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Tumblr declares war on the internet's identity crisis

Tumblr declares war on the internet s identity crisis The Verge


“In the early 2000s, [the web] started to take a pretty sharp turn towards vanilla, white profile pages,” says Karp. To him, Facebook’s stark white pages weren’t refreshing like they were to MySpace refugees — they were restrictive. “The draw to the internet for me was this idea that it was a space where you could really create an expression of yourself — an identity that you’re really, truly proud of.” Karp saw sites like LiveJournal, Blogger, and GeoCities disappearing by the day. “Social networking” sites, where every username was printed in the exact same font, were winning out.

Fast-forward to today, and Karp has turned accidentally hypocritical. Inside Tumblr’s mobile app, 180 million blogs are all colored the exact same shade of blue, with hardly any distinction between them. Tumblr was always about more than the content filling up your blog — it was about creating a digital room of your own, decked out with posters of all your favorite things. Tumblr became famous for making blogs on the web customizable, and now it’s finally catching up to a world gone mobile. It’s launching its new mobile app for iOS and Android, which bundles in a variety of new editing tools to customize your blog on your smartphone for the first time.

Tumblr’s new tools aren’t revolutionary, but in a world filled with social networking sites that increasingly force their users into tiny white boxes, they recall a charming, messier age when it was easy to express yourself online using any mode you chose. It’s an age worth revisiting, I think; interfaces didn’t always make sense but somehow felt more personal.

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Wow, there are 180 million Tumblr blogs?!

I didn't even realize there are 180 million Tumblr USERS.

Seems like a decent strategy for Tumblr... And for Yahoo.

Tumblr is still the anti-Facebook. You can pretend to be anyone you want to be there.

There are not. Many users have many blogs. 

That's fascinating. Tumblr really changed the rules when it comes to blogging.

Specifically that many people want many blogs that are not attached to their real identities.

That was not obvious when Tumblr started.

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