Tumblr Support in WordPress

Earlier today WordPress.com turned on the ability to push new blog posts to Tumblr, alongside the existing capability to do so for Twitter, Facebook, et al. This is interesting for a few reasons.

While the tech press often likes to paint companies in a similar market as competing in a zero sum game, the reality is that all are growing rapidly and services feed each other and cross-pollinate more than anyone gives them credit for. Tumblr built a dashboard reader product that has tons of pageviews and lots of followers, which can provide distribution for blogs much in the same way Facebook and Twitter do. (Its 85%-on-dashboard-centric usage looks more like a social network than a blogging network, actually.) WordPress has fantastic content that people on Tumblr love, and Tumblr has a rich and diverse content and curation community that can drive new visitors to WordPress — it’s like peanut butter and chocolate.

It’s true that we’re becoming simpler and more streamlined and it’s a process driven by our design vision and our community, not what any particular competitor is doing. WordPress has always flourished because it’s a hassle-free digital hub — a home on the web you can control, customize, and truly own due to the fact that it’s Open Source software. WordPress is the antidote to walled gardens.

36 thoughts on “Tumblr Support in WordPress

  1. Talking about cross-pollination, I was surprised to see the Twenty Eleven theme which echoes WordPress to me since it’s its default theme, proposed in a new blogging platform (in the states) which Robert Scoble claims it to be “the coolest thing I saw at Blog World so far.” https://twitter.com/fred_montagnon/status/210452506633961472
    Have you checked the new kid in town, Overblog? How, where do you think they’ll fit in the blogging space? They have an interesting interface, and I think it’ll be interesting to what kind of users are drawn to them.

  2. I have great respect for this gesture of openness and connectivity.

    However I believe that you are sidelining an important WordPress issue. I have not come across people who consider Tumblr an option due to its “social networking” features and traffic. I have come across people who consider Tumblr an option because WordPress (admin) was just too difficult for them to use and Tumblrs UI simplicity was way more appealing. The latest simplification of the WordPress.com dashboard is a good step in the right direction but there is more to do.

    I also don’t see the point of having two “online homes”. I only want and only need one. I would not want to split my online presence between two (or more) places. That leads to fragmentation of identity which can reduce clarity for both people (who get an incomplete picture or have to bounce between two places trying to figure out what is what) and search engines.

    WordPress has a UI issue to deal with. That UI issue has pushed people away from an open-source platform (WordPress) towards a closed-corporate platform (Tumblr). THAT (as a consequence of poor UI rather then the UI itself) is a moral compromise that feels wrong.

    “Democratizing Publishing is a noble cause – but comes with responsibility … WordPress is neglecting people who are not proficient enough to use it – kind of like ‘money buying power’ only with WordPress its ‘geek knowledge buying power’ – and both are not right … and not very democratic.”

    From: http://ontekusuto.iamronen.com/2012/02/email-to-ian-stewart/

    1. There is a lot more to do, and it will happen on the new WP.com dashboard, in the mobile apps, and in wp-admin. I think particularly the first is very accessible to non-tech people, and getting better. To your post, the customizer coming in 3.4 and the custom design upgrade on WP.com are good examples of making personalizing your space more of a point and click affair.

  3. I like the ability for social networks to integrate, I do find however that when you syncronise two accounts, only one can ever be very good:

    “One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.”
    Tony Robbins

  4. Any chance that, in the spirit of Open Source, WordPress.com could release this plugin (I hope you’re not modifying the core :0!) for users of WordPress.org to enjoy these features (push to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr). Cheers!

  5. @Matt

    It is great to see that WordPress see Tumblr as an opportunity and not a threat.

    I use WordPress because core development listens to social and cultural factors. What’s hot seems to be decided by the community. It is important to have an open roadmap.

    The platform moves with the times which is why it has dominated for almost a decade.

  6. Is this feature also available for wordpress.org sites? I get confused between the two but it seems one is free and one isn’t and the free site seems to have more features

    1. We’re trying to bring the features together with the Jetpack plugin – http://jetpack.me/ . Our goal is complete feature parity. If you install Jetpack you’ll get this feature as soon as it’s available for .org.

  7. This is intriguing but I don’t go on to Tumblr because my daughter wants her own space to do her own thing. So she does tumblr, and I have some blogs I follow on WordPress. made an account so I could comment easier. So I do Squidoo, WordPress, twitter and Facebook and she does Tumblr, deviant art and facebook only occasionaly she’s actually using FB less and less. Do other families divy up sites like this? I like the concept of Tumblr but I let her have First dibs since she’s more proficient at this time than I.

  8. Great news Matt but don’t you think its a bit like the pot calling the kettle black? Why don’t you allow publishing of posts to WordPress.com free other blog platforms?