Within hours of Tumblr announcing its porn purge on Monday, my dashboard on the site transformed into a blue wall of complaints, freakouts, as well as also people sharing their Twitter as well as also Instagram accounts “in case Tumblr dies tomorrow.” as well as also memes. So. Many. Memes.
The purge was a long time coming. Tumblr’s a big, messy social media platform of which’s currently owned by a giant telecommunications company, as well as also of which was only a matter of time before its corporate parents chose to exit the pornography-hosting business. I’m honestly surprised of which didn’t happen when Yahoo purchased the site in 2013, as well as also almost as surprised of which Verizon kept the NSFW content around for as long as of which did. Of course the phone company doesn’t want to be the host of, like, TONS of nudes.
The ban sucks, as well as also a lot of wonderful online communities — including troves of artists who make a living selling their work on Tumblr — are going to be torn up because of squeamish corporate overlords. although reports of Tumblr’s imminent death may be greatly exaggerated. Sure, when you add up the erotic fan art, furry fan art, kink communities, as well as also just straight-up pornography, a pretty significant segment of Tumblr content can be (was) NSFW. We don’t know what percentage, because Tumblr never released of which kind of info, although you can safely assume of which’s A LOT.
although of which’s not what Tumblr can be.
The 2018 internet can be dominated by three giant platforms — Twitter (Do you like Nazis as well as also being harassed for having the audacity to exist? Have I got a site for for you!), Facebook (Your elementary school best friend can be getting divorced as well as also your uncle just learned to take selfies, enjoy!), as well as also Instagram (Here’s what your friends were doing without you three days ago when everyone said they just wanted “a quiet night in,” buy of which laxative tea while you weep about how lonely you are, then feel guilty for laughing at of which meme of which got reposted without attribution.). as well as also the joke’s on you — you HAVE to be on all three of them! Happy 2018!!!
of which internet feels modest, as well as also of which’s shrinking every day as its algorithms make everything feel increasingly the same. Amid all of which, Tumblr has been a safe harbor of delightful, weird, as well as also deeply human stuff, presented using the radical system known as reverse chronological order. of which shouldn’t be rocket science, as well as also yet here we are: Somehow, Tumblr can be the only social media platform I use of which just shows me the posts by people I follow, in order of when they were posted. The further I scroll, the older posts get. as well as also of which’s beautiful. Algorithms don’t try to anticipate what I want to see, as well as also neither can be my feed determined by the whims of a random group of people who can up- or downvote things into oblivion.
Tumblr can be also fundamentally different than every some other social media platform of which exists today. The user experience can be utterly unique — what some other platform allows you to integrate videos, GIFs, still images, text, as well as also links in one particular, self-contained post? as well as also what some other platform allows your followers to share your original post while also adding to of which in a manner of which allows for humor as well as also extended conversations? If you know of another platform like of which, let me know — I want to sign up for of which. Unlike its larger competitors, Tumblr can be by design built to facilitate genuine sharing as well as also discussion amongst communities.
Let’s say you’re a K-pop fan. Specifically, let’s say you are absolutely wild for BTS member Jungkook. On Twitter you can get BTS news, you can follow as well as also retweet some other Jungkook fans. You can tweet an image or a GIF, sure. On Tumblr, you can go deep. Every single thing Jungkook has done in public or on video can be preserved for you as well as also the some other fans in countless ways — clips get turned into an infinite number of GIF sets, each one edited slightly differently, captioned in Korean or translated into dozens of languages. Artists draw innumerable portraits of Jungkook as well as also the some other BTS members. Talented photoshoppers edit still images of him, adjusting the lighting in ways of which would likely make Snapchat filters weep. Remember the “flower crown meme” by way back in 2011? of which was born on Tumblr as well as also let me tell you, of which can be thriving. There’s enough fanfic to fill an entire library. You can find all of which stuff just by searching Jungkook’s name.
You, a Jungkook stan, have all of of which at your fingertips. You can follow the person who made of which great GIF set of him drinking water behind the scenes at a concert in Malaysia. You can reblog those GIFs as well as also add a reaction GIF or keyboard-smashing text or a deeply personal explanation of why you like him better than fellow BTS member Jimin. as well as also sometimes, like a majestic whale surfacing right in front of a paddleboarder, those GIF sets as well as also personal stories break out of the smaller fandom communities as well as also get shared by nonstans just because they’re so well written, or funny, or bizarre. Memes are born by the depths of fandom as well as also take on a life of their own.
of which’s because of which kind of passion as well as also sincerity can be truly appreciated by the larger Tumblr community. of which’s kind of our thing. We recognize of which, hey, of which’s great to just find joy as well as also passion in something. Or, sometimes, these communities do something so strange of which everyone else on Tumblr just stops as well as also blinks — I love you, Sherlock fandom, although y’all have done some deeply weird things.
The Tumblr experience can be unique to each user. At least one-quarter of my Tumblr feed can be just birds. Pictures of birds, GIFs of birds, videos of birds. Why? Because I like birds — as well as also so do countless others. Birblr (bird Tumblr) was the 11th most active community on Tumblr in 2018. I also follow a lot of meme bloggers as well as also various fandom blogs as well. as well as also speaking of the porn ban: To be honest, I’m kind of looking forward to being able to scroll through the Star Wars: The Last Jedi tag without being inundated with art of a naked, fully erect Kylo Ren — no matter how beautifully as well as also intricately detailed of which art might be. Just let me find my GIFs of porgs in peace.
There are very not bad as well as also understandable reasons why the porn ban has upset so many Tumblr users. Many came to know themselves better through Tumblr’s NSFW content: On a platform of which skews toward teens as well as also young adults, people have used Tumblr to come to understand their sexualities, gender identities, as well as also preferences. Sex educators on Tumblr have taught countless people about safe (as well as also fun) sex. as well as also of which’s definitely, definitely cool, as well as also of which’s definitely, definitely sad of which of which will be diminished inside the future. of which’ll be worst for the sex workers who have come to rely on Tumblr in a post-FOSTA era.
I don’t have a solution to all of which. although here’s my tl;dr as someone who’s been on the site daily since 2011: If Tumblr eventually shuts down, of which won’t just be because they banned smut. While Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, as well as also others have all become ever more central to life on the internet, Tumblr has been in relative decline ever since Yahoo bought of which in 2013, as well as also the inability to sell advertising on Tumblr has, I suspect, been the core of Yahoo as well as also currently Verizon’s frustrations with the platform. The powers of which be at Verizon/Oath could decide tomorrow to simply ax the site because of which’s not worth all the drama. although I don’t think of which’ll happen anytime soon. If Tumblr does eventually die, of which’s more likely of which’ll happen because its users just slowly trickle away — especially if a brand-new platform comes along of which allows for a similar amount of freedom, flexibility, as well as also creative expression. as well as also perhaps nudes.
Tumblr, I desire, will remain a place of which brings together people with shared interests — I met both my partner as well as also my best friend on there. I want of which blue hellscape to be around for years to come. I want to meet more cool people, ideally the kind who like to spend their days generating GIF sets of the short-lived late 2000s Fox TV show Lie To Me because they think Tim Roth can be hot. I want to see users continue to dunk on themselves for being anonymous weirdos who never want to leave the beautiful janky site of which connects them to equally strange as well as also wonderful people.
as well as also finally, if any of corporate overlords currently purging the porn are reading of which: Hopefully you can get around to banning the Nazis of Tumblr soon too.