Tuesday, December 6, 2022
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Reasons to return to Tumblr

While I’m by no means a die-hard Tumblr girl with a huge following, I’m still pretty enamored of the platform. Where else can you learn about fourth wave feminism before reposting a random photo of a goth girl with zero background? I used to spend hours scrolling until 1: 00 am, 2: 00 am, 3: 00 In the morning, my eyes were dry and my mind was filled with images of Winona Ryder and Sylvia Plath, and soft butch genderqueer models from Paris. “Really cool,” a friend said when I told her I was writing this. “But it’s not just about images, it’s about words. That’s why it’s popular. That’s what makes it special.”

Tumblr dreams are born as much as they are fast. In 2010, Yahoo! The company acquired Tumblr for approximately $1.1 billion and introduced an optional security mode in 2018, making it the default in 2018. The changes ended up alienating a large chunk of Tumblr’s core audience. Gone are the NSFW illustrations, fetish art, queer erotica, and anything that got people started on Tumblr. Sex workers left in droves. LGBTQIA+ users have also abandoned the platform after claiming some of their content was banned for being too “mature”. I also logged out permanently at the end of 2010. I was on Twitter then, then Instagram. Tumblr isn’t fun anymore.

But that was a few years ago and times have changed dramatically. With the demise of Twitter, the need for a flexible, text-based platform is more pressing than ever, especially for those working in media, publishing, or fiction. Meanwhile, just last week, Tumblr announced they had finally lifted their ban on nudity, writing: “We now welcome broader expression, creativity and art on Tumblr, including content depicting the human form (yes, including naked human form).” If ever there was a moment for a Tumblr renaissance, it’s now. Why migrate to a brand new platform we’re already familiar with right here waiting for us? Type “Tumblr” and “comeback” into Twitter and you’ll see that’s a question people are asking themselves a lot these days.

Younger, more dynamic people will tell you Twitter is breaking up millennials anyway, and you should just be using TikTok now. But for those of us who don’t want to create upbeat, talking-to-camera video content, it’s not very useful. There’s a reason people still cling to Twitter as their primary communication tool—they want to have conversations and share their work, not scream Gnarls Barkley riffing on a camera with ring lights, or making bleary-eyed videos about Be a traditional stay-at-home wife to a slowed-down version of “watermelon candy.” The kids of TikTok are doing their own thing. But for writers, readers, and those more interested in aesthetics, the massive move to Tumblr certainly has potential.



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