Tumblr, Reddit founders discuss Facebook IPO, traditional media

Tumblr, Reddit founders discuss Facebook IPO, traditional media
By Damon Berger
  • Two of the brightest and youngest minds in social media sat down with Shira during the special one-year anniversary What’s Trending show during Internet Week New York. Tumblr CEO and founder David Karp and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian—both 20-something web pioneers—chatted about disrupting traditional media and Facebook IPO during their stop.

  • Ohanian’s Reddit boasts more than 2 billion page views and 35 million unique visitors, so it’s easy to see why he felt like it’s been “Internet year” rather than simply a week of celebration for the web.

    “I guess it’s nice to take out a special week and say ‘hey Internet, it’s awesome,” Hainan said.

    Being able to talk and interact with the community at large is one aspect Karp enjoys about Internet week. No doubt he probably met people whom use his site; it now hosts more than 42 million blogs, and is valued at more than $100 million.

    “Last years we saw what looked to us like real mainstream adoption in the U.S.,” Karp said about people using his site. “Now for the first time, we are seeing that sort of traction overseas.”

    Both agreed that traditional media can take advantage of their platforms, and keeping relationships with them is key, especially when a site like Reddit frequently links to traditional media pages.

    On Tumblr, Karp said that the “Hunger Games” created a Tumblr in coordination with the release of its feature film, giving people in-depth information into the movie’s fashion.

    “Traditional media is extraordinary,” Karp told Shira, admitting that publishers, networks and studios are figuring out ways to get creative and harness platforms like Reddit and Tubmlr successfully to more effectively tell their stories and build audiences.

    One of the most talked about news during Internet week and indeed all over the web community is the Facebook IPO. Here the two wunderkinds differ in their opinions.

    “Facebook has made some privacy decisions that I think have users very, very worried, including me,” Ohanian told Shira.

    Ohanian said he will not be investing because of these privacy concerns, which include Facebook signing on to support a legislation like CISPA.

    “My concern from an investment standpoint, is that in the long-term, if Facebook continues to make bad decisions about user experience…you have the potential for this to become something else like the social networking fads of yesteryear. The value of a site that is community-driven is in the community,” Ohanian said.

    Karp said that Ohanian nailed some points on some of Facebook’s more troubling policies, but he supports the IPO, even calling Facebook “the poster child,” of a successful internet business and the next generation company.

    “I think everyone in this business should be rooting for them to prove that the Internet can generate $100 billion-businesses. They built a really meaningful business, and they have achieved a scale like nothing that’s ever existed before.”