Blogging platform Tumblr has begun rolling out an instant messaging feature in a rather unique fashion.
Tumblr users are now gaining the long-awaited ability to communicate with one another in real-time. The feature hasn’t been added as a general widespread update, however.
Rather, the new instant messaging feature has been set to spread virally. Initially, only 1,500 Tumblr users were given the ability to message in this way.
Then, whoever those 1,500 users message will gain the ability to message in turn. Whoever those secondary contacts choose to message will also gain the ability for themselves, and so on.
You’ll know if you’ve been given the ability to message when you received a bouncing smiley balloon hanging on your screen.
Besides being rather cool, this gradual rollout has a practical reason behind it. “We need to make sure our servers can handle the weight of your discourse,” says Tumblr.
Apparently, every Tumblr user will receive the new messaging function some time in early December regardless.
Related: Best smartphones 2015
As for the messaging feature itself, it’s rather limited at present. You can send text only on a one-to-one basis. GIFs, images, group chats, and the ability to share posts are set to arrive at a later date.
Anyone can message you by default, but this can be changed in the settings so that only those whom you follow can contact you.