Last week the Yahoo bought Tumblr. As many of us know Tumblr has become a great online publishing hub with a unique social graph. People sign-up on Tumblr and create “tum-blogs” that mostly contain media snippets or short thoughts or quotes. This makes it easy to sign-up and begin publishing straight-away with little to no frills.
A lot of people have looked at Tumblr and WordPress as being direct competition though both work differently and have some differing audiences. A lot of corporations have chosen to use Tumblr for their blogs even when using WordPress as their main site which I’ve always taken issue with as a WordPress developer.
Who owns your information?
But with the acquisition of Tumblr, there becomes an “ownership” issue that comes to forefront with Tumblr blogs and their content. Who owns that content and information? It seems clearly that Yahoo owns that information now, similar to how Facebook owns your content when you post on their social network.
This is when the “open-source” and “free information” debate comes into focus for us. How many of us find this as a priority for us when we consider our marketing or publishing? Is owning your own content really that important? Do you want your business’ content and images being owned by another entity?
WordPress and the democratization of publishing
The online publishing game has become a wide open space with people looking to get online and publish freely and openly. Last week while in Austin, TX speaking with Ben Metcalf of WP Engine we were describing WordPress to someone who asked what we do. Ben had corrected someone to say in a more sophisticated way that WordPress is “the democratization of online publishing.”
I thought this was a clever way to differentiate. But upon hearing about the Tumblr acquisition this rang even more true. WordPress and it’s stance for “open-source” and GPL seems to be a more timely purpose than ever with bigger entities rushing to take hold of online publishing and own a piece of the pie. WordPress exists to provide a tool for someone to get up and running to publish “freely.”
Moving away from Tumblr
On the day of the Tumblr acquisition’s leak, Matt Mullenweg posted about the acquisition stating that imports from Tumblr to WordPress spiked: normally they import 400-600 posts an hour from Tumblr, in an our on last Sunday it was over 72,000. That was 72,000 requests in an hour folks.
I’d say a lof of other people feel as though their information should belong to them as well, and not a large network with the purpose of monetizing their users’ content.