Social websites have been moving away from page customization since the beginning of the Facebook era. Many sites prefer to showcase a clean, white interface with only a profile picture and/or banner picture at the top. Gone are the flashing MySpace pages and the automatic music on Bebo pages. But an element of that style has manifested itself on Tumblr. And now, it’s going to manifest in the mobile app too.
The decision to allow user-profile customization came directly from Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp. “The draw to the Internet for me was this idea that it was a space where you could really create an expression of yourself — an identity that you’re really, truly proud of,” Karp told The Verge.
Allowing users to customize their pages enables them to complement their content. According to creative director Peter Vidani, “There aren’t just content trends [on Tumblr] — there are theme trends.” This thematic harmony, whether sparkly or automotive, lets communities and users showcase their content in any way they’d like.
Until recently, Tumblr’s mobile app showcased profiles and content in the standard Tumblr blue. The new version of the Tumblr app will allow users to change fonts and colors, which will impact the appearance of the whole app. They can also choose and change avatars, header pictures and backgrounds.
Vidani says there are 3.3 billion combinations, and likened the profile customization to carrying your identity in your Tumblr. With an apparent 80 percent of Tumblr users adopting profile customization, adding the new Appearance feature to the app just makes sense.
Indeed, Tumblr’s staff is very committed to profile customization, and with good reason. Other social networks allow relatively minor tweaks in terms of customization. Uniformity has become the aim, and a certain level of individuality has been lost. But Tumblr has decided to take a different approach.
“Make yourself as beautiful as you possibly can. Or make yourself look like a weirdo,” reads the official blog announcement. “Whatever you want. It’s not up to us. Have fun.”
*image via staff.tumblr.com