For the longest time, Tumblr had no comments at all, and most Tumblr blogs still do not have any sort of comments enabled.
It is possible to use Tumblr's customizability to insert code from third-party comment systems like Disqus (my personal favorite), IntenseDebate, or LiveFyre to add commenting capability beyond that included with Tumblr's built-in options. If you are really wedded to the idea of using Tumblr, but absolutely want a full-featured comment system, these are the best option.
A hidden benefit?
I want to mention that Tumblr's lack of comments is not strictly a downside, but has some compelling hidden benefits. Tumblr makes reblogging posts easier than on nearly any other major blogging platform, and the combination of the ease of reblogging with the lack of comments means that most of the time, reblogging is used to comment on or respond to posts.
But because reblogging sends traffic, attention, and an implicit endorsement from the commenting blog, this setup tends to mean that people will leave more positive comments than negative, and that the negative comments you receive in this fashion will tend to be limited to people who like and want to support your blog or the overall theme of your post, and just have a small quibble to discuss.
I recommend trying out Tumblr with comments disabled, as I think the lack of comments is actually one of the strong suits of the site; it not only has immediate benefits, but it also shapes the culture of the site in interesting ways.
Questions? Comments? Feedback?
Very well thought out article clearly listing the uses, pros and cons of Tumblr. I found this really helpful as considering Tumblr but I did not know about it in this level of detail. Thank you.
I've made Tumblr my primary blog, if you don't count my Wordpress blog and you totally ignore my other blogs which were created for affiliate marketing purposes. :)
Excellent well-researched article. Thanks for writing it.
Thank you! I only recommend joining Tumblr if you plan on using it primarily as a social site...I think the poor domain authority makes it a poor choice if you are blogging. But creating a supplemental Tumblr account to complement or balance your other websites and social media presence may be worthwhile for some bloggers who choose a different host for their primary blog.
This way, you can not only share posts on your Tumblr (and potentially reach a new audience this way) but you can also engage with other Tumblr users by reblogging posts and adding your own commentary. I also find that sharing pictures on Tumblr attracts more attention than text posts, and you can configure the pictures to have a click-through link to a page of your choice, which can be useful as well.
I also like having a presence of Tumblr because I'm interested in connecting with the younger demographic. I don't want to become one of those older adults who is out-of-touch with the younger generation, and at 32 I'm already feeling some generational gaps, but I find Tumblr has helped me to keep up-to-date with some cultural changes better than any other sites.
This is a very useful post on Tumblr. I haven't tried it but I have to say one thing. I really found the hidden benefit of the comment feature not enabled quite interesting. If I do try it out, I will surely disable the comment feature.
I must say though that the higher downtime and the poor domain authority factor that you mention is making me wonder whether I should give it a try or not.
Thank you, I do think it is a cool site and a bit addictive. I think one of its downsides is that it can easily become a bit of a time sink.
Tumblr is undoubtedly cool and a bit addictive too :)
Interesting evaluation of tumblr, I like it for it's speed!
This is a good point...Tumblr seems to have more downtime than the other blogging platforms. This has been my experience too. So the speed comes at a cost. Other sites may be much slower, but I think they tend to be more reliable.
Thanks for bringing up this issue. I added a section on downtime; I think this is important and worth including on the page.
What a great run down of tumblr. I must say I've learned a great deal here and found your pros and cons to be very informative and helpful in terms of choosing the right blogs/social sites to meet my needs. It also helps better understand the demographics of each option to better direct niches. Well Done! I will be back to read this again, it's worth more careful review. :)K