The End of Tumblr

There was a time when Tumblr was mentioned in the same sentence as Facebook and Twitter. That day has long since passed. Tumblr announced the end of adult content on the platform. Their new guidelines are making the most buzz on the interwebz. I love it when big corporations define adult content:

Adult content primarily includes photos, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples, and any content—including photos, videos, GIFs and illustrations—that depicts sex acts.

Female-Presenting Nipples” is the name of my next band.

As you might have read in other places, this whole exercise is an attempt to get back into the good graces of Apple and the app store which recently kicked the app out because Tumblr was apparently distributing child porn. Child pornography is something that can be defined and removed. Female-presenting nipples” isn’t really child porn, but your mileage may vary.

April Glaser writing for Slate thinks Tumblr should welcome more porn.

…individual Tumblrs that feature adult content generally feel like appreciation pages, because that’s what they are. Go to a Tumblr dedicated to sexy images of women in lingerie, drawings of naked people, queer people making out, or real and different-size women reaching sexual climax and it feels like you’ve found a community of people who like what you like—not one where you have to identify yourself, or be exposed to eye-popping ads about penis size that may also be peddling some nasty malware. It’s no wonder that Tumblr has become a place for people who are curious about their sexuality to explore imagery that they find appealing. Porn is experienced on Tumblr the way a lot of things are experienced on Tumblr, from memes to artworks to history to puns. And that impacted how one might view porn there. Finding pages with dedicated collections of sexual imagery among all the other fan pages made the perfectly normal and healthy activity of enjoying sex and things that make one think about sex feel perfectly normal.

Warren Ellis thinks it might be a tad too early to sign the death certificate for Tumblr.

It’s probably too early right now to wave goodbye to this weird site that started out as a way to monetise the tumblelog style started by other people, something that was maybe a tiiiiny bit skeevy but hey not everyone’s a coder. I remember looking at tumblelogs with envy, and, frankly, no Tumblr theme ever really looked as good as the original tumblelogs.

But, for those who still watch what the internet does, this is probably the flag for Tumblr’s last lap.

I’m not so sure about any of that. I used to use the service as a type of commonplace book. It was easy to add pictures, quotes, videos and the like to a Tumblr blog, but ultimately it was a time suck and interfering with my own creative output. I closed it down and really never looked back.

All of this reminded me of a post C. J. Chilvers wrote a couple of years ago when Verizon bought Tumblr.

This week Tumblr was bought out by Verizon in their deal for Yahoo!. The ink wasn’t dry on the deal when Tumblr posted an announcement that your Tumblr blog will now have ads. You can opt out - for now. 99% won’t, because 99% don’t care.

This is how it works. When you don’t pay for the product, you are the product. Sometimes, even when you pay for the product, you can still be the product, but you may have better options available.

It’s hard not to be the product.

Most creators don’t care, which is maybe why most readers don’t care about most creators. How long can you sustain a business where most of your users don’t care?

I wish I cared as much as the internet. Seriously, it’s way better to own your own little corner of the internet. It doesn’t have to cost much. It honestly shouldn’t. Spend less than $50 or $100 bucks and you’ll have your own space and not just your space in someone else’s pond that can be taken away at any time for no reason.

Good luck.

December 4, 2018


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