#Tumblr vs. #Facebook: Ask a Teen if You Want to Know the Difference

Tumblr is certainly growing in popularity.  A recent Mashable article mentioned that according to ComScore, Tumblr scored 13.4 million unique visitors in the U.S. in July, increasing 218% from the same time last year. The “blog-meets-social-network service” is experiencing what most are calling explosive growth.   Tumblr has been on my radar for quite sometime having witnessed how our teens use it and rave about it.  However, that doesn’t mean that the younger generation is abandoning Facebook any time soon.  Now, they’re using both networks for similar yet different reasons.

I asked two teenagers (ages 16 & 17) about their passion for Tumblr and Facebook because I wanted insight into their fascination with both communities.  I thought it would help me to understand the difference from a teen’s point of view.  Here’s the interview with teens that were more than willing to offer their raw and youthful insight (unedited and uncensored content):

Q: What’s the difference between Tumblr and Facebook?

–       Tumblr is a blog and Facebook isn’t.

–       Facebook doesn’t allow you to blog.

–       Facebook is a place to connect with friends.

–       I think Tumblr is an anti-social social network.

–       Tumblr is less of a place to connect and is more an expression of myself.

Q: Which do you use more?

–       Tumblr, because it’s better than Facebook.

  • I don’t care what people think about what I say.
  • It’s easier to update your status on Facebook, but we just don’t care enough to do that all of the time.

–       On Tumblr you can say what you’re doing, but you don’t have too say what you’re doing.

  • I don’t want everyone to know what I’m doing.
  • On Tumblr, it’s more socially acceptable to not say what you’re doing.

Q: Would you stop interacting on one to spend all of your time on the other?

–       We don’t want to give up Facebook.

  • It’s necessary because it’s an easy way to find something out.
  • We get homework from classmates and we don’t have to text a best friend to see what she’s doing.

–       Facebook has a connection purpose, but Tumblr is about me!

–       On Tumblr I can relate to others more than I can on Facebook.

–       When you talk to people you don’t know on Tumblr it’s awesome, but you can’t do this on Facebook, it’s really creepy.

–       You can tell so much more about a person on Tumblr because it’s about the individual and not about connecting with other people.

Q: What do you like the most about Tumblr?

–       Personally, it gives me inspiration for the things I like…photography, art, cool images.

–       You can find a blog about anything you love.  I follow a bunch of Lady Gaga blogs … it all comes up on your dashboard and you can fill your dash with things you like.

–       On Facebook you see all the things you don’t like.

–       On Tumblr, you can catch up on the videos, memes and all the funny stuff.

–       We’re learning more on Tumblr about news, information and things about the Internet.  We found out that Osama Bin Laden was dead and all about Libya on Tumblr.

–       I even donated to a cancer cause through Tumblr.

Q: What do you like the most about Facebook?

–       You get to talk to friends, writing funny things on other people’s walls, look at friends’ photos and videos.

–       No games though…I use my phone for games or my iPod.

–       We also like to see when people are single or in a relationship (except when it’s someone you like).

–       There are a lot of people who like to have many friends, it’s not as important to us, but we know people who love the popularity of having a big network. When I had over 1,000 friends, I started to delete them.

–       I like the hide functionality on Facebook because I can hide people and they don’t know it.

–       I play around with the privacy settings so that some people can see certain things and others can’t.

Q: What is missing from either one of these networks (if you could sit in a room and tell Mark Zuckerberg or David Karp to add features, what would those features be)?

–       No changes right now to either network.

–       Both places are perfect for what they provide.

–       I may not ask them to change anything, but if I could sit in a room with David Karp, then I might just ask for him for a hug.

–       I might ask to visit Mark Zuckerberg’s new house 🙂

Q: Do you think you will stay on Tumblr and Facebook or if something better comes along you will jump ship?

–       I wouldn’t leave Tumblr … but I might leave Facebook.

–       We left MySpace, which was a crappy combination of both Facebook and Tumblr.

–       Now we just like that Tumblr and Facebook are two individual and separate networks that both make a lot of sense for us.

There you have it…the feelings of teens about their likes and dislikes when it comes to engagement preferences (or lack thereof).  The strongest opinion comes down to expression and individuality, and not necessarily connections. It should be interesting to see how Tumblr and Facebook continue to grow and what these communities offer to the teens that have very strong convictions about why they participate on two very different networks.