In Praise of the Re-Blogger, The Success of Tumblr

Tumblr-IconAhh yes, Tumblr. Fun to look at, and everybody plays nice. However, creating a community where bloggers mind their manners didn’t happen without understanding a key component of why people blog to begin with–to share.

CEO David Karp recently sounded off about the reason for the platform’s success:

In the case of Tumblr, that sense of design extended not only to the platform itself but to the structure of the community as well. Karp explained that Tumblr deliberately chose “reblogging” as an alternative to commenting because, at a certain scale, internet forums degenerate into a “horrible world of internet anonymousness and awfulness.

He added that comments are “a second class feature” because a commentator is subsumed to a tiny text stream below the main piece of content. To foster engagement, Tumblr is instead choosing options like “Fan mail” which aspire to create more careful, thoughtful and elegant interactions.

The ultimate result, said Karp, is an eco-system in which creators love curators who share their work and curators who love the creators who help them build a sense of identity.

He’s got the right idea.

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