Microblogging is like blogging, only with smaller bits of text. That might seem oversimplified, but it’s the backbone of Tumblr’s functionality. This site is a hybrid social media and blogging platform. Users can post “tumbleblogs”, which are basically short blog posts.
Tumblr was founded in 2007 by David Karp’s software company Davidville. He had long been interested in tumbleblogs, which had been widespread for a while, but was waiting to see if someone would create a site that specifically promoted and targeted this online form of expression. When he didn’t see anything, he decided to do it himself. Tumblr is a play on the tumbleblog name.
Within two weeks of its launch, Tumblr had reached over seventy-five thousand users.
A major appeal of Tumblr from the beginning has been its lack of limitations. Rules on the types of content that are created and the forms used are nowhere near as stringent as those that exist on other platforms.
The content range of Tumblr defies definition, that’s how wide and varied it is. Even Tumblr admits that the site is easy to access and use, but that it’s hard to explain what it is. That’s in large part because the site is home to subcultures, fan groups, businesses, artists, and individuals. Much of the content uploaded is in the form of music or videos, .gif files or text files.
Users can make their blogs private if they so choose, or limit the people who can see them.
The dashboard area of Tumblr is the access and manipulation point for users, who can change settings and monitor content behind the scenes. HTML editing is possible with Tumblr, giving a wider freedom of expression than other social media platforms allow. Tumblr relies heavily on tagging as a means to connect content from disparate users.
The lack of rules on the platform got Tumblr embroiled in a series of controversies after adult content proliferated on the site. In 2013, a Techcrunch investigation pegged the amount of adult content on Tumblr at twenty-two percent. After a series of changes, Tumblr banned any depictions of sex acts on its site in 2018. This decision prompted a serious backlash, however Tumblr stood by the change.
The flexibility of the platform is part of its appeal for eCommerce businesses. It allows companies to strongly emphasize their brand and enhance the details of their designs. Content on Tumblr is shared just as easily as it is on other social media platforms. Business pages are easily followed by Tumblr users, and content can be readily shared to other social media platforms.
Tumblr pages are readily linked to eCommerce payment platforms. Store pages are created to help promote content on the site. Theming is an important aspect of Tumblr’s success for businesses, and these can be either created from scratch or purchased.
The eCommerce section of Tumblr has been particularly embraced by small and medium-sized businesses as an alternative to reach a wider market.
Tumblr makes its revenue via paid advertisements on the site.
Expansion and Contraction
Tumblr was acquired by Yahoo in 2013 for one point one billion dollars. In 2019, it was announced that Tumblr would be sold to Automattic, the owner, and publisher of blogging giant WordPress.
The company has less than five hundred employees. After years of expansion, Tumblr’s number of active users have fallen in recent years to four hundred million.