Tumblr vs. Medium: Comparing Popular Blogging Platforms

A look at two of the web's fastest growing services for running a blog

Blogging platforms such as Blogger and WordPress have been big on the web for years. Although, two have been moving in on their territory: Tumblr.com and Medium.com. While both are used for similar purposes, these platforms are different when you compare their best qualities and details. We reviewed both to help you discover which has the features you want most.

Tumblr vs Medium

Overall Findings

Tumblr
  • Highly visual blogging platform.

  • Share individual photos, groups of photos, animated GIFs, and videos.

  • Users love to reblog posts from others.

Medium
  • Recognized as a high-quality publishing platform.

  • Users can't reblog posts from others.

  • Users can press a heart icon to recommend content.

You may have heard that Tumblr is big with teenagers, and Medium is used by people who work in the tech and media industries. That may be partially true, but if anything else is for certain, it's that these two blogging platforms are among the trendiest and fastest growing social web publishing sites.

Text posts are popular on Tumblr, but the visual content rocks this platform. Some posts can rack up hundreds of thousands of reblogs, along with multiple conversational captions left by users.

Some of the most talented writers use Medium to craft everything from detailed, long-form research pieces to short, personal stories. Medium has close ties with Twitter, so lots of bloggers share their posts there as well.

Design: Custom or Minimalist

Tumblr
  • Customize the appearance with themes.

  • Install unique skins.

  • Use coding for more customization.

Medium
  • Clean, minimal appearance.

  • Few customizable features.

  • No themes.

There are thousands of themes available that can make your blog look like a professional website, complete with sidebars, social buttons, pages, comments, and more. If you have coding skills, you can play around with it to customize it further.

Unlike Tumblr, you can't install a new theme with sidebars, music, and menus to change its look. Instead, Medium's blog design looks similar to Twitter. A profile photo, a cover photo, and a brief bio description are displayed on your blog, and that's it.

Blogging: Multimedia Abounds

Tumblr
  • Known for different multimedia post types.

  • Queue drafts for later.

  • Text formatting features.

Medium
  • User-friendly.

  • Intuitive formatting.

  • Automatic saving.

You can make a post that features text, photos, links, chat dialogues, audio files, or video on Tumblr. The platform also has Medium-like formatting features, which you can access by pressing the plus (+) sign when you're writing a post, or by highlighting any text. You can save draft posts and set posts up in a queue to be posted over a selected period of time.

Medium is known for its easy and intuitive formatting features. Select the plus sign (+) when creating a new post to add photos, videos, links, or to break up paragraphs. Highlight any text to set a heading style or paragraph, add a quote, set the alignment, or add a link. Drafts are automatically saved, and you can click to share it as a draft if you want inputs or edits from someone before publishing it.

Community: It's Nice to Share

Tumblr
  • Impressive user dashboard.

  • Follow other blogs.

  • Easy to reblog.

Medium
  • Recommend posts.

  • Leave notes and comments.

  • View followed people in your feed.

Tumblr's user dashboard is where the magic all happens. When you follow other blogs, you can scroll to your heart's content and do all your liking, reblogging, and replying to posts from the dash. Notes, which represent the likes and reblogs a post gets, can reach hundreds of thousands when a post is passed around and reaches enough users. You can also privately message users as yourself or anonymously, and submit posts to other blogs for featuring if those blogs enable that option.

You can't reblog Medium posts, but you can recommend posts. These posts show up on your profile and in the home feeds of people who follow you. When you hover your mouse over a paragraph, a small plus sign (+) button appears to the right, which you can press to leave a note or comment. Once it's left there, it appears as a numbered button to click and expand. Other users or the author may respond to it.

Mobile: Interactive App

Tumblr
  • Mobile-friendly.

  • Powerful app.

  • Post and interact.

Medium
  • Personalized feed.

  • No ads.

  • Compose on the go.

Tumblr has a powerful blogging app. Most of Tumblr's activity comes from mobile devices, including posting and interacting. It's like the Twitter app, but with more visual content and posting features. You can do everything on the Tumblr mobile app that you can on the web version.

With Medium's app, you can view your home feed, top stories, and bookmarks. Create posts from the mobile app or interact by following users, recommending posts, and sharing them.

Final Verdict

Both are great blog platforms, but others might suit your purposes better. Some of the best articles to read have been from authors who publish their work on Medium. Tumblr is the winner for discovering the best visual content while Medium wins for the best-written content.