Tumblr's acquisition propels it into spotlight

Last updated 05:00 19/07/2013
David Karp
Getty Images

SEE ME ROLLING: Tumblr founder David Karp opens NASDAQ Exchange in New York.

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David Karp, founder and chief executive of Tumblr, rang the Nasdaq opening bell Friday to celebrate his company's US$1.1 billion acquisition by Yahoo.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was on hand to take pictures and cheer on the Tumblr team. Turns out the Tumblr team had even more to celebrate.

Ever since the blockbuster Yahoo deal blasted the news across the world that there was this little thing called Tumblr, the social network is averaging 250,000 new blogs and 80 million new posts a day, according to Which-50.

In fact, in the eight weeks after the deal was struck, Tumblr added 14 million new blogs, up 13 per cent, and its audience added 4.2 billion new posts, up 8 per cent, Which-50 reports.

And it looks like a lot of that growth is coming from "mumblrs," or moms on Tumblr - a whole new demographic. This, of course, means a teen's dashboard is no longer a safe refuge, and everyone else can revel in the painful memory of when their parents joined Facebook.

How I Taught My Mom to Love Tumblr is one of the many blog posts documenting the flood of older folks on Tumblr. The Daily Dot's Aja Romano wrote of her "sheer panic" when her mother joined Tumblr.

She notes the mother of Cooper Fleishman, an assigning editor at Daily Dot, recently started a Tumblr blog about pies.

But rather than be horrified, she was drawn in.

"It's called A Life of Pie, and the photos will make you yearn for home," Romano wrote.

So Romano decided to embrace the invasion of the "mumblrs" with a primer on deciphering Tumblr's culture and its lingo.

"The stereotype of Tumblr as a place populated primarily by shrieking One Direction tweens doesn't seem to be accurate in the bigger picture - although One Direction is one of the most talked-about subjects on the site," she concluded.

It's a more charitable response to the aging crowd of Yahoos than when the deal was first announced. At the time, young Tumblr users reacted with dismay. Many users were not yet born when the online portal was formed in 1994, and they feared it would ruin the online service that speaks to their generation. Said one post: "Go away Yahoo you can't sit with us."

And even today, those around for Yahoo's golden years are not necessarily fans of the Tumblr deal.

Brad Garlinghouse, the former Yahoo exec famous for penning the "Peanut Butter Manifesto," which warned Yahoo was spreading itself too thin, said he's not convinced the deal will pay off.

"I'm probably a little more skeptical than many about the Tumblr acquisition," he told the Wall Street Journal.


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