Today, Tumblr rolled out a new instant messaging feature that you can use inside the site and the Tumblr app.
About 1,500 users got the new feature today, and the company will be rolling it out slowly to everyone soon — by early December, according to the Tumblr Staff blog. If someone who already has the messaging feature messages you and you don't have it, you'll get messaging, kind of like a viral feature spread.
The messaging feature looks kind of like a Gchat or Facebook messenger window, on the lower righthand side of your screen.
A messaging feature makes tons of sense for Tumblr, where people tend to stay inside the site/app while using it. "We’re not intending to take on or replicate the messaging platforms that already exist," Karen Shosfy of Tumblr explained in an email to BuzzFeed News. "We thought a lot about the behaviors that are unique to Tumblr and how our users beautifully blend community, content and self-expression."
Additionally, tons of people on Tumblr are using it anonymously or at least semi-anonymously, and probably don't want to give out their Facebook or phone number to any rando from Tumblr. This way, people who have met through Tumblr can chat easily without having to give up their real identity.
Shosfy also said that Tumblr is planning on adding rich media messaging in the near future (right now you can't send pictures), as well as the ability to share posts through messenger.
A few months ago, Tumblr tweaked one of its classic features – the way reblogs and comments "stack" on each other – and people freaked out. People had gotten used to using the stack-style look for comic effect, and the change lessened that comic effect. We'd guess messaging will go over better.
Katie Notopoulos is a senior editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Notopoulos writes about tech and internet culture is cohost of the Internet Explorer podcast.
Contact Katie Notopoulos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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