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Image credit: Mat Hayward/Getty Images for Tumblr

Tumblr revives Replies to restore the art of conversation

One of Tumblr's fan-favorite features is coming back.

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Mat Hayward/Getty Images for Tumblr

Were you miffed when Tumblr replaced its longstanding Replies feature with instant messaging, effectively forcing you to have private chats about a funny GIF? The social service heard your gripes -- it's not only bringing back Replies, but making them more useful. Authors can finally reply to their own posts, and you can reply to a post multiple times if you're embroiled in a conversation. To prevent chaos, Tumblr will let you limit replies to service regulars or only those you follow.

The update also sees a big revamp to Notes that makes it much easier to see the content you actually care about. No longer will you see endless likes and reblogs clutter the page -- they're reduced to a single line, and you'll only see the conversations. In other words, the Notes section now behaves more like the comments section on many of the social sites you visit.

Tumblr had promised that Replies would return, but they likely couldn't come soon enough. Yahoo bought Tumblr with dreams of becoming a major player in the social world, but it didn't pan out as expected. The company needs to do whatever it can to not only keep existing users, but draw in people who'd otherwise be happy sticking to Facebook or Twitter. Giving them a more familiar (if not completely original) experience may be the key to making that happen.

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