10 years ago this Sunday, with modest expectations and little fanfare, Marco and I launched a side-project called Tumblr—a place where anyone could “post anything and customize everything.”
Why did the world need Tumblr? I wasn’t sure it did. But I did.
The net is vast and infinite. The web browser has become a multimedia powerhouse. “Social media” is upending news and entertainment. One-year-old YouTube has created a phenomenon of “viral video.” Google hits for “podcast” have jumped from 100-thousand to 100-million in less than a year. Twitter has just launched. And the “blogosphere” has become the voice of millions, with the total number of blogs now doubling every six months. Dope.
But for all this progress, some of the internet’s brightest promise is fading. The wide-open and whimsical frontier of the World Wide Web is being reshaped by strict, narrow platforms. Our pictures, videos, music, journals, articles, links, status updates, are spread across a dozen different networks—each specializing in a single medium. The infinitely expressive canvas of HTML has been eclipsed by directories of vanilla-white profile pages. Our digital identities are fractured and engineers make the rules.
Tumblehub Tumblespot Tumblr, a modest solution inspired by an avant-garde community of bloggers calling themselves “tumbleloggers.” The premise, simply, to make space for each individual’s full range of expression. A median between the author’s unfiltered and editorial voice. With complete control over design and presentation, so anyone can create something that truly represents themselves and that is truly unique.
After four months of running my own blog on Tumblr, making tweaks and improvements, we open to the public. Hundreds of thousands of people begin using Tumblr to share some of the most eclectic, clever, and beautiful things we’ve ever seen on the internet.
We are humbled and awestruck.
Racing to keep up, every feature we add attempts to stretch the canvas a little bit more, pushed by this community’s constant and boundless creativity. Five months in, you have captured our hearts. We work up the courage to pursue Tumblr full time.
336 million Tumblrs. 146 billion posts. And counting.
A generation of artists, writers, creators, curators, and crusaders that have redefined our culture.
I can’t say this enough: Thank you, thank you, thank you for making Tumblr everything that it is. For everything we’ve built, and all its shortcomings, you have managed to make this one of the most creative, lively, thoughtful, supportive, and open-minded corners of the world.
We have learned so much from you and been so moved by your voices.
The Next Ten Years
The internet is at a crossroads again.
Internet culture has become the prevalent, global culture. These networks expose us to new ideas and information but–too often–trap us in bubbles. The world has been compressed, and we are constantly challenged to reconcile our differences.
With so many barriers to digital expression now lifted, and nearly all modes of media supported across all platforms, there is now an unprecedented opportunity to dedicate this space to freedom, truth, expanded perspective, and positive influence in the world. Tumblr’s focus over the next decade will shift accordingly.
Expression has been and always will be a foundational part of Tumblr—and our roadmap this year will not disappoint—but it is now more urgent than ever to empower positive and productive connections across the communities that thrive here. To create an environment where people are truly safe to be themselves. To ensure positive discourse rises above toxicity. And to protect the free exchange of ideas, from which truth will emerge.
We still have so much to prove and so much we’ve promised you. With this renewed focus, we are determined to deliver.
One Last Thing
From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone working on, and who has ever worked on, Tumblr. I’ve learned so much from all of you, and it is a privilege to come to work with so many brilliant and talented people. We couldn’t have done any of this without your maniacal devotion throughout this journey.
Fuck yeah to 10 more 💙