You may have noticed that the domain of this site has moved twice. Originally, it was at blech.tumblr.com, then tumblr.husk.org. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, as I was looking at Tom’s site, where he integrated a Tumblr-based log (and then made it a part of his homebrew, and rather nice, CMS) that the name stuck out. Unlike “words”, “links” and “photos”, “tumblog” was not a noun for a single object, but instead a (rather ugly) neologism.
I suggested a better name for them would be “notes”, and after he’d changed his site, I decided to move my domain again, to the current notes.husk.org. It feels a lot better, being more descriptive, and not including a particular provider’s name (which is handy if I ever get around to doing anything with it, not that that’s likely).
A couple of days after that, I got around to reading a post by Warren Ellis to Bad Signal:
Siege, at http://claytoncubitt.tumblr.com, uses a tumblelog as a working notebook. It’s not just a dumping ground for his links — as a photographer, he stuffs it with test images, reference work, scans, video, pieces of text with meaning to him and jotted thoughts. It’s an interesting approach for a blog — an online notebook. You could almost consider it a backchannel or shoebox to an actual blog.
It’s not a particularly startling observation that people use this sort of blog as a background to their “real” ones - there’s something frictionless about Tumblr that seems to help - but the fact that Ellis also stumbled on the sense of note-taking is interesting. Maybe I was on to something, for once.