The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens
February 17, 2016 7:35 AM   Subscribe

"That feeling when you hit a million followers, make more money than your mom, push a diet pill scheme, lose your blog, and turn 16."
posted by roomthreeseventeen (60 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
 
Content warning: injudicious use of illustrations that load on scroll. Curmudgeons like myself might want to read this one with javascript turned off. (Chrome: Right click, choose 'inspect', hit F1, check Disable JavaScript. Repeat when done.)
posted by zamboni at 8:17 AM on February 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


I enjoyed this as I think I'm about 20yrs too old to 'get' Tumblr (though I find the 'lifting community' fascinating) and I find it a bit depressing that all these cries du coeur and digital shrines/fanzines are being discussed as viral marketers. Also, 'fill your heart with bees' is excellent advice at any age.
posted by mippy at 8:25 AM on February 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


Um, scuze me, but the illustrations are adorable. Ghost pizzas? Raspberry rainbow dream land? Pizzilluminati? gtfo with your javascript hate.
posted by phunniemee at 8:26 AM on February 17, 2016 [27 favorites]


injudicious use of illustrations that load on scroll

Yeah. That article was long. Somewhere around green pizza, I just started scrolling for the images. 🍕
posted by slipthought at 8:26 AM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Holy hell do we need anti-trust laws with teeth
posted by The Whelk at 8:28 AM on February 17, 2016 [7 favorites]


The culture of Tumblr began to be dominated by teens—weird teens.

And this is exactly what would have made Tumblr so appealing for me if it had existed when I was a teenager. I am a very sporadic Tumblr visitor but I often enjoy what I see and knowing that there are weird teens behind a bunch of funny cool stuff? Rock on.

(As a former weird teen, I am still trying to figure out how to make a living as a weird adult.)
posted by Kitteh at 8:28 AM on February 17, 2016 [23 favorites]


Also, the echoes of the previous two boom and bust tech bubbles.
posted by The Whelk at 8:29 AM on February 17, 2016


(haven't made it through the whole article yet)

I was a veryyyyyy early adopter of Tumblr back in 2006 or 2007 or whenever it started. Back then it was mostly Olds like me who used Tumblr as a depository for images we liked. A lot of designers and artists and photographers, just kinda dropping pictures into the void. At least it felt like a bit of a void. Maybe a few people would fave your picture, but it wasn't about a community, you know? It was a scrapbook.

It's sure changed in the past ten years.

I really like it, even though at 36 I sometimes nearly sprain my eyes for the eyerolling. It makes me both glad and sad that social media didn't exist like this when I was 13. Livejournal didn't become a thing until I was in college, but god knows I made the most of it at the time. I especially am fascinated by how fandom has evolved from my early days using yahoo groups and geocities fan sites to its current tumblr incarnation. Tumblr has helped normalize fandom for (especially) young women in the past 10 years in a way that not even Livejournal could do.

I sometimes think these teens will have a rude awakening when Tumblr dies, because all things die, and they've yet to experience when that happens to a platform they love.
posted by Windigo at 8:30 AM on February 17, 2016 [13 favorites]


Also tumblr is the only thing that keeps me hip and with it these days. Ok, not hip and with it, but at least I understand the slang and interests and the cultural dramas of the under-25 set somewhat still.

/insert DrEvilTuckaTuckaDance.gif
posted by Windigo at 8:33 AM on February 17, 2016 [8 favorites]


This was a fascinating read about an entire subculture I did not know existed, well written and maybe a bit twee with its presentation (but I appreciated the presentation nonetheless). I had no knowledge of any of this at all. Truly a worthwhile FPP. Thanks for posting!
posted by hippybear at 8:42 AM on February 17, 2016 [7 favorites]


Like maybe it would be nice if we didn't make it so easy to enlist children into Ponzi schemes? or maybe we can't cause the entire country is a short con.
posted by The Whelk at 9:02 AM on February 17, 2016 [10 favorites]


" I sometimes think these teens will have a rude awakening when Tumblr dies, because all things die, and they've yet to experience when that happens to a platform they love."

If we knew what it meant to lose those people, connections, activities, life itself before we ever loved at all, too few of us would ever dare to open our hearts to the most amazing journey one can take in this realm. Everyone will learn of heartache soon enough--- when in love, one may as well enjoy every last drop of the experience. The aftermath will arrive and bring the ache regardless of how much one prepares or ruminates on it. I don't think Kublar ross was any better prepared than anyone else, changed her ideas entirely when faced with her own passing.

Let them enjoy it. And if/when it dies, in their sorrow they will rebuild new things, they will find the old connections in new ways. Something new, maybe something better will surface and reconnect and rejuvenate all the good.

Perhaps in a long while when metafilter passes into that great internet platform resting place in the sky- it will birth a thousand babies from all the love that has happened here and shine down on them all from above. Nothing you love, will ever really leave you. You just have to pick it back up and make it come back to life in new ways.
posted by xarnop at 9:02 AM on February 17, 2016 [15 favorites]


I didn't say I was gonna dance on their digital graves. I said it'll suck for them. Gosh.
posted by Windigo at 9:07 AM on February 17, 2016 [18 favorites]


Heh... sometimes I get lost on the train of the highway of life. Which has tracks. How did these train tracks get on the highway? Who put them there? Isn't this against safety regulations? Perhaps I could ramble philosophically about it.
posted by xarnop at 9:14 AM on February 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


Fascinating. I semi-regularly visit some tumblr blogs and it is true that they provide the kind of interactions that haven't existed yet several years ago for maladapted/socially unfit teenagers (me, past); and that's a good thing in my book.
posted by tirta-yana at 9:18 AM on February 17, 2016


I sometimes think these teens will have a rude awakening when Tumblr dies, because all things die, and they've yet to experience when that happens to a platform they love.

That's what it is to be a teenager, generally. No, you haven't seen a social media platform die. You haven't usually lost a parent, most people won't even have lost grandparents. You won't usually have had the major social shift that comes from picking up and moving a significant distance from your old friends. There's a lot of hard things you won't have been through at that point, but when those changes do start to happen, most kids manage it okay.

I actually don't worry at all about the teenagers, they'll be fine. I worry a bit about me, in my 30s, and how many more times in my life I'm going to have to deal with that kind of upheaval. I like a lot of the culture of Tumblr, but I don't like the platform at all compared to LJ, and I was a bit iffy about LJ compared to where I'd come from before that. I worry that fandom's getting relegated more and more to services that're about consumption instead of about actually interacting with other people. I doubt the teenagers will notice much if the next big thing is a little less functional, but I will. It's more and more about this one person who gets half a million notes than about what the people you actually follow think and feel. I follow all these people I'd like to be friends with, but I'm not friends with them. I'm just following them.

If the next model's one that's actually better than this, maybe it won't be something the kids see as a tragedy--maybe it'll be more like going off to college, the sort of big change that's exciting instead of fearful and sad, because you know what's coming next is going to let you do more than you could before.
posted by Sequence at 9:19 AM on February 17, 2016 [9 favorites]


Great article.
posted by My Dad at 9:19 AM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


That piece did something I've been noticing more and more in Metafilter links.

It states a theme -- in this case Pizza's rise and fall -- abandons it abruptly without coming anywhere near resolving it; states other related themes and develops them somewhat before returning to the original Pizza theme and relating it a bit to the new one; then another theme and etcetera; so you have all these related and cross-connected story arcs going along, and at the climax they all mesh together and reinforce each other, the Pizza theme is finally fully resolved along with everything else, and done.

It's like listening to a Beethoven symphony.
posted by jamjam at 9:34 AM on February 17, 2016 [8 favorites]


Back then it was mostly Olds like me who used Tumblr as a depository for images we liked. A lot of designers and artists and photographers, just kinda dropping pictures into the void. At least it felt like a bit of a void. Maybe a few people would fave your picture, but it wasn't about a community, you know? It was a scrapbook.

This is how I still use it. It is still the best platform I've found to save little scraps and daubs of things for my (and a very few followers that share certain amorphous interests) amusement and to share things I'd rather not broadcast on other, more social (at least to me) sites.
posted by Chrischris at 9:36 AM on February 17, 2016


This was a great piece - true to its subjects, interested and thoughtful but unjudgmental. I had no idea about the shitty protections that exist for users from the ad perspective - of course Tumblr terminates any blog it wants to, but AdSense refusing to pay out feels more Wrong somehow.

I love Tumblr for all it is, and I would love to see more writing like this exploring the culture side of it, rather than the virality-as-a-business side. It's a really fascinating environment for teens to figure out their ideas and politics; much of the maligned so-called Tumblr culture is just teenagers trying on identities, pushing them to the extreme, and discovering what fits and what doesn't. And in a world like Tumblr, there is such a variety of ideas for kids to try out, which can be so great.

I don't visit as regularly anymore when I am stressed and busy with work, but it is one of the few places on the internet where I can go and waste 20 minutes and come away feeling cheerful and relaxed rather than resentful and angry about the state of the world. Fandom gifs and mash-ups and beautiful illustrations from artists and baby animals mashed into one long stream have a way of doing that for you.
posted by Phire at 9:36 AM on February 17, 2016 [16 favorites]


It's like listening to a Beethoven symphony.

It's like reading a longform New Yorker article, to be honest.
posted by hippybear at 9:39 AM on February 17, 2016 [7 favorites]


“Increasingly, the lingua franca is absurdist dada,” explained Strle, usually rendered in the uncapitalized and unpunctuated casualness of instant messages.

I can't believe this lady stole this comment and didn't 01) link back to it and 02) didn't even use the whole post comparing nightblogging to shitposting, im so mad
posted by poffin boffin at 9:39 AM on February 17, 2016 [11 favorites]


I remember reading an article a while back where someone mourned the loss of the Geocities and MySpace aesthetics. They've clearly never spent much time on Tumblr.
posted by SansPoint at 9:50 AM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


I was one of the mass of StumbleUpon émigrés to Tumblr after the former went to shit for the 11th or 12th time. I am way older than the average Tumblr, so it's not a perfect fit as a platform for what I post. That said, it's an interesting vantage point from which to view other Net cultures, fads and movements. Like, wow, that many people want to show off their bullet journals. OK, cool. Tumblr is not perfect and seriously has the most crap messaging system I've encounter. As if they were trying to take the "social" out of social media. But it's home for now, if any MeFites want to stop by and say hi.
posted by the sobsister at 9:54 AM on February 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


It amazes me that people's emotional and linguistic intelligence burns so bright and so early compared to our ability to understand, assimilate, and then apply new or or unfamiliar or abstract information or ideas, or to be self-critical in a way that's distinct from the critiques we get directly from other people as we're growing up.

Like, for example, when Jess Miller/Pizza used the word "nigga" in one of her posts; she's Australian, and she was 16 when she did that. She'd built a huge following because she's smart and savvy and thoughtful about things she already knows -- the pressures and intolerable absurdities of being a teenaged girl, for example, or the inherent weirdness of being a human being. So when she says, about her use of the n-word, that

i’m so frustrated and disgusted at my 13 year old self for thinking that it was acceptable, especially now after I have taken history and we had a whole semester on civil rights and slavery in america and to have a better understanding of the racial issues which were and are still present in america m

you suddenly remember that, oh yeah, she was a kid. "Now that I've taken history"! It's sort of surreal.
posted by clockzero at 10:05 AM on February 17, 2016 [22 favorites]


I sometimes think these teens will have a rude awakening when Tumblr dies, because all things die, and they've yet to experience when that happens to a platform they love.

It's owned by yahoo. It will die forever.
posted by srboisvert at 10:07 AM on February 17, 2016 [16 favorites]


she was 16 when she did that.

She was 16 when people dug it back up and gave her shit for it. She was 13 when used that word in her posts.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:11 AM on February 17, 2016


She was 16 when people dug it back up and gave her shit for it. She was 13 when used that word in her posts.

Ah, my mistake; but I think that strengthens the point I was trying to make.
posted by clockzero at 10:15 AM on February 17, 2016


Oh man, yes, that's also what drives me nuts about people hating on Tumblr users for being twee/dramatic/naive/ironic/whatever. They're wee tiny babies! Sure, teenagers are annoying to Olds, but... wee tiny babies.
posted by Phire at 10:24 AM on February 17, 2016 [11 favorites]


Oh man, yes, that's also what drives me nuts about people hating on Tumblr users for being twee/dramatic/naive/ironic/whatever. They're wee tiny babies! Sure, teenagers are annoying to Olds, but... wee tiny babies.

Yeah; it's easy to forget this because we (even those of us who lived through LiveJournal and Myspace) still often default to thinking of "media voices" and even really just "public voices" as being adults. It's some old-media vestigial understanding that is surprisingly hard to shake.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:40 AM on February 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


you suddenly remember that, oh yeah, she was a kid. "Now that I've taken history"! It's sort of surreal.

Grew up in southern NM. Elementary school was 65% Hispanic/Latino, with maybe 3 or 4 African-American students across the K-6 student population. Wide mix of class standing -- migrant workers to lower-upper-class. Fantastic arena in which to grow up, although it was impossible to know at the time, when you're 5-13 years old, exactly how great it was.

Well, great except for the one demographically-not-available-unit that is important to growing up in the US -- black Americans. Zero context for that growing up (a thing that continued basically through the end of high school for me -- we just didn't have many African-American families living in the city at all).

When I was in 5th grade, so I was like 11 or 12 years old, some of my friends were talking in late Spring about the kinds of fireworks they liked to have for 4th of July. One of my favorite light-at-home fireworks had always been those little cylinders you set on the ground and light a fuze and it dashes along the ground in an erratic pattern emitting a high pitched whistle and then finally explodes after a few seconds of rapid movement.

I came home from school that day after talking with my classmates and asked my dad if we could be sure to get some "nigger chasers" for fireworks later that year. I was punished without any context or understanding of anything other than the fact that using the word "nigger" was a bad thing. I had no idea what the word meant or why it was bad. I was just punished for using it. This was in the late 70s.

There is a lot that 11, 12, 13-year-olds don't know about the world, especially when they have zero context for the words they are learning. I learned that word from classmates at a school where "niggers" weren't even a significant part of the population, and when I took it home I had no idea that it was at all negative. It was probably another decade before I learned exactly why it was a bad word to use.

That a young person, barely even a tween, who lives in a completely different country, having been exposed widely to modern rap music (which didn't exist when I was in elementary school), who has a completely different context for skin-color-based racism (I don't even know what the Australian equivalent for "nigger" might be, and I don't need to have it explained to me in this discussion, despite knowing that similar racism exists in Australia)...

Honestly, I am glad that she had a history class which educated her out of using that word, and that she had this as part of her school curriculum, and that she grew as a person as a result of her education.

That she used it as (basically) a child doesn't surprise me at all. I also learned to flip a truly classic "bird" by putting a pencil behind my index and ring fingers and sticking the middle one up straight, and was proud to have learned to do it without the pencil. And the level of punishment/wrath from my father the first time I showed him my new skill (at the age of 10 or 11) was far outside my experience of what doing something with my hand could generate. I didn't know what it meant, I just knew it was 1) insulting and 2) cool to learn how to do.

Kids are small vessels free of cultural context, and they require education (history class, etc) in order to understand exactly what the new things they have incorporated into their encyclopedia of expression actually mean. What you learn from the schoolyard, or from the music you listen to, or whatever... that is not free of baggage. You just don't know how heavy and fraught the baggage is until you get called out for it. Whether it's by the internet or your parents, it's always a shock.

I don't find this surreal at all. I find it entirely natural as part of the education process, and entirely understandable. Neither of my transgressions took place on a global platform, neither of them could be summoned up as a documented part of my past to be used against me by strangers. I think that part is the most surreal of all.
posted by hippybear at 10:43 AM on February 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


I have a tumblr in my 30s and I love it. For a mish mash of my wierd interests and connection to some interesting pagan communities (and the drama that I'm way to old for).

It is fun, curating my dash is easy, and I can mindlessly relax. I keep my own blog which hit 1000 followers which makes me oddly proud.
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:43 AM on February 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


I find the anonymity of Tumblr quite nostalgic - a throwback to the days when we were all warned never to use your real name or details online. What's the modern equivalent of the chatroom - Facebook Chat? Good luck signing up to Facebook with a 'false name'.
posted by mippy at 10:45 AM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Lol facebook, real name wait what?

Though everybody knows what my fake name is and now I have to explain at length when someone wants to friend me.

But atleast my workplace can't Google me.

And my fake name now shows up in identity databases.
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:55 AM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


The weird thing about Tumblr, and specifically analysis of "tumblr culture" is that you can use Tumblr and never come across any of this. For me, Tumblr is an image aggregator, mostly architecture, menswear, and vintage graphic design ephemera. Occasionally, there's a glimmer of other stuff on the periphery, but it's pretty easy to zoom right past it if you choose to do so.

Of course, if you choose to take that detour, there's some fascinating rabbit holes to fall down. If Teen Outcast Tumblr is the dominant culture, I guess I'll take their word for it. But unlike the other main Social Media outlets, it really is choose your own adventure.

With that said, this tweet was pretty hilariously spot on...

TWITTER: donald trump is a horrible person

FACEBOOK: i like donald trump because im racist

TUMBLR: bernie sanders choke me daddy

posted by billyfleetwood at 10:59 AM on February 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


I don't reblog stuff on my Tumblr, I just post pictures of the stuff I make. I'm not sure how I can improve my shares, so am happy to have ~450 followers and posts that get 50-100 notes on them.

The pressure to reach and maintain 1 million followers? That would have killed me as a teen.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:59 AM on February 17, 2016


I'm so glad tumblr wasn't around when I was a teen - one more thing to fail at.
posted by betweenthebars at 11:40 AM on February 17, 2016


I read a bit of the post. Got bored.
Read some comments here. Saw that people were impressed, and gave the post a second chance.
Got bored again. Skimmed it until I got to the green pizza page. Still not interested.
Read the last paragraph. That was interesting.
Scrolled back to read the last couple paragraphs.
Scrolled back to read the preceding paragraphs.
Eventually read backwards until I was back at the green pizza, then read the article forward. This time I was fascinated by this hidden world.

Somehow, this non-linear approach worked. - and it seems oddly appropriate to the topic.

Meanwhile, in the back of my mind, I'm thinking: you can make money off of tumblr??? I thought it was just for porn.
posted by kanewai at 11:58 AM on February 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


I thought it was just for porn.

Now we know where you're getting your tumblr links...

But yeah, it's like reddit in that there's very disparate communities using a common platform.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:06 PM on February 17, 2016


Oh yeah, tumblr has the best porn.
posted by Windigo at 12:08 PM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Tumblr doesn't have porn unless you're casually browsing Tumblr on your phone while you're in public, standing in line within close proximity to people - then it's just penises and nipples all the way down.
posted by littlesq at 12:46 PM on February 17, 2016 [21 favorites]


I can attest this tumblr porn phenomenon is so so true.
posted by AlexiaSky at 1:23 PM on February 17, 2016


> It makes me both glad and sad that social media didn't exist like this when I was 13.

I'm 42 and literally everyone my age I've talked to about this gives thanks to the deity of their choice that social media did not exist when we were that age.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:39 PM on February 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


the worst offenders are tumblrs that are 90% art and architecture and history but 10% Naked People so it's like porn Russian roulette
posted by The Whelk at 1:47 PM on February 17, 2016 [11 favorites]


You know, I was about to comment and say, "You can't mention that you're on tumblr and not share a link so that I can follow you! Here's mine:" But then I realized that that totally defeats the purpose of anonymity. So just know, I would follow you all if I knew who you were.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 2:06 PM on February 17, 2016


Oh, and I loved the article. I have been on tumblr since the extremely early years (2007), and the character of the userbase has changed so much, but I actually prefer the shitposting and absurdist humor to the hipsterish content that used to dominate. It's really refreshing.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 2:09 PM on February 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm several decades beyond my teens but still thrill at the idea of having over 111,000 followers on tumblr.

That said - I really miss livejournal.

LJ truly embodied community like no other platform.

And I miss it like a long lost friend.
posted by hoodrich at 2:14 PM on February 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


So just know, I would follow you all if I knew who you were.

Check people's profiles. There's an option to link your tumblr account in the "Also On" section.

Though fair warning, I sometimes post pictures of naked people (but only on weekends, because I'm classy).
posted by Windigo at 3:15 PM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm a super late adopter of tumblr, as in, I started using it two months ago.*

The thing that took the most getting used to was the whole reblogging idea, and as a result, just how quickly things build up steam. On livejournal, for example, the only metrics for popularity were the number of friends you had and comments on your posts. (Maybe I'm forgetting something; it's been awhile since the LJ days.) But on tumblr, a post can go from zero notes to 100 in so little time!

The whole thing still feels kind of strange to me but it definitely is a pretty vibrant and interesting place, which does seem to be tailor made for fandom use, among other things. Although to be honest, it didn't even occur to me until this FPP that it had this kind of money earning/commercial potential.

Anyway, as a one time weird teen, I say more power to them. One of my favorite things about the internet (other than metafilter) is that it's an outlet for people who just don't have the space to express themselves this freely in the rest of the world.

*Okay, I actually got a tumblr account a year ago, and promptly forgot about it, until I recently decided to join tumblr and discovered that I had in fact already joined.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:20 PM on February 17, 2016


Meanwhile, in the back of my mind, I'm thinking: you can make money off of tumblr??? I thought it was just for porn.

This was pretty much my first response to the article as well, except substitute "fandom" for porn.

Although, to be fair, there's a pretty large portion of fandom that's devoted to porn/erotica.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:34 PM on February 17, 2016


That said - I really miss livejournal.

LJ truly embodied community like no other platform.

And I miss it like a long lost friend.


Sometimes I imagine an alternate reality where Livejournal had been agile enough to adopt reblogging as a mechanism at the right time and take the wind out of tumblr's sails before it eclipsed it entirely.

Then again, Livejournal lost as much to Facebook and internet trends in general, so it probably wouldn't have been enough.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:53 PM on February 17, 2016


It's sort of weird/funny how despite the swift viral spread of posts on Tumblr, you can still totally miss out on this kind of huge drama. I had no idea any of this happened, or who pizza was or anything.

I still miss LJ too. I sort of waited as long as possible to follow the rest of fandom to tumblr before LJ/DW became more or less fannish wastelands, and I'm still kind of resentful about it. I like how it's easier to have a sort of baseline low participation level on tumblr, but I'm not sure it's good for the overall fandom discourse. For every great post, there are a ton that just feel like people shouting at each other. Plus, the lack of friends lock or filters has I think led to a sort of toxic seepage of the kind of shit we usually kept under lock to spare our friends/the greater fandom our petty wanks. Oh well, the fandom circle of life moves us all.

In case anyone's interested, my tumblr is linked in my profile and is (still) about 66% weeping about Marvel superheroes by volume. The other 33% is Hamilton and HP and assorted nonsense I guess.
posted by yasaman at 5:04 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh I love weeping over MCU superheroes!
posted by Windigo at 5:17 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


I miss being able to friendslock posts. Sometimes I have stuff to say to just the 30 or so mutuals I've kept from 12 years ago on lj and I'd rather not just throw it out into the world of 5,000 total strangers, some of whom have been very creepy wrt irl behavior and boundaries in the past.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:18 PM on February 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


Also: Naming a Radical Queer Girl Tumblr Aesthetic (semi self-link; I got interviewed for this)
posted by divabat at 6:10 PM on February 17, 2016


Poetry, in the last paragraph:

Having spent several years among teens who have freely laid bare their inside jokes, their Facebook messages, and their deepest thoughts, I think there are three phases of understanding the teens. At first you loathe the teens, because you know nothing about them and think they’re idiots, beneath you. Then you love the teens because you figure out they are smarter than you, and you make peace with the death of your cultural relevance, because you know you’ll be in good hands. Finally, you recognize the shape of the adults they’ll become, corrupted by money and vanity and hubris just like everyone else. And you’ll see yourself in them because they’re relatable: That moment you realize the teens are just like you.
posted by spec at 10:12 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


My experience as someone who's tumblr was about 1/3rd bisexuality stuff was that the earnest self-righteousness ends up in a lot of quixotic pissing matches. "How dare they come to a different interpretation of that character, that's erasure!" "Why do bihets show up for LGBT events anyway?" "If you deny straight-passing privilege you're denying the existence of homophobia!" "Inclusive definitions of bisexuality are pan erasure!"

At some point I got tired of playing filter-list whack-a-mole and moved to wordpress for several months, and I'm working on further move to a hugo-based system.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:59 AM on February 18, 2016


I guess I do whatever the equivalent is of "lurking" on Tumblr. I only created an account to follow things I find interesting. I don't recall precisely, but it might have been Phil Noto's art blog that drew me there in the first place.

Since then, I've fallen down random rabbit-holes and my dashboard is a strange mixture of comic book artists, disney fans, photos of old destroyed buildings, etc.

the worst offenders are tumblrs that are 90% art and architecture and history but 10% Naked People so it's like porn Russian roulette

It is for this reason that I don't browse Tumblr while I'm at work. Actually it's blocked on my work network, but I don't even look at it on my phone. I don't need a trip to speak with HR.
posted by Fleebnork at 9:26 AM on February 18, 2016


Spec, I love that last paragraph too. This line, "Finally, you recognize the shape of the adults they’ll become, corrupted by money and vanity and hubris just like everyone else." especially, because it echoes a beautiful sentence from Alice Monroe's "Dear Life":
"That girl had grown up to preen and bargain like the rest of them."
posted by of strange foe at 12:30 PM on February 18, 2016


I really enjoyed that article. I actually have a tumblr but am old and don't use it correctly in that I don't reblog anything but simply post original photos of flowers. Anyway, my photos usually get like 10 or 20 likes. One particular photo of some thorns got picked up by the sad goth crowd and quickly shot up to close to 1,000 likes and reposts. This past week it has making inroads into the huge-into-anime crowd.

Now to monetize it...
posted by misterpatrick at 1:52 PM on February 18, 2016


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