Myspace briefly ruled the Internet with its unique brand of cacophony: garishly bright backgrounds, blinking graphics, auto-playing theme songs. Combined, those elements were a horrible mess, but they didn't detract from Myspace's popularity. Why? People love customization. Tumblr is proving it's this decade's Myspace with an iOS and Android app update that lets you personalize your site's colors, photos, and fonts. Sadly, there are no auto-playing soundtracks.
This isn't exactly a new feature for Tumblr--the blogging platform already lets you personalize the Web-based version of your site to your heart's content. But those design tweaks didn't translate to mobile until now. Tuesday's update lets you customize your header image, your fonts, and a plethora of colors straight from the app. Tumblr counted 3.3 billion possible combinations.
Tumblr has flown under the radar since Yahoo scooped up the social network for more than a billion bucks last May, but has reportedly been working to bring its customization tools to its apps for the last year. Personalization sets Tumblr apart from other networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, which let you add a few photos but not much else.
"The major services have started to say, Post your square photos,' or Post your six-second videos,' or Post your 140 characters,'" Tumblr founder David Karp told The Verge. "As far as mode of self-expression, they've gotten more and more restricted. Do we want every visual thing we enjoy from here on out to be square?"
The app update is a small change, but one that emphasizes Tumblr's commitment to creativity. After all, a house doesn't really feel like home if you're not allowed to paint the walls and hang some artwork. Tumblr is hoping that its personalization tools will appeal to the parts of us that loved Myspace--but not the parts of us that left Myspace behind when it got so hideous we couldn't stand it anymore. Such a fine line.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.