Twitter’s @ reply system and Tumblrers’ post-quoting both strike me as clumsy user conventions created in response to the absence of a built-in commenting system.  On one hand it’s kind of cool to see these kind of things springing up naturally as people try to adapt the services to meet their needs, but on the other hand they’re pretty crappy solutions and I still don’t understand why these things weren’t just built into the services to begin with, unless they were intentionally excluded, in which case these workarounds are crappy solutions that actually sort of break what the services are supposed to be.  On the third hand, is that a bad thing?  Lots of good stuff comes about as a result of working around limitations.

From what I understand, the point of Tumblr’s system was to discourage the current “comment” behavior, which is to pollute content with pointless chatter. If you “reblog” and add your own content, quoting the relevant part of the post, the idea is that the content you add is of the same level of value as the original post and therefore is as worthy of being its own post in a blog as the content you’re linking to and quoting.

Of course, over time Tumblr has come to host a huge social network of teenagers and illiterate socialites who use the reblogging feature to create gigantic pyramids of single-line all-caps regurgitated catchphrases that have somehow found their way out of the bowels of 4chan and into the hands of tweens and hipsters, but there’s no accounting for taste.

(Twitter’s design was just a total lack of foresight and a sign that we’re all doomed to jumping ship to a better service in the span of a couple years.)

So I don’t know what I think about any of this, and this post is pretty much pointless.