I’ve never used Tumblr, but I still acknowledge its importance. In the circles that I find myself in nowadays, it was a site for folks to be able to express themselves in a way that most centralized social media didn’t. I could be wrong here when thinking about it, but I’m coming at this as a square. Someone who, at one point, was afraid to shake up the system to fit in. Tumblr seemed like a place that felt foreign, but somewhat like home. A place where I could be someone…different than I was at the time.
Unfortunately, corporate interests took hold. I don’t think it was necessarily Tumblr’s fault as it needed money to do the things it wanted to do. However, going through Yahoo, then Verizon, and now at Automattic, there were some easily identifiable and some intangible things that got left behind during those shake-ups.
Once it got to Automattic, while the main stay was still there, even to me, someone who learned about himself during those changing of hands, didn’t recognize Tumblr. And I believe that’s why it’s having a bit of trouble now.
What’s happening with Tumblr?
An internal memo from Automattic has been circulating through social media. It states that Tumblr has “not gotten the expected results from our effort.” Automattic just wasn’t able to do what they wanted to with the site. Their were talks of a TikTok-like feed. There were even talks of bringing Tumblr to the Fediverse.
Automattic made the choice to pair down Tumblr to just a skeleton crew of moderation and support folks. Everyone else was moved over to other Automattic teams. Of all the stories like this I’ve written, this was by far the best because of that last sentence. Automattic could have let them go, but it didn’t. That’s admirable given what’s going on elsewhere.
I can only hope it sticks around.
Maybe there was something I could have done.
Maybe it isn’t too late.