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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tumblr Denizens Get Melodramatic Over Yahoo! Purchase

Posted By on Tue, May 21, 2013 at 3:00 PM

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It has been amusing to watch some of the sillier, more melodramatic reactions to Yahoo's announcement that it will buy the blogging platform Tumblr. Given Yahoo's history of wrecking or abandoning services that it has purchased (GeoCities, Flickr), it's somewhat understandable that people would worry a bit that the troubled Internet giant will do the same to Tumblr. But some of the reactions are way out of proportion -- after all, the Internet is filled with places to post stuff. I mean, it's not like their town has been destroyed by a tornado.

And anyway, if the two-decade history of the Web has taught us anything, it's that online services never truly last. They rarely burn out -- more often, they fade away. They either do so their own (Digg) or diminish after being acquired company (LiveJournal, MySpace.) In some cases, they sucked all along, and people finally came around to realizing it (MySpace, Reddit in the near future).

There is nothing inherent in any particular platform that makes it "special." Tumblr has some cool features, but it's just another space on the Web that people fill with stuff. There are all kinds of such spaces, and there will be more in the future. Yahoo's history as a wrecking ball aside, new CEO Marissa Mayer is much more with-it than the succession of her predecessors who turned the Internet giant into shit. It seems likely that, at least for a while, she will stick to her promise to not mess with Tumblr too much. And 26-year-old Tumblr founder David Karp, with his Bieberish hair helmet and requisite five-day stubble, will stay in charge.

But that's not good enough for Tumblr's more emotional denizens. I have been poring over the reactions, both on sites that have already collected them and from primary sources (mainly, Tumblr itself), and present some of my favorites here. Keep in mind that many of these are from kids -- but not all of them are. They're all a little troubling, but the most disturbing aspect of what I found is the tendency of Tumblrers (Tumblrites?) to refer to Karp as "Daddy." I could bring myself to include only one such reference here.

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Screenshots culled from: ABC News, TechCrunch, Mashable, Dashburst, Huffington Post, Tumblr.


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Dan Mitchell

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