Tumblr Vs. Medium: Comparing Popular Blogging Platforms

A Look at Two of the Web's Fastest Growing Services for Running a Blog

Tumblr vs. Medium
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Blogging platforms like Blogger and WordPress have been big on the web for years now, and at least two slightly newer ones have been moving in on their territory: Tumblr.com and Medium.com.

You may have heard that Tumblr is big with teenagers and Medium is used a lot 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 today.

While both are used for similar purposes, they're both quite different when you get down to comparing some of their best qualities and details. Check out some of the following comparisons of the major qualities people usually look for in a great blogging platform.

How People Are Using It

Tumblr: A highly visual blogging platform. People use it to share individual photos, groups of photos, animated GIFs, and videos. Text posts are popular too, but the visual content is what rocks this platform. Users love to reblog posts from other users, often adding their own notes in the captions. Some posts can rack up hundreds of thousands of reblogs, along with multiple conversational captions left by users.

Medium: Recognized as a high-quality publishing platform. Some of the most talented writers use it to craft everything from the most detailed, long-form research pieces to short, personal stories. Medium users can't "reblog" posts from others like they can on Tumblr, but they can press a heart icon to recommend it.

Medium has close ties with Twitter, so lots of bloggers share their posts there as well.

Do you want to blog more with visual content like photos, videos, and GIFs? If yes, Tumblr might be the best option for you.

Do you want to blog more with written content? If yes, Medium might be the best option for you.

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Design Features

Tumblr: You can design your blog's look by using one of Tumblr's many free or premium themes, and customize it to your liking. If you have coding skills, you can even play around with it to customize it further. There are thousands of themes available out there, all which can make your blog look like a professional website, complete with sidebars, social buttons, pages, comments and more.

Medium: Medium maintains a very clean, minimal look with a lot less customizable features. Unlike Tumblr, you can't install a new theme with sidebars and music and menus to change its entire look. Instead, Medium's blog design looks a lot like Twitter. You get a profile photo, a cover photo and a brief bio description to be displayed on your blog, and that's it.

Do you want lots of design customization options and the ability to install a unique theme skin? If you do, then go with Tumblr.

Do you care less about design and more about a nice, clean place to feature your blog posts? If you do, then go with Medium. 

Blogging Features

Tumblr: Known for its different multimedia post types. You can make a post specifically featuring text, photos, links, chat dialogues, audio files or video.

Tumblr also recently introduced 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 them up in your queue to be posted over a selected period of time.

Medium: Known for its easy and intuitive formatting features, (which Tumblr recently copied). Click 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.

Do you want lots of cool blogging features? If you do, then it's pretty much a tie between Tumblr and Medium! The only major difference here is that Tumblr has specific post formats depending on what type of media content you're sharing, as well as the ability to queue up your posts.

Community Features

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

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

Do you want your blog posts "reblogged" meaning re-posted on other users' blogs to get more exposure and followers? If you do, then choose Tumblr.

Would you rather not have multiple copies of your posts all over other people's blogs and instead rely on recommendations that show up in user home feeds? If you do, then choose Medium.

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Mobile App Features

Tumblr: By far the most powerful blogging app out there today. A huge chunk of Tumblr activity comes from mobile devices, including posting and interacting. It's a lot like the Twitter app, but with more visual stuff and posting features. You can do absolutely everything on Tumblr's mobile app as you can on the web version -- minus the recently introduced post formatting features. 

Medium: Meant for browsing only. That could change in the future. You can view your home feed, top stories, and your bookmarks. There is no functionality to create a post from the mobile app at the moment, but you can still interact by following users, recommending posts and sharing them. Medium's mobile app is also only available for iOS devices for the time being.

Do you want to be able to upload and post and do everything via a mobile device? If yes, then Tumblr is what you need.

Do you want to use a mobile app simply for browsing and recommending other users' content? If yes, then you could go with Medium.

My Take on Tumblr vs. Medium as Blogging Platforms

I think both are great blog platforms, but I lean more toward Tumblr mainly because I'm a sucker for visual content and I absolutely love to use it on mobile. Tumblr is where I go to reblog tons of silly photos and animated GIFs just for fun.

On the other hand, when I'm looking for a great read, I often turn to Medium. Some of the best articles I've read have been from authors who publish their work on Medium.

I will continue to use both for these reasons. In my opinion, Tumblr is the big winner for discovering the best visual content while Medium wins for the best written content.

Next recommended reading: Check out these other free and popular blogging platforms