Tumblr (stylized as tumblr and pronounced “tumbler”) is an American microblogging and social networking website founded by David Karp in 2007 and currently owned by Automattic. The service allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. Users can follow other users’ blogs. Bloggers can also make their blogs private. For bloggers many of the website’s features are accessed from a “dashboard” interface.
Read below (a part of) the interview with Tumblr CEO Jeff D’Onofrio that took place at Web Summit 2020:
What is it about Tumblr that you think makes it a bit different from some of the other social media platforms out there right now? I feel like I get a different experience, whether I’m on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok. What’s the secret sauce in Tumblr’s world?
Yeah, the secret sauce, I think really goes back to something I just called founding principles. Right.
And this canvas that that Tumblr is this wide open, creative canvas that gives people the ability to customize their blog. It gives them the ability to stretch the creative canvas with any kind of digital media, set it up, set up their posts exactly the way they want with text interspersed in between video and photos and GIFs, whatever it is. And it’s really customizable. The other thing that I think is different here you see a lot of beautiful artwork and creative folks and artists showing up here, showing off some of their best work. The other thing that I think is really interesting here is that oftentimes people are anonymous and they let their thoughts, their ideas, their art, their passions speak for them. And it really gives a more genuine kind of flavor for what people are really thinking and feeling and subcultures from all over the world are represented in. And I think that combination of creativity and anonymity really makes it tick. So it’s not like a heavy algorithmic kind of feeling here. It’s not a, you know, news heavy site where people are kind of the doom scrolling that happens in some other places. This is a little bit more open and positive kind of feeling to it, and it’s always been that way.
Now, let’s talk about the Tumblr community. Are you able to give me a sense of how many people use it monthly or what engagement is like? Who is the typical Tumblr user and where are they located?
So we have about one hundred fifty million monthly users on Tumblr located all across the world. It’s a worldwide platform and typically it’s a younger audience. So about forty eight percent of our audience active audience is Gen Z. About 60 percent of our new registrations are Gen Z. And culturally representing all different kinds of cultures and backgrounds, very creative, very artistic. Again, leveraging that creative canvas to show off their work.
The company was sold to WordPress last year. Can you talk to us a bit about what has changed under that new ownership?
Yes, a WordPress is part of Automattic. Matt Mullenweg is the founder. And it’s been really a fantastic fit for us, really feels like home. We’ve been able to get some investment to rebuild some of our revenue, our advertising revenue. We’ve hired a great brand partnerships team and a new chief revenue officer. And Cavel Khan joined us from Vice and was at Twitter prior to that. So we’re building a really great revenue engine and team around it.
And with Automattic we’ve had the opportunity to do that and really revitalize our business. So we’re excited about that. We’ve we have more investment and things like trust and safety that I mentioned before, engineers around content safety and those types of things. And Matt and team have just been incredibly supportive. And it’s been fantastic for us.
Ssocial media is a very complex, nuanced thing. It’s changed our world for the better, as some might say. It’s added some negative aspects. What do you think the legacy of social media and also in particular Tumblr will be when we look back on twenty twenty in this strange moment we’re all living in?
Yeah, that’s a really great question. And I think, you know, we’re living in a world where there is division and political discourse has broken down and all those sorts of things. And I sort of look at Tumblr as a respite from that. In a place where you can come and share your thoughts and your ideas and your art and create and put it in front of an audience that wants to be here to see that stuff. So you can create your experience here to the point where you know that stuff is non-existent. You can create a dashboard here and follow blogs that are just absolutely mind blowing and amazing. And as I said before, subcultures from all over the world and feel like you’re part of a global community, something bigger, something more meaningful. And we see a lot of people doing that and coming here and saying, you know what, enough of all the negativity. I want a positive experience where I feel like I’m home and I’m not bombarded with this stuff. And that’s really a tribute to not only how David Karp set this thing up, you know, years ago, but the community of people that come here and come here for a reason. And we’re really proud of that.
Source: Wikipedia & “Has social media found its soul?” (WebSummit, Dec 2, 2020) with Jeff D’Onofrio (CEO at Tumblr) being interviewed by Alyssa Newcomb (Freelance Reporter at NBC News & Fortune). Image credit joshwept on Wunderstock (license).