Tumblr’s Uncertain Future: Is the End in Sight?


Recently, rumors have been swirling about the possible demise of Tumblr, the popular microblogging platform. An internal memo circulated by Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com, suggests that major changes are on the horizon. With a Lord Tennyson quote about love and loss, this enigmatic communication foreshadows a significant shift in the company’s direction. In this article, we delve into the details of the memo and explore the potential implications for Tumblr’s future.

1. The Memo Unveiled: “You Win or You Learn”

The reveal of an internal Automattic memo on Tumblr sent shockwaves through the online community. Internet statesman Andy Baio shared what appears to be the memo circulating within Automattic. Titled “You Win or You Learn,” the memo highlights the need for a strategic change within the company to address long-standing challenges.

2. A Troubled Journey: The Quest for Revenue and Usage Peaks

According to the leaked memo, Tumblr’s growth since its acquisition by Automattic in 2019 has fallen short of expectations. Despite the dedicated efforts of the team, the platform has failed to reach revenue and usage milestones. The document acknowledges the significant time and resources invested in Tumblr, raising questions about its viability in today’s competitive digital landscape.

3. Reshuffling the Team: The Future of Employees

The memo reveals plans to reallocate personnel within the Automattic organization. The “Bumblr” team, which comprises 139 employees working in product and marketing, will be reassigned to other divisions. However, employees working in Automattic’s customer support and trust and safety departments are expected to remain in their current roles.

4. The Emotional Journey: Love, Loss, and Learning

Embedded within the memo are quotes, anecdotes, and metaphors reflecting on the themes of love, loss, and personal growth. Drawing inspiration from mountain climbing and life’s journey, the message seeks to inspire team members while acknowledging the difficulties faced by the Tumblr platform.

5. No Layoffs: Prioritizing Employee Well-being

Despite the impending restructuring, the memo provides reassurance by stating that no employees will be let go. Instead, team members are encouraged to express their preferences and create a ranked list of preferred assignments within other divisions of Automattic.

6. Automattic’s Role: The Fate of Tumblr

As the parent company of WordPress.com, Automattic played a pivotal role in the acquisition of Tumblr from Verizon’s media arm. With Tumblr’s uncertain future, the focus now shifts to Automattic’s strategy for reviving the struggling platform and realizing its potential.

7. Rebuilding Trust: Safe Spaces and User Support

While the memo does not explicitly address past issues, it underscores the importance of “trust and safety” as a key division that would be retained within Tumblr’s restructuring. This indicates a commitment to fostering a secure and supportive environment for users, potentially addressing previous concerns about inappropriate content and negative experiences on the platform.


The leaked internal memo from Automattic has ignited a flurry of speculation about the future of Tumblr. While the document’s poetic language and metaphors create an air of mystery, the underlying message reveals a need for change and a renewed focus on revenue and usage growth. As Automattic reshuffles its teams and employees at Tumblr, the hope is that these strategic moves will breathe new life into the platform and allow it to reclaim its former glory in the competitive landscape of social media. Only time will tell if the “loved and lost” Tumblr can rise again and overcome these tumultuous times.

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