I first came to Tumblr in late 2008, because I was trying to track down a former crush. I was quickly engrossed by its vibrant community of content creators and brilliant thinkers, and how easy the platform made it for me to learn something new every day. As time went by, it also became a place where I made friendships - real, longlasting friendships that still persist today. Hell, I met my best friend here. And my roommate.
Since then, five years have passed and it goes without saying that Tumblr just isn’t the same these days. The technical changes are obvious: the “Featured” page is long gone, Tumblarity lived a brief life and passed without warning, the cost of promoting your blog within a category far surpasses $9 per day, we have tags now, and everyone knows how to make a gif. The less apparent change, though, and the one that’s taken me so long to accept, has been the Tumblr userbase and how it chooses to interact within itself.
Don’t get me wrong: I love political Tumblr, and the mindset of social justice activism that this site was dedicated to for so long. After all, it was through Tumblr that I became a better feminist, a better queer and a better advocate. But what used to be a space where people with different ideals and information could have thoughtful, productive exchanges about the issues that effect us every day has turned into a giant circle jerk of self-congratulatory post spam and click-bait. It’s hard to learn anything here. It’s rare for me to see users actually engaging with the news and social issues, rather than simply 1) endless rehashing of old topics, often in the form of plagiarization or 2) the rush to see who can write the snappiest four-sentence post within an hour of a breaking story and get the most notes for doing so. And god forbid anyone disagrees with anyone else, because Tumblr is an echo chamber for a handful of popular bloggers whose rabid followership makes actual debate and discussion impossible.
Outside of its irritating and toxic community, Tumblr is just a void of masturbatory life-casting. It’s where people go to tell the world about the myriad ways they’re horrible, in hopes that a crowd of 10-20 other people will tell them that being horrible is okay. I fully admit to participating in this sort of behavior over the years, and it’s part of the reason I’m leaving cityofbridges behind indefinitely. Other reasons include:
- I can’t post a photo of myself without it ending up on a porn site.
- I feel like I’ve squeezed all of the meaningful relationships I possibly can out of this site, and to be honest, I have enough friends.
- Most of the people who start following me these days are under the age of 18, and that’s just kind of weird for me, especially given the above-mentioned prevalence of porn here.
- With its massive audience and lack of privacy control options, it’s impossible for me to be honest about not-straight, not-monogamous stuff.
- I have more followers than I’m comfortable with, given that I interact and feel close to about 2% of them and the other 98% remain strangers who for some reason are interested in my emotional rants and selfies, and I don’t need a blog to act as a glass box of my life for passerbys to stare at briefly, make a judgement, and walk away.
That said, I don’t think I’ll be leaving the site entirely. I have already made a new account under a different handle specifically for keeping up with my progress in cosmetology school and creating a portfolio of my work as it goes along. I just don’t see myself needing to share beyond that and at such a personal level anymore, and thus, don’t see myself needing to use this space.
I’ve already reached out to many of you to make connections outside of Tumblr, but in case I haven’t yet and you’d like to stay in touch:
- Twitter (Feelings about life, love and television shows)
- Instagram (Cats, Portland, and my face)
- Facebook Photography Page (For keeping up with my work)
- Personal Facebook (But don’t take it personally if I don’t add you there. It’s where my in-laws live online, and I have to be careful about what they see.)
Otherwise, if this is truly the last time I post here (maybe I’m just menstrual and wired about the start of school and will change my mind) and we never interact again: Thanks, y’all. It’s been a fun, stressful, weird, invasive, and memorable five years.