1. Tumblarity. Verdict: Cynical.
… cui bono? …
[added therefrom:] It’s about how frequently you post. In other words, it’s about how much value you are adding to the network as a whole. … That alone is probably enough to get a certain sort of person competing and a cynic might say that’s all Tumblr is trying to do.
Indeed. But in any case, it’s clear that there is a positive component to this: it creates a recursive information loop on the relationality of the system. This, indeed, inclines the system to something more than eavesdropping and poking (Facebook) or … whatever it is Twitter does. I think that ethics, with a capital E, is about relationality, so I approve, or am at least intrigued, on that score.
What’s really got me is the ranking, and it can’t not be gamed because by their nature social networks are a process of gaming. For example, a ton of really popular tumblrs are almost entirely image-based, and post a ton of pictures, many of them quite excellent. Take this tumblr I stumbled upon and started following yesterday: http://tumbltat.tumblr.com/. Today, I unfollowed it for a simple reason: it swamped my dashboard, and that’s not what I’m doing here (mostly). And, it’s only about ten pics a day.
This embodies what I shall deem, ahem, the Tumblarity-Relationality Paradox, wherein the index of Tumblarity is inversely proportional to the relational richness of each connection. Prediction: this hiearchy will begin stratifying the connections for some, but not for those who ignore it. Two distinct tumbl-forms shall emerge. One of mega Tumblarity, idle browsing on the whimsical thoughts of others, and the other of, well, mostly like the people I follow, node-tumblng (tumblarity: somewhere between 10 and 40, I’d imagine, a sustainable community, which could shrink or grow a little and still continue nonetheless).
All that being said: whad Tumblr does need to have some sort of following-folders or second-level following, so that you can essentially turn most of what you follow off, or relegate to your other tumblrs, etc (which is how my culinarius.tumblr.com and stereotaxis.tumblr.com came into being; then I emailed the tumblr-people and they said ‘Sorryno’). Instead, I’ve opened a totally separate account (onlyfollowing.tumblr.com) where I’ve tried to do just that, but which is really failing because it is a different account, and a different dashboard.