There will be volumes written on the topic of Yahoo purchasing Tumblr. I will contribute one column, but it is to say this: Don't do anything.
That's right. Don't spend hours reading the background story. Don't organize company meetings to discuss how you should react. Certainly don't rush to create a brand Tumblr blog without a strategy, if you don't already have one.
Here's what you should do.
Focus On Other Things
While everyone else is wasting time on speculation and wasting resources on poorly thought out Tumblr accounts, you can get ahead by focusing your energy on platforms that have a clearer 180-day outlook.
Let your nemesis wax philosophically on how the Yahoo/Tumblr deal is bad for users. Or, let her calculate the projected advertising inventory and how that will affect broader ad rates.
Meanwhile, you can focus on plans that are actionable in the next 90 days. You can focus on long-term plans that don't rely on speculation. Two hugely important social/word-of-mouth seasons are around the corner: Summer is upon us, and holiday shopping will creep up faster than we want. Focus on those.
Follow A Few Tumblr Accounts
“Focusing on other things” is not to say you should completely ignore Tumblr. Start following a few Tumblr accounts (if you don't already) so you can understand how people use it now. That will help you interpret the changes that take place later.
Some accounts I'd recommend:
Wait 90 Days
Yahoo, via Marissa Meyer, has already laid out some pretty clear direction on how they hope to integrate the two companies -- along with how they plan to keep them separate. However, these are pretty massive integrations that it is impossible to know how they will play out.
Waiting 90 days to react will give you time to see:
Sure, if you haven't already secured your brand's Tumblr domain, you should get on that. But, otherwise, there is no harm in taking a wait-and-see approach to the developments.
The Exception To The Rules
Exception 1: You already have a Tumblr strategy in place. If you do, then you can probably move forward without worrying about any substantive changes to the platform anytime soon. Take advantage of the increased exposure Tumblr is seeing (and the increased eyeballs) to capitalize on your existing strategy.
Exception 2: You're a major brand who can capitalize on PR from getting on Tumblr. It won't help most companies to rush onto Tumblr. However, if you're a big brand with a good digital PR team, you can probably capitalize on rushing into the space. Don't expect substantive ROI other than media pick-up, though.
So, unless you're an exception to the rule, the best thing you can do is not get distracted. A billion dollars is a lot of money, but that doesn't mean this will impact you or your company directly, immediately.
Oh, and get used to animated gifs. It's about to rain animated gifs as if it was 2006 and you were a 13-year-old boy on MySpace.