My personal observations of Tumblr use among my network have led me to the conclusion that FreindFeed and Tumblr are becoming rivals.
As I have explained in previous posts, despite my love for its UI and functionality, Tumblr fails as a distribution platform relative to other blogging notables like WordPress. The main challenge that Tumblr has been unable to overcome is its lack of Google Juice, i.e. its ability to get content rapidly indexed and well positioned in search engines, especially as compared to WordPress. Likewise, Tumblr has created a culture of ‘reblogging’ which while cool for the internal community, means that that there are not a ton of back links (high PR) being generated by more authoritative web sites. There is an enormous distinction between services focused on content authoring/creation versus content sharing/commenting.
As a net result, I have observed a big shift away from using Tumblr as a blogging platform to publish new content, and instead observed the focus becoming the sharing and reblogging of existing photos and links. This shift has also resulted in an increase of imported third party feeds (ex: Flickr or Twitter) which is of course the bread and butter of FreindFeed.
In my mind if Tumblr cannot compete with WordPress on the distribution angle then its best stratgy is to focus on sharing and this means eating into Freindfeed’s market share.
Update: Steve Rubel with some suggestions on how to make FriendFeed the ultimate blogging platform