Tumblr has decided to adopt cartoonist Matthew "The Oatmeal" Inman's suggestion for a "fail whale" down-time graphic, the artist said in a Twitter message this afternoon. Inman posted the image of TumblBeasts taking over the servers this afternoon and said "please oh please use it" to Tumblr. Four hours later, Inman said he'd received an email from Tumblr's founder agreeing to use the image. You can see the end result below or live at this link.Giant blogging platform
Tumblr is a fast-growing publishing platform (last month we reported it has now raised more money and sees more hosted pageviews each month than WordPress) but it has struggled with occasional down-time, as such platforms often do. Its urban hipster image sometimes leads to mockery of its upset users when they complain of downtime, but we argued in support of those emotions in a December post titled Why a Day of Tumblr Downtime Matters to the Entire Web & World.
You'll note that the monsters got a name change when they were let inside the house. Personally, I like Inman's TumblBeasts a little better.
Inman has propelled his web comic to fame less than two years since launching it. He was the subject of an interview on tech blog Mashable this morning, for example. Inman has grown famous on the web for web-centric humor satirizing things like email, but has built his business from sales of more utilitarian works of humor like How to Use a Semicolon. Next time Tumblr goes down, which Inman tongue-in-cheek Tweets he hopes happens soon, now you'll know where that image came from.
In the Summer of 2008, ReadWriteWeb's Sarah Perez wrote about how a much less well-known designer named Yiying Lu posted a whale graphic to iStockPhoto and then saw a community of Twitter fans propel the image into official use as the page telling users when Twitter is down.