Simple blogging service Tumblr is launching an exciting new feature in the coming weeks. Founder David Karp swung by our offices yesterday to give me a sneak peek, and it's a brilliant idea. In short, it lets you add a submit button to your Tumblog that lets anyone and everyone write something for you to put on your blog.
It uses Tumblr's vanilla-flavored posting tool, so users can add pictures, links, audio and video--or write a full-blown blog post with the WYSIWYG editor. Those posts then go in a queue the blog owner (or fellow administrators) can give the once over, then push straight to the blog.
The service is soft launching the new submit feature on about a dozen popular community blogs, followed by an invite-only private beta to regular Tumblr users. Karp told me they got the idea for it after watching a makeshift group blog by a collection of female Tumblr users called the Tumblinas. They were using Tumblr's special e-mail uploader to let readers send in content that would be instantly published to the front page of the blog.
To solve the problem of having inappropriate content being published, Karp's solution was to take those submissions people would have sent directly to the blog and drop them into an upcoming queue. That way, anyone who is administrating the blog could go over the posting and give it the yay or nay to post to the front page. Administrators also have the option to go in and edit a post before publishing, adding their own wrapper of analysis or commentary around the original post.
To help source the content, proper attribution is given to whoever submitted the news. Since Tumblr is a social network in itself, posters can either post the news anonymously or with their Tumblr username, which will give readers a link back to their Tumblogs. In many ways it's like taking a comment system and turning into a publishing medium.
The new submission tool will be available as a standard feature to Tumblr Pro members, a level of service coming later this year. Pro members will get some other goodies, like new and highly tweakable themes and special page layouts. There are 10 features currently in development that have been designed specifically with pro members in mind--the rest of which Karp is keeping close to his sleeve.
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