By Daniel Metz
Tumblr's huge, but it's not perfect. You see things in a column, one image at a time. You can follow your peers, but that means getting an update with every single thing they post. While it means you have a never ending stream of images, you're not going to love all of them. As you scroll through what's essentially pages upon pages of images, you're missing out on that particularly awesome one. That one's hidden somewhere on what would be page 26.
It's not as big (yet), but there's definitely a challenger who's brought with it improvement. Meet Pinterest. You've probably heard the name thrown about. While it's not a perfect analogy to Tumblr, it's probably worth trying out. From the start, Pinterest has two obvious differences. One: the site's layout is one large grid. You can see as many images as your screen will fit. Two: you can subscribe to individual "boards" that a user may have. Instead of following every image that they share, you can choose to see maybe only their photography board, or their funny board, or their memorable quotes board. Boards are similar to what tags are to Tumblr except they function more cleanly and their function extends beyond just the search bar.
Beyond what you'll notice about the surface immediately is that when you "pin" something, it tracks the source link. If a picture was from an artist's portfolio, he or she will get credit. If it was part of an article or story, someone can click onto the picture and be taken directly there. If your art trends on Tumblr, that's cool; people will see that piece of art. If your art trends on Pinterest, people are actually going to to see not only that one work but they might then see the rest of your site or the story you wrote; people will see you.
From a number of angles, Pinterest looks like it will only keep growing. As it grows, it won't be surprising if it becomes what might be essentially a crowd-sourced inspiration board and artwork showcase. Pinterest isn't likely to replace Tumblr altogether, even if its influence continues to expand. The way I see it, the advent of Pinterest may simply refine Tumblr. What is now a source for the sharing of art and inspiration alongside emotional venting and thought progression might see it that Pinterest represents a melting pot for the the former. To the latter, to the sharing of one's mind, heart, and soul, Tumblr still reigns supreme.