Tumblr’s new notification feed: Is Tumblr trying to one-up Facebook?

To all the Tumblr lovers out there: Your dashboard is about to start feeling a little bit like Facebook. According to the Tumblr Staff blog, the blogging platform-cum-meme factory is testing a new feature that shows real-time notifications on the dashboard. But the feature does beg the question: Does a notification feed reveal Tumblr’s long game for social content?

The update itself is a simple one; while logged into your dashboard, you’ll see a live feed of people you follow interacting with your posts alongside what you’re blogging and reblogging. If you ever wanted a better sense of how people interact with your GIFs and cat videos, this makes things much easier. Especially to those with active followings like, say, F*** Yeah Game of Thrones – just as a for instance. While you can’t see what your followers are blogging and reblogging in the feed, that development may hopefully still be in the works. 

Moreover, the feature, at first blush, resembles the Facebook’s News Ticker, which similarly displays what your friends Like and Share in real-time. Facebook debuted the News Ticker back in 2011, and, though it met with a less than enthused response, it helped solidify Facebook’s intention of burrowing its way deeper into your Internet consumption habits. Something that may be backfiring on the House of Zuck, as new research shows more people taking prolonged breaks from Facebook.

What this means for Tumblr as a platform is hard to nail down right now. The kind of immediacy that notifications lend themselves to would imply that Tumblr is further embracing it’s place as one of the top meme-sharing platforms on the Web, hitting the top 10 among all sites in the US last fall.

However, Tumblr has long been trying to distance itself from its reblogging heritage in favor of promoting original content. If you recall, Tumblr CEO David Karp told us last November that, of the 80 million blogs on the site, only 10 to 15 percent are devoted to original content. To balance the scales, Tumblr invested heavily into its own editorial operations, but it remains to be seen how that project will hash out. Editorials and images sourced directly to their creators could benefit from such a feed, and in turn attract more users to the service.

The advent of a notifications feed could be a boon for Tumblr users, but how Tumblr utilizes it to surface things users might want to share, original or otherwise, remains to be seen. Either way, you’ll definitely want to check the engaging new feature.

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