Tumblr Users Urge New Owner Yahoo To Keep The Site Weird


When news of Yahoo's purchase of Tumblr first hit, Tumblr users took their reactions online. The posts were quirky and sharp with plenty of worry about the future.

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Yahoo's purchase of the blogging site Tumblr sent shockwaves through the Tumblrverse. Is that actually a word now?

WNYC's Ilya Marritz reports that the site's users want to keep Tumblr out of the mainstream.

ILYA MARRITZ, BYLINE: When word got out about the acquisition, Tumblr users reacted in their distinctive way. Homemade, quirky, sharp. One site showed an animated gif of Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's CEO, wearing a diabolical smile as $20 bills rain down over her. Another Tumblr shows a cartoon Yahoo brownshirt drinking from a jug of Tumblr tears.

LAURA OLIN: I was kind of upset at first.

MARRITZ: Laura Olin ran the official Obama 2012 campaign Tumblr. She didn't take the news well.

OLIN: Just because I was a Flickr user and also actually a Delicious user and both of those acquisitions didn't seem to go well.

MARRITZ: Yahoo bought both Flickr and Delicious in 2005, and managed to alienate existing users. Yahoo's challenge now is to keep the trust of the people who've created more than 100 million blogs through Tumblr. People like...

DAVID FUNG: David Fung, I'm the co-founder of mensweardog.tumblr.com.

MARRITZ: That's Menswear Dog. You really need to see Fung's shiba inu mugging for the camera while wearing an Armani leather jacket, to get it. Fung has 100,000 followers.

FUNG: You know, I spent a day putting it together and then the next day it blew up and GQ was calling me. It just speaks to the power of that community.

MARRITZ: The Tumblr community. Since the acquisition became official, the blogs have calmed down somewhat. Laura Olin says it helps that Yahoo CEO Mayer made the announcement in Tumblrese.

OLIN: You know, like, the words we won't screw it up, so I think they're doing a really good job of acknowledging the anxiety that Tumblr users have.

MARRITZ: Now, Olin says, just don't screw it up.

For NPR News, I'm Ilya Marritz in New York.



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