Tumblr – A micro-blogging platform launched in 2007 and has long been known as a lab for Reasons for social justice And the flourishing of fan cultures – he became a competitor.
However, many Twitter users who suggested migrating to Tumblr seem to be these Who left the site only a few years ago.
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both as Communication Researcher As a Tumblr user in the early era, I thought about the site’s unique place in Internet culture. And in the years since the NSFW ban, I’ve seen a lot trying to understand Tumblr as a platform The cusp From a counting or leftovers a past era.
However, Tumblr has long been overshadowed by social media platforms like Facebook and Snapchat, still resisting easy answers for what it is and what it could be.
From “blue hell” to hell in a hand basket
Since its inception, Tumblr has served as a hub for counterculture to women, LGBT people, youth, and marginalized communities. At the same time, I have long been dealing with issues such as frequent bugs and functionality issues, bullyingAnd the hate speechAnd the glorifying self-harmprompting some users to call it the “blue hell website”.
Despite this, Tumblr remains home to art, fandom, memes, and social criticism. This is partly due to the flexibility of the main user interfaces. Both individual blogs and feeds in real time display a set of original files and Reblogging Media, from written posts to videos. in allocating greater control over how users present themselves online – by, for example, nickname And moderation in convenient content – Tumblr has emerged as a bulwark of creative expression.
This approach contributed to explosive growththat culminates in 2013 and 2014 When he claimed tumblr Users spend more time on the site than they do on Facebook and Twitter.
This openness has also facilitated the rise of NSFW content that has become an essential part of Tumblr’s identity. For the user base, access to sexual, feminist, and alternative representations of gender and sexuality was meaningful, leading to self-exploration and community building for vulnerable groups such as LGBTQ+ youth. And for those who have produced their own NSFW content, Tumblr is an indulgence About Me Revenues.
However, the events that followed would transform Tumblr.
First, in 2017, Verizon Communications bought Yahoo. Later that year, Leave the company carp. Then, in early 2018, a federal law named Vista Systa passed, making website operators like Verizon liable for the sex trafficking or sex work performed on their platforms. In November of that year, the Apple Store Remove Tumblr app After finding child sexual abuse material on the site. Weeks later, Tumblr announced a ban on NSFW content that went into effect on December 17, 2018.
But in the same month, I mentioned Vox That the NSFW ban was in place long before the Apple Store controversy. The goal: to sell more ads.
The various parent companies of Tumblr have always tried to monetize the platform Historically resistant to traditional advertising. Ban has become a way to lure companies reluctant to advertise alongside pornography.
The move was transparent to many Tumblr users, who claimed Verizon was repackaging the profit motive as a crusade to protect children.
I’ve researched how to do itIn response to the NSFW ban, pockets of resistance have emerged ranging from counties And the petitions Barbs and Memes. Politics was, at its core, a battleground for a deeper power struggle between platform owners and users.
The disconnect between the two sides’ perception of the platform ended up being mutually ruined. While Tumblr’s user culture has been irreparably damaged, its corporate side has suffered too Huge drop in website traffic. In 2019, Verizon sold Tumblr to WordPress owner, Automatic, for $3M – A fraction of the $1.1 billion Yahoo paid out.
End or new beginning?
While Clashes over site policy Continuing to this day, I’m starting to see talk of a potential Tumblr resurgence.
Even before Musk’s announcement on Twitter, the platform appeared to be making strides in regaining public interest and relevance.
There was noise around Dracula’s daily newsletterWhich Nominated for Tumblr In May 2022. Fan cultures of new shows such as “trance” And the “Succession“It also thrived on the site. And in meme culture,”Humor Tumblr“—of dry wit, absurdity, and self-deprecation—he goes on Generalization Widely Online.
But it seems that Tumblr’s “resurrection” is mainly based on Youth culture in the grip of nostalgia In the early 2000s. What was it called Tumblrcore – A subculture from 2010 with a certain media flair, internet experience, and soft grunge style – is a recent addition to this trend. Its renewed popularity was confirmed earlier this year with Vogue coverage From “2014 Tumblr Girl Aesthetic”.
Tumblr, then, like The defunct video sharing platform Vinebecome a focal point for youth who grew up online and have emotional ties to its cultural history. as companies like Facebook Struggle With the Generation Z demographic, Tumblr has emerged, for some of them, as an attractive “old” alternative – comparable to The return of disposable cameras among young people.
TikTok حاجز Barrier
But besides the glimmer of renewal, Tumblr faces two major obstacles.
The first is the rise of TikTok. albeit also Ban NSFW ContentTikTok has imported many of Tumblr’s cultural traits – from the discourses about it sex And the Social Justice to promote Pro-anorexia content And the bullying. With TikTok as the beating heart of online youth culture, Tumblr has been pushed even further.
The second is Tumblr itself. During the fight to increase site traffic and Earn ad revenue without alienating usersThe NSFW ban, like the spirit of revenge, still haunts Tumblr. One only needs to look at the responses to tumblr Tweets Following the announcement of Musk’s acquisition. The ban has, for many, become a symbol of breaking, as representing the loss of society’s once precious values social contract between users and property.
Thus opposing forces constitute the stature of Templar. On the other hand, the memory of Tumblr keeps it alive in popular culture. At the same time, the bottom of this memory—the part consumed by unresolved errors and resentments—seems to halt any growth that might lead to a true renaissance.
Beyond the “life” and “death” platform
Tumblr’s curious case shows how restrictive it can be to classify platforms as dead, dying or alive. Such a framework often operates according to a capitalist logic where ‘growth’ means life and ‘stagnation’ refers to death.
Tumblr nestles somewhere between ups and downs, and serves as a reminder that platforms aren’t just a profit-driven business but combine their own rhythms and cycles. They are also cultural artifacts, and as they move through the collective imagination, they take on different forms and functions.
Attention to the medium reveals a more complex relationship between users, platforms, and owners. Hence the ingenuity of social media users. Although platform owners unilaterally exercise power and control, users are increasingly being provided with an arsenal of methods of resistance, including mass displacement or migration. The emergence of this unconnected user – someone who adopts a nomadic approach to digital life – may pose an unexpected threat to digital brokers.
Tumblr is an example. However, in a new phase of its existence, it remains a vibrant space for communication, culture and laughter. Instead, his home on the sidelines should prompt us to imagine an Internet free from the belief that bigger is always better.