The recent acquisition of the blogging platform Tumblr by Yahoo has caused droves of users to import their blogs to WordPress. WordPress co-founder Matt Mullweg reported that over 72,000 blogs were imported to WordPress in an hour, over a hundred times more than the normal amount during that same timeframe.
Tumblr users, the majority of which are young college students, are afraid that Yahoo will ruin the “anything goes” nature of the unique blogging site. Their worries may be justified: since the turnover, Tumblr has introduced sponsored posts that show up in users’ newsfeeds. The newsfeed of the past only showed new posts from other bloggers that Tumblr users were following; now, users will see up to four advertising posts a day.
A few other Tumblr features have already changed, with more on the way. In May, the location of the “share” “reblog” and “heart” buttons moved from the top of posts to the bottom. Tumblr was infamous for allowing pornographic content on the site (known as “NSFW,” or “Not Safe For Work), but now Yahoo has attempted to crack down on explicit content by no longer allowing porn hashtags. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has announced other future changes, such as adding Yahoo’s search functionality to Tumblr.
The Current Fanbase
Others aren’t worried about Tumblr’s exodus. Tumblr users are known for being melodramatic and resistant to even the smallest adjustments. When the popular picture sharing social network Instagram was bought by Facebook, users also loudly proclaimed their dissatisfaction, but Instagram has grown by 70 million users. Tumblr offers something WordPress doesn’t have: a unique, laid back culture for younger audiences looking for less of a professional blog, and more of a place to haphazardly dump thoughts, feelings, and interests. Tumblr allows for much more social interaction; WordPress users are more solitary. Tumblr is heavily invested in visual culture, whereas WordPress relies mostly on written content.
Will Tumblr Die?
Businesses currently using Tumblr as a way of marketing to social media users should not worry about the blogging platform going the way of Myspace. Despite some outcry over the transition, Tumblr’s hipsters and teenagers still earn the site 30 million unique visitors each month. Tumblr pictures are shared on Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media sites. Many users maintain a personal, fun blog on Tumblr while also cultivating content in other locations. Yahoo may be able to shake off a few fans of Tumblr, but their new purchase will retain a strong user base.
Burns, Matt. “Tumblr’s Loss Is WordPress’ Gain As Thousands Of Users Jump Ship Before Yahoo Takes Over.” http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/20/tumblrs-loss-is-wordpress-gain-as-thousands-of-users-jump-ship-before-yahoo-takes-over/. (15 August 2013).
Lunden, Ingrid. “Yahoo: Expect Ads On Tumblr To Ramp Up Significantly In 2014.” http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/20/yahoo-expect-ads-on-tumblr-to-ramp-up-significantly-in-2014/. (15 August 2013).
Kafka, Peter. “How Many Users Does Tumblr Really Have?” http://allthingsd.com/20130521/how-many-users-does-tumblr-really-have/. (15 August 2013).
Luckerson, Victor. “A Year Later, Instagram Hasn’t Made a Dime. Was it Worth $1 Billion?” http://business.time.com/2013/04/09/a-year-later-instagram-hasnt-made-a-dime-was-it-worth-1-billion/. (15 August 2013).