Will the Twitter Redesign Threaten Tumblr?

Unless you’ve been living in a bird-free zone, you know that Twitter recently overhauled their home page.  The new page allows people to see shared videos, links and photos directly within the stream of Twitter by clicking the ‘open’ button.  Photos are expanded, videos are displayed and even links to text articles are expanded into small snippets of the original source.  I worry that this is going to take its toll and put pressure on services like Tumblr.

Tumblr’s greatest strength is its simplicity of sharing media.  It’s very simple to drop videos and pictures into your blog, and they are then posted to your Tumble-blog, or just Tumblr.  What we’ve seen from successful Tumblrs is that strong themes work, and if your Tumblr is focused on that unique interesection between kittens and rock songs, people will keep an eye out for your very specific content.

Sounds a bit like some Twitter users you know, right?  In addition to the various free thinkers I follow on Twitter, I also have a few funny targeted accounts, dedicated to funny videos, news about a specific topic and more.  So if my Twitter all of a sudden has @rockkitten and the Twitter posts all sorts of the same funny videos and images, and I can view them in-line, what’s the use of my Tumblr pages?

Well, at this point, Tumblr still has a very unique presentation style for each blog.  Users are able to theme their Tumblrs to look like anything from a teenage MySpace page to a research thesis.  This is something the new Twitter doesn’t have yet, but will it be enough to drag people off the site?

I personally run a Tumblr called “Videos to Share with Friends”, and it’s just a series of videos that are fun to watch in groups.  If I were able to make a Twitter account that could easily display those videos inline, I could definitely see my Tumblr usage dropping a little.  That said, using both is always a great option, so as long as Twitter keeps its sharing API open, I can have it so that any video I post on Tumblr will automatically get posted to my Twitter page.

But that’s me.  I imagine there are going to be a lot of users that just start tweeting instead.  It’s faster, and retweets and comments are great ways to interact with a post.  On Tumblr, by default there are no comments on any reblog or post, so there isn’t a lot of verbal activity associated with a post.  People just like it or reblog it.  This design decision is a strange one, but seems to work on the network because it keeps the attention focused on the content rather than the comments about the content, but that’s what Twitter has been strong at, as well.  Since the comments are limited in size, focus will still be on the video, and people will have a few characters to let their thoughts be known.

What do you think?  Will the new Twitter affect Tumblr?

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