Some internet culture commentators have kept pace with Tumblr’s ever-evolving ecosystem, but the dominant narrative in recent years is that Tumblr is dead. Journalists will cite running a blog there in the early years – when it seemed like a cooler, more independent option than WordPress or Blogger – and rarely mention social media elements in their decade-plus-old memories. . Likewise, those who cut their teeth in the era of “Tumblrina” – the rise of Your favorite is problematic and the social justice warrior spirit that made Tumblr a punchline to the rest of the Internet – often referencing dynamics (and users) who migrated from the platform to the rest of social media years ago. (That’s not to say that this content has left Tumblr, but it’s everywhere now.)
The ban on pornography has had an undeniable and detrimental effect, particularly for sex workers and NSFW performers whose livelihoods and safety were threatened when they were forced off the site, and I don’t I in no way intend to minimize this. But the suggestion that Tumblr was only about adult content before 2018 is false — and the idea that there’s no adult content now is also false. (Trust me: I see female nipples every day.)
Every time I read a “What is Tumblr” headline, I groan a little, then open Tumblr, where I encounter a vibrant momentum full of beautiful art, genuinely hilarious stories, and some of the things the most unbalanced people I have seen in my life (compliment). Every time I come across a screenshot of a Tumblr post on another site with the caption “hey, remember Tumblr?” I brace myself for the moment when I come across the post on Tumblr itself and learn that it was written two weeks ago, not 2014.
This strange gap between the Internet at large’s perception of the site and reality – despite clear evidence to the contrary – is not necessarily an issue. I strongly believe that our social media spaces would be better if they were less wide. I don’t want everyone to use Tumblr; I want it to work for the people who want to be there.
The answer to Tumblr’s monetization problems might be to focus on the people who want to be there rather than chasing an untapped base of new users. During his Q&A session, Mullenweg revealed that the site has 11.5 million monthly active users, but only 27,000, or just 0.2 percent.became paid supporters at $29.99 per year. “If it was 10 or 20 percent,” he added. “We could run the site forever.” Tumblr isn’t the only platform that has aggressively changed its features in recent years to drive users away from other sites, but it’s one of the only ones that seems interested in a course correction. The solution might be to create a stable stage for all of this Yes and-ing, and in exchange, its users pay to keep the lights on.
It’s been a few days since the big announcement, but when I open my Tumblr dashboard now, I don’t see any mention of it. There are beautiful artworks, hilarious stories, and series of GIF shows that I feel like I’ve now seen by pure osmosis. There is a confusing amount of content on Home, MD (Should I rewatch it too?) The rise and fall of the community creative experience continues – at least for now. Tumblr is still dying, bitch. Let’s go get you some fruit.