Tumblr, the dark horse of social networks, is gearing up to revamp its “core experience” in an effort to appeal to a wider audience. The platform aims to capitalize on potential users who might be disenchanted with the likes of Twitter and Reddit, and to do so, it recognizes the need to simplify its usability.

In a recent update posted on the staff blog, Tumblr hinted at forthcoming changes, including a redesign of its reply and reblog features. The underlying objective, as stated by Tumblr staff, is to make the platform less intimidating. They acknowledge that Tumblr’s historical emphasis on user curation has created friction and limited its appeal to a specific segment of users. To ensure Tumblr’s sustained success, the focus now lies in fostering a seamless connection between people and content, attracting new users and creators, nurturing their growth, and encouraging active engagement.

These strategic changes fall into various categories, such as expanding the avenues for new user discovery and sign-ups, as well as establishing patterns that foster user retention. While some of the suggestions remain broad, Tumblr intends to experiment with potential enhancements. For instance, the platform plans to conduct an audit of its messaging strategy and explore the optimal limit for daily push notifications.

By implementing these changes, Tumblr aims to position itself as a more formidable competitor to mainstream social networks, especially for content creators seeking a platform to share their material.

The objectives include helping creators garner greater engagement and ensuring users encounter engaging posts each time they access Tumblr. One notable goal is to enhance the algorithmic ranking capabilities across all feeds. In addition to the home dashboard and the explore tab featuring suggested posts, Tumblr Live, the platform’s video service, will also receive attention, aiming to unlock its potential.

Existing users will likely notice significant updates to the reply and reblog system. The staff blog acknowledges that the current system, encompassing replies and reblogs, can be confusing for new users. To address this, Tumblr plans to allow users to reply to specific additions within reblogged posts, resembling a quote-tweet functionality. Furthermore, the feasibility of removing duplicate reblogs within a user’s Following feed will be explored, eliminating the repetitive appearance of popular posts circulating among social circles.

Curiously, the update does not mention Tumblr’s integration plans with the decentralized social networking protocol ActivityPub. Tumblr has weathered a tumultuous decade, including acquisitions by Yahoo in 2013, integration into Verizon in 2017, and subsequent acquisition by Automattic, the owner of WordPress.com, in 2019. Since stabilizing under Automattic’s ownership, Tumblr has emerged as a breeding ground for surprising cultural trends, exemplified by the viral sensation of the nonexistent Martin Scorsese film, Goncharov. Notably, the platform has attracted users seeking respite from heavily monetized and optimized social feeds. However, it remains to be seen whether replicating the social experiences found on other sites is what long-time users truly desire.

As Tumblr embarks on this transformative journey, it aims to strike a delicate balance between attracting new users and preserving the unique characteristics that have endeared it to its loyal fanbase. By focusing on enhancing user experience, Tumblr hopes to reestablish itself as a vibrant and inclusive social platform for users and creators alike.

Categorized in: