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Surprise! Tumblr is Launching Live Video Functionality Tomorrow

What with Periscope, Twitch, Google Hangouts, and any number of other live video apps available via various social media services, it makes sense that Tumblr would want to jump on the bandwagon. The site will be launching a live video platform tomorrow, and contains lots of updates about the types of content that Tumblr users can expect to see on their dashboards as of June 21st.

The Live Video announcement blog, which got discovered by a Twitter user over the weekend and which TechCrunch has confirmed contains official Tumblr promotional materials, lists off a packed program schedule. At 4 PM EST tomorrow, Tumblr will “broadcast live from the surface of Mars.” At 4:15 PM EST, Adam J. Kurtz will do an “Answer Time” segment (that’s the Tumblr version of Reddit’s Ask Me Anything segments). At 4:45 PM EST, a Harlem Globetrotter will do a basketball tutorial via the video feed. The list goes on and on!

Presumably, the video feed’s functionality will become available for everybody, but if you want to follow the page for tuning into these specific live events, you may as well subscribe to Live Video on Tumblr in time for tomorrow’s busy schedule. It’s not yet clear whether or not that page is actually associated with Tumblr HQ, but the schedule they posted is apparently legit, if TechCrunch’s source is correct.

Anyway, plenty of questions remain about the new service, and there’s no official press release yet from Tumblr about it. One question is about the quality itself. Won’t the use of live video feeds cause Tumblr’s dashboard to slow down a bunch? With all of those gifs and other media loading on dashboards already, Tumblr will have to figure out how to be as snappy as Facebook when it comes to users scrolling through. Tumblr gave its video functionality a big revamp two years ago, but it’s still pretty slow compared to its competitors. We’ll have to see how the new live video feature holds up tomorrow when tons of people are tuning in all at the same time. Sounds like a recipe for disaster!

Speaking of predictable problems, will Tumblr be rolling out a system for reporting videos? Other live video platforms have already had to worry about live broadcasts of pornography. There’s also the more concerning problem of live videos that depict crimes in progress. Will Tumblr be including reporting tools along with the roll-out? What types of content will be permitted? Will sexual content be allowed, and if so, how will it be tagged and sorted?

All of these questions will probably be answered tomorrow, whether Tumblr has planned for them or not. Sounds like it’ll be worth tuning in and checking it out regardless!

(via The Verge, image via Tumblr)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (