77 million

The number of blogs on Tumblr, WordPress’s main competitor. And it seems to be doing quite well.


David Karp, its founder (pictured) spoke at the Wired2012 event in London today (Thurs 25/10/12), where he explained how he believes Tumblr’s success is down to giving its users the power to distribute a creative voice, be it through words, pictures or music.

The implication is: please the people first on an open platform, the money (may) come later. A few things he told the Wired2012 audience (each of whom paid near £1,000 to attend the two-day event – forget startups, the real money’s in conferences!!!)

“Distribution used to be controlled by the radio or publishers, but you can get a bigger audience through Tumblr or YouTube — the economics of that haven’t quite caught up. Kickstarter and Etsy are part of that whole new economics, and with things like that coming up, the next Justin Bieber won’t graduate out of YouTube for profit. They’ll graduate from whatever open platform works for their media. I hope we can offer some of those compelling services.”

“Communities have been able to flourish because they don’t share a space — yes there’s reblogging and following, but we don’t show you the network.”

All very interesting. Love first, money later.

Another insight into the Tumblr effect comes from Mathew Ingram at GigOm, who argues that mainstream media is increasingly trying to mimic the viral style of Tumblr, with animated GIFs etc, while Tumblr itself is trying to be more like traditional media and hiring bloggers to cover events such as the Democratic and Republican conventions.

Ingram argues convincingly that old media types suhc as the Atlantic and Guardian are all trying to find the next “meme,” – what he calls the viral photo or phrase or snapshot in time that will reverberate long after the debate is over.

“The adoption of the animated GIF as a story-telling element for major news events is just one offshoot of the ongoing socialization of media and the news industry. One of the reasons why Tumblr is at the core of this phenomenon is that the platform is almost perfectly positioned between traditional blogging and the real-time distribution of content offered by Twitter.”

As someone who spend many hours between Twitter and my blog, do I have the spare time to join the meme-race? I think I need an avatar…


  1. I tried both for a little while, but you hit the nail on the head. Who has the time? Picking social media sites that I prefer seem to work better for me.

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