Tumblr: fracturing communities

One of the biggest problems about Tumblr’s demise is that it will permanently and irreparably fracture the communities that have been built there.

Artists whose content is no longer acceptable on Tumblr (or whose content Tumblr’s bots keep incorrectly identifying as not acceptable, and there are many of them) find themselves with a wide range of other platforms to choose from. And that wide range is a negative, not a positive. Because it doesn’t matter how awesome and welcoming a platform is to a content creator if there isn’t an audience on that platform to consume it.

Sadly, I don’t see that there are any good outcomes. Two weeks isn’t enough time for a critical mass of content creators to rally around a couple of platforms and have their followers follow them there. Instead, content creators will fracture across multiple different platforms, take root, and hope that they aren’t just screaming into the void. Content followers will be forced to create accounts and follow creators across multiple different platforms. And that’s going to be too much work for many people.

It’s generally accepted that the death of Tumblr is inevitable and nigh. It’s sad that they will likely take a large portion of their content creators with them, ironically because there are too many places for the creators to go.

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I'm a gay geek living in Seattle, WA.

2 thoughts on “Tumblr: fracturing communities”

  1. Curated porn streams sourced from around the web without a license isn’t fair use, and that left Tumblr with a legal liability for an audience that thy probably had a hard time monetizing with ads. Copyright infringement was already against their terms of service, but just dropping adult content altogether makes enforcement easier. It also means parental control filters and the like is more likely to lift their ban on all of Tumblr.

    Fracturing the biggest platforms and spreading content is good for competition, creators who get more options, and consumers who get more choice and better privacy from a more decentralized web. You don’t need to use a closed platform to participate on the web. The comment system you have right here on your blog is an example of just that.


    1. I do not consider people who curate porn streams to be content creators. Instead, I am referring to people who actually create content — be it their own porn, erotic art, etc. For these people Tumblr provided a platform where they could find followers and the followers could easily find similar creators and thereby form a community.

      Decentralization is good for system redundancy but at a cost of discoverability, both of a single creator’s content as well as a community of similar creators. A smattering of differing platform URLs does not a community make.

      I view my blog’s comment system as a great example of my point — sure anyone can stop by and comment, but drive-by comments do not foster a community of like-minded people.


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