have enough visual content to present for a Tumblr page to make sense.
    Facebook, however, might not be leaving anytime soon as they have got all their users personal data and real life friends lists they can exploit even when their online community service will have become obsolete. They can just as well continue licensing their database to their advertising partners.

  7. I don’t understand why we ALWAYS have to give kudos to one service by trashing another. Can’t you just say Tumblr is good period? (er .)

  8. Again Hypebot runs a guest post about how great Tumblr is…and comparing it to Facebook?
    These kinds of articles suggesting that this or that service is some kind of “next big thing” is not helping the indie musician out there. It’s just giving them some other tool to start “using” because it’s hip or whatever and in reality not “using” the service at all properly, or using it for any kind of real engagement.
    I’m now going to an artist site and see that they’re asking me to “follow them on twitter” when they don’t use Twitter for anything, and am now seeing the “follow my tumblr” as well. It’s getting retarded.

  9. I think it more a way to put things into perspective than to trash another service. Tumblr had a recent upsurge in users and Facebook had a drop. I offered a perspective on why this could be.

  10. I know we’re really powerful and influential here atHhypebot with everybody hanging on our every word (lol) but we really can’t be blamed for somebody signing up for twitter and then not posting.

  11. The other thing, Eric, is that I’ve gone to your site, I agree with where you seem to be coming from regarding advertising vs. marketing and yet I want to stay away because every time I see a comment you’re complaining about things that tend to misrepresent the post and blame the writer for things that aren’t their fault.
    Is this part of your marketing strategy?
    It’s not going so well.

  12. I feel like most folks use a multiple of platforms..and although FB maybe losing some steam, evolution will either kill or improve the service. As far as Tumblr it’s a good platform for some who want portability and don’t want a whole lot of chatter..FB has a great deal of it..I think with Tumblr you are more one on one with your fans if you want it that’s hard to do on FB..

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