Blogging burst on the web scene a decade ago which changed personal expression into an art form. For the first time, people were able to share their daily thoughts and experiences with anyone in the world who had an Internet connection. A short time later, many major news sites began adding op-ed weblogs as part of the digital experience, which gave blogging even more credibility. Some bloggers managed to build large audiences and obtain book deals through eloquent and thoughtful prose. Then Twitter was invented and the Internet landscape changed forever. Social media was born, and blogging had to adjust.
Twitter was designed as a microblogging platform, but the earliest versions were not practical for embedded media or following conversations. Software engineer David Karp immediately saw the problem and figured out a compromise between the old-school blog and the 140-character tweet. The solution was called Tumblr, and it launched in February 2007. Within two weeks, the service gained a userbase of 75,000 people.
What is Tumblr?
The Tumblr platform gave blogging a short format with more ways to interact. It allows users to easily and quickly post text, links, photos, audio and video, as well as “reblog” posts other people have made. While the service does not have a native commenting system like WordPress and Blogger, many Tumblr themes support third-party comment apps such as Disqus. Users can also simply “love” a post. All sharing and liking activity on a post is tallied as “notes”. Tumblr also allows the use of custom domains at no charge.
Tumblr’s strongest feature is the ability to blog from pretty much anywhere, including email. This has helped the service gain explosive growth as the popularity of smartphones, tablets and the mobile web spreads. The service offers slick mobile apps for both iOS and Android.
Tumblr may not differ much from Facebook in terms of posted content, but it does offer the advantage of being more open and independent of the reciprocal friendship model of Facebook. Users can follow other users just like Twitter, a concept that was also incorporated into new social media network Google Plus.
Roughly half of the platform’s userbase is under the age of 25 and features many photographers, artists, activists and television program fandoms. As of April 2013, Tumblr has garnered around 13 billion total page views, with May data indicating that nearly 76 million posts are generated every day. Tumblr posts can be shared automatically to Twitter and Facebook, making the reach very wide.
Tumblr began a new chapter on May 20, 2013, when it was acquired by Yahoo for $1.1 billion in cash. David Karp and staff will remain in place to continue the Tumblr vision. The deal alarmed many Tumblr users, some of whom jumped ship onto other platforms despite reassurances from Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer that nothing would change. The move by Yahoo is largely thought to be driven by a need for a refreshed image after several turbulent years.
Regardless, Tumblr is considered to be one of the freshest, hippest places on the web, and that is expected to continue in the years to come. What is you view about the Yahoo! acquisition of Tumblr? Share your comments and views below, remember to subscribe to my RSS feed.