Tumblr – A New Direction for the Platform
Posted on November 10, 2023 by Aywren
Yesterday, many Tumblr users were a bit frazzled at some news that was leaked from an internal memo in the company. I waited to hear whether this was legit info – and it turns out it was, from the CEO of Automattic himself.
While this change sounds bad for Tumblr on the outset, when Photomatt (the CEO) hopped in and started clarifying and answering questions, it didn’t end up as catastrophic as folks were making it to be (surprise?).
I was quite impressed with the speed in which Matt jumped right into the thick of things, communicating through the Ask box (like Tumblr users do) and responding to even some tough questions. In the end, we’ve all known Tumblr has been losing more money than its making, and that can’t be sustainable. The team put a lot of work into Tumblr the past few years, but has made a few missteps in introducing changes (Tumblr LIVE, UI changes, etc) that folks in general do not like.
While I get down on WordPress.com for some of their changes, and I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Tumblr from time to time, I admire that the fact Automattic is opening the gates for employees who need to move off of Tumblr development to explore other products and make a choice for the next project they’d like to work on most. That’s not something every company offers, but it sounds like something that would ignite passion amongst the devs.
Anyhow, having been a long-time Tumblr user, I don’t see terrible red flags from what I’m reading at this point. I see a company who is doing what they must to divert resources from a product that’s not doing well without letting their staff go. There’s no sign of them shutting down Tumblr – in fact, the hope seems to be that a smaller and more focused team can help the situation.
Sounds fair enough to me!