Over the weekend, Micro.blog added Tumblr cross-posting to its service in response to Automattic’s acquisition of the company. Micro.blog users can now elect to have their blog posts automatically syndicated to Tumblr.
Although Tumblr is somewhat of a competitor to Micro.blog’s social networking and microblogging service, founder Manton Reece said he sees Tumblr as more of a social network:
I usually avoid adding blog hosting services to Micro.blog’s available cross-posting destinations. After all, if it’s a good blog host that I could recommend as your primary blog, why not just post everything there instead of using Micro.blog’s own blog hosting? But the more I’ve used Tumblr in the last couple of weeks, the more I think about Tumblr as a community first and a blog host second.
Micro.blog may bear some similarities to Tumblr but the service has an entirely different flavor. It has become an alternative watering hole for indie web enthusiasts with its support for Webmention and Micropub protocols. Many who use the service seem to already be convinced of the value of hosting a blog that is independent from the major social media silos.
Micro.blog already had several Tumblr-related features built in to the platform. Users can follow Tumblr blogs on Micro.blog by visiting the Discover feed and plugging in any Tumblr domain name. Micro.blog users can also add their own Tumblr feeds to their accounts so followers can see posts from both their main microblog and the Tumblr blog.
On a recent episode of the Core Intuition podcast titled “A Much Bigger Megaphone,” Reece and co-host Daniel Jalkut, the developer of MarsEdit, speculate on the future of Tumblr and discuss some key differences from Micro.blog’s service and social network. Micro.blog acts more as an aggregate of blogs from around the web, whereas Tumblr’s blogging aspect is limited to Tumblr accounts only.
Both networks aim to make blogging easier and seem to focus on shorter-style posts. However, Micro.blog is more of a social network for independent microbloggers who want to connect their content to a stream of blogs. Tumblr is a blogging service that has a symbiotic relationship with the communities its publishing capabilities enable. It has the potential to become the most important social network on the open web, given its active user base and Automattic’s commitment to independent publishing.
Both Reece and Jalkut said they were optimistic that Automattic’s acquisition of Tumblr will introduce more opportunities for both Micro.blog and MarsEdit, as the company’s influence makes it easier to market the value of owning your own blog. For a long time, Tumblr’s API hasn’t supported some of the key features of MarsEdit and Jlkut said he is hopeful that with Automattic at the helm the API may change to support the types of things his customers need.
In a post published shortly after the acquisition, Reece said he believes Tumblr has a lot of overlap with Micro.blog and views Automattic as having a “shared vision of the future that embraces content ownership, supports healthy communities, and deemphasizes massive social networks.” Those who value blogs and blogging are hopeful that Tumblr’s new ownership will rekindle some of the social magic that was present in the early days of the web but has since become more scarce.