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November 13, 2019

Long ago before the great powers of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube ruled the digital land, there was a fifth enigmatic ruler—one which rivaled all other platforms—Tumblr

This multimedia platform matched all others in its capabilities and even outmatched them in how it allowed its users to creatively, sexually, and freely express themselves. Tumblr was a source of all culture; it was even one of the largest source points for the best memes found on the internet.

However on June 20, 2013, Yahoo bought out the platform for $1.1 billion, and in 2018, the platform banned sexually explicit content, which was a final nail in the coffin. 

But this isn’t about Tumblr’s death. I’m here to tell you why it was great!

It had everything

No, seriously—Tumblr had everything. Want your profile to be more writing-centric with written blogs, poetry, or a review on the latest and greatest news in pop culture? You could on Tumblr. Want to upload a film you and your friends made and share it with the world? You could on Tumblr. Want to get ahead of the meme culture curve and watch your own post go viral? You could with Tumblr. Want to drop the link to your latest music project and watch it catch flame because it’s fire? You could with Tumblr. 

It had a near-endless supply of content that sucked you in and kept you there until the need of food and water settled in and you left to get both, maybe only to return and jump down the rabbit hole yet again. Plus, with its cross-platform feature, you could share your work to all of your additional social media sites. 

Style and presence

Tumblr had a unique sense of self. As I mentioned, it was an enigmatic ruler of social media. It had that new-age, edgy, cool kid vibe to it, but it also had a sultry wild side that couldn’t be tamed. It was organized and functional, but also the wild west all at once.

Users could also format and design their profile page with various layouts, designs, and font styles. If you were a coder, you had full range customization of your profile and could make it look however you wanted it to. You were in full control.

Fandoms and followers

Fandoms—both good and bad—were a large part of Tumblr. The people in said fandoms were what made or broke it. However, the vast magnitude of fandoms was quite intriguing. There was one for just about every form of media and piece of content that existed. When you interacted with someone else from a fandom and you hit it off just right, the amount of reblogs that would occur transformed a post of shared interest into a whole new world and story. 

Self-expression

Tumblr also had the reputation of being the app you shouldn’t open in public. The amount of sexually provocative content that was on Tumblr was astounding, but this wasn’t the only form of self-expression that the platform allowed. 

Tumblr offered an outlet for artists of all forms—poets, musicians, singers, graphic designers, you name it—to shine and share their work. There was always a new piece to see when you logged in and checked the notifications on your dashboard. There was always something inspiring or something that hit you in your feels or touched your soul. It was refreshing see to impactful art daily. 

Acceptance and PC culture

If you’ve watched the episode of “The Amazing World of Gumball” where they comically make fun of social justice warriors, you know it was a shot at Tumblr. Tumblr was definitely an early proving ground for political correctness on the internet, and users would often engage in holier-than-thou SJW (social justice warrior) battles. 

Tumblr was a good safe space for a lot of people and communities—a place to vent, to express excitement, to let it all out. With the many fandoms and interest groups that populated Tumblr, it was always easy to find people like you.  

Like all social media platforms, Tumblr was filled with good and bad, but I believe the good prevailed. It was a media platform that took the essences of others and truly made it its own. Tumblr is still around and still a viable social media platform, but after the gutting it took from the ban on sexually explicit content, the legs that Tumblr stood on were cut out from underneath. 

Plus, in the new age of social media, who knows if it could keep up with other new platforms like Tik Tok, Snapchat (which is dying soon) and the still-evolving rulers of social media. But hey—it was fun while it lasted. 

About the Author

Isaiah Luck

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