A painting of me

On Tumblr and my iPhone Blog Redesign

   9 March 2010, early morning

I have been running I’ll iPhone You for quite a while now. The site has always been a bit of an afterthought. Even if you were interested in iPhones and smartphones and all that junk, I don’t think it was a particularly interesting a place to visit. The site had no personality.

Tumblr makes it very easy to set up a site. The sorts of sites that it is best suited for are those that are about consuming and sharing content, not producing it. I suppose this is the very nature of the tumblelog. The tumblr ecosystem is all about liking posts and reblogging. There are a few sites making content, and that content gets dispersed throughout the network. What makes tumblr so compelling can also make it so boring. There are plenty of good tumblelogs on Tumblr, but my site wasn’t one of them.

I see two problems with the site as it existed. First, it used a theme someone else made. Second, it was almost completely devoid of anything I had to say. There is nothing wrong with using themes, but I prefer sites that look unique, or at least make some attempt to try and stand out. I hadn’t edited the theme for my site at all. There were probably thousands of sites on tumblr exactly like mine. Because I hadn’t spent any time at all working on the site, I also didn’t feel compelled to post anything of substance there. The site was supposed to be my iPhone blog, but It was really nothing more than a link dump. Most of the text on the site came from the titles of the articles I linked to. I’m not an iPhone, so it’s not like linking to lots of stories about iPhones gives you any insight to who I am or what I like (besides iPhones). There was really nothing about the site that made it my own.

I’m not entirely sure why I decided to redo the blog. I suppose I have had a lot more free time these past few weeks. I added a little header to the site yesterday, and I think that will be that. I used the CSS from 1kbgrid as the basis for my own sass script, which I used to generate the layout grid CSS for this site and my new photography site. Otherwise it’s a pretty simple and plain redesign. I’ve definitely been posting more since making the change, in part because I’d feel like i’m wasting my new theme if I didn’t. Whether it’s actually a better site remains to be seen. I think it certainly looks better, anyway.



  1. Came across this today (via tumblr). Thought it might be of interest.

    “With blogs, everyone became a critic. With Tumblr, everyone’s a curator.”

  2. I’m of two minds. One, curation is a valuable thing and assuming the collection of links is good, then the site is good. I think your iPhone blog is better than some of the big money iPhone sites out there. You post good stuff, and not too much stuff. The other sites are stuffed with crap esp. shitty press releases.

    Two, it is valuable to hear an actual human’s point of view, and I think I like the new site even more now that you’re posting some thoughts along with the links.

    The thing is, don’t hold off posting a good link because you think you need to come up with a few paragraphs of commentary and you don’t have the time. I think that’s how a lot of good bloggers got sucked into permanent exile in twitterland.

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