If Yahoo buys Tumblr...
… okay. I mean, I guess that would be fine.
I guess change is inevitable. It happens fast on the Internet. The blogs I first followed on Tumblr are by and large gone. Or less active. In some way, I feel like the old guy who hangs out with kids because all his friends are dead. And he likes yelling at kids.
The point being, Yahoo isn’t looking to buy talent, technology, or a quick profit in Tumblr. It’s looking for relevance. It’s knows that when you drop a billion to buy a cool friend, you don’t immediately screw it up by doing something massively uncool.
It’ll be okay.
Is this misguided rosiness in lieu of Yahoo historical pattern of buying and burning successful online platforms?
OTOH, outside of steadfast service stability (which I am indeed most thankful for :)), Tumblr has languished in the past year — the only “enhancements” being of a negative nature (i.e., the recent editor “upgrade”, still riddled with bugs that make it excruciating to edit posts with blockquote text)
And it might serve as the needed impetus for me to complete development on my own homebrewed (and self hosted) tumble-wiki alternative.
In 2007, I was drinking coffee in Marco’s livingroom/dining room/office. He told me he and David had launched a website that had done remarkably well. He urged me to register before somebody else registered daniel.tumblr.com. Maybe I could write things there instead of on LiveJournal. There were about 27,000 users at that point, one of whom was AZSpot. Since then, Tumblr has grown to about 300 billion users, each more unique than the last. So it’s done okay. Marco has left Tumblr, started Instapaper, and recently left Instapaper. The last time we were drinking coffee together, he had a living room and a dining room and an office. So he’s done okay. And I’ve done okay with Tumblr as well. The point being, on the Internet, a lot has changed since 2007. And in 2007 if somebody had announced that LiveJournal was maybe being acquired, I would feel about like everybody feels now. (Where would I store my feelings!?!)
The point being, life is brutal and short on the Internet. When awesome websites are acquired and eventually shut down by other websites, it’s either a pattern or it’s just what happens on the Internet. Does anybody seriously think that if Yahoo hadn’t acquired GeoCities it would be the coolest site on the Internet now?
Though, there’s another angle. Yahoo was founded in 1995. In Internet years, that’s like the Roman Empire. (I’m going to resist the urge to troll you all by saying that, it’s not bad to be in a conquered province because at least you get to be part of the glory of Rome.) Yahoo has at least survived.
The broader point being, things change quickly on the internet. There’s always a younger, cooler site looming just over the horizon. I’m not sure that acquisition by Yahoo particularly diminishes Tumblr’s longterm prognosis. It means an influx of cash, stability, and technical capability. Heck, probably a functional search feature. And it means that Tumblr doesn’t need to desperately look for ways to monetize.
The Internet will kill everything you love. But by the time it dies, you won’t even care.
I think this is a good point. Let’s not write the obituary just yet, despite Yahoo’s history this still could end well.
And if Tumblr tanks… we might not be there by then. I’ve left several “homes” behind on the internet - some were shut down; most of them I grew apart from. And it’s not just an internet thing; it’s a community thing, a human thing. I’ve left several RL communities behind me, too - some of them ended; most of them I grew apart from. That’s how it goes.
(And that moment when you think “I hope it stays like this forever”? It’s usualy on the way down.)
So, yeah, let’s not cry over Tumblr yet. It might work out… and if it won’t we’ll just have to pack, say goodbye and hope we’ll meet again on the next stop.
EDIT: Tumblr submit form glitched on me and I accidentally posted the thing twice. This just writes itself.