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Summary:

Tumblr wants users to discover content by themselves, rather than pushing it out to them. The updates to its iOS app Wednesday are aimed at helping users share and save Tumblr posts.

Tumblr Pocket

Tumblr is making it easier to save content to read for later, with updates to its iOS app released Wednesday. The updated version of the app now lets users save Tumblr posts to Pocket and Instapaper and share them via Facebook, Twitter and other services. Users can also email the full text of a post to someone else.

The iOS app’s improved sharing features are likely intended to help users drive discovery. Tumblr shut down its Storyboard project, which was designed to surface interesting editorial content, earlier this month. Tumblr CEO David Karp said at the paidContent Live conference last week that the company wants to help users discover this content themselves, but “we don’t want to say what great content is, or these are our favorite blogs.” And the integration with Pocket and Instapaper suggests that Tumblr sees itself not just as a platform for short, image-heavy posts and videos but also as a home to longer text-based content that people will want to stick around and read for awhile.

Separately, Pocket rolled out its own send-to-friend feature last week. The feature lets users email content directly from Pocket’s apps, and if the recipients are also Pocket users, the shared articles will show up within their app.

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  1. Overall, I think this is a good move on Tumblr’s part, and helps break down the walled garden surrounding a lot of user-generated content within its realm. However, there are some outstanding issues that I think Tumblr needs to turn its attention to. One is the prevalence of copyright infringement – I’ve seen an awful lot of photography and artwork either posted without credit or link to the creator, or worse still being passed off as the poster’s own work. Another problem is with re-blogging, which as currently set up can create enormous hairball posts when multiple users weigh in with their thoughts – since Tumblr already retains the links to the previous posts, I think it’s entirely feasible to have something similar to the Retweet function that Twitter now has, with the ability to expand out to show the full conversation. Not only would it make for more readable posts, but would also save considerably on bandwidth.

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