An anonymous critic of microcelebrity egoblogger Julia Allison has been silenced, all in the name of "freedom of expression." Welcome to the wacky world of Tumblr, New York's pinchy-cheeked hypercute blogging startup.
David Karp, the 22-year-old founder and CEO of Tumblr, has explained his company's deletion Monday of Reblogging Julia and other Tumblr blogs devoted to critiquing Allison. The rationale: "internal discussions" about a change to Tumblr's policies, which he only made public today, to include "harassment" as a reason to delete a blog.
In other words, Karp decided to implement selectively a policy before it was announced, rendering his policies laughable. Should users go by what's actually published on Tumblr, or should they try to read Karp's mind? The latter seems like quite a challenge, since the young man running Tumblr seems quite mixed up himself. He finishes the explanation:
I'm really sorry for the confusion. Your content and freedom of expression are the reasons we're building Tumblr.
Actually, given that Tumblr has recently raised a second round of financing, making his venture capitalists slightly richer should be the reason why Karp is building Tumblr. And that's where Allison fits in! Her NonSociety blog is meant to be a testbed for a new kind of group Tumblr, for which Karp's company will charge money.
There seems to be a hitch in development, though. Karp had previously hinted that Tumblr would announce a new revenue-generating feature on Monday. Monday came and went with no announcement, unless Karp had in mind a one-off send-a-valentine tool Tumblr debuted for Valentine's Day, which hardly seems like a sustainable revenue stream. For now, Allison is the best advertisement Karp has for the revenue potential of his service. And that just makes Tumblr's situation seem all the sadder.
(Photo by Julia Allison)