Matt Mullenweg, who started WordPress, wrote a quick piece on how he’s seen import activity from Tumblr to WordPress spike leading up to the announcement. Some quickly thought that was a sign that users don’t think Tumblr will last long or Yahoo will screw it up. I don’t think they have much to fear.
First, I think the platforms are very different – more so than you might think. Tumblr is a simpler blogging platform. That’s great for most people with a bunch of lifestyle rebog posts. Thankfully, Tumblr can also be quite powerful but you have to work at. WordPress is much, much more powerful out of the gate and takes some extra configuration to get it to a decent state. Plus, post formats isn’t as mature yet (coming in the next version, though).
Second, Flickr didn’t get screwed up because Yahoo did something to ruin in. It was screwed up by Yahoo not doing something to it. It got stale, boring, and, to a degree, a little more mainstream. Many pros post to 500px now. That is Tumblr’s biggest risk if you ask me.
And, if we are to believe Marisa Mayer, they’ll let Tumblr exist on its own for the foreseeable future. She’s on a brand transformation mission. She has to focus on being relevant again and, I’m sure, won’t do anything to mess that up.