Tumblr: A Stupid Written Oral History
Hey, so uh, Tumblr. It sucks. From 2010-2016 it was a gathering ground for hipsters who were too cool to call themselves hipsters and an opposing group of predominantly young adult girls who were horny for White, British men. Although it was born in 2007, it was three years before Tumblr gathered this accursed fanbase, and scattered among the Anglophiles were disparate collections of furries, bronies, and weebs who were ready and willing to shill their creations while gathering clout through shitposts. Everyone was gay and we all knew it was garbage, but there was no other place on the Internet that combined its properties of earnest innocence and unfiltered autism, and its loss is a loss for the Internet.
“But Froge”, you say, “you unfiltered autist, Tumblr is still alive! You can go on the Internet and visit Tumblr. It’s at https://www.tumblr.com/. You can make an account. You can look at the furries and bronies and weebs, because you are a brony and furry and weeb. You can be gay, because you are gay. And since your loss will be no loss for anyone, what right do you have to complain about Tumblr’s death?”
It’s true. Tumblr is still alive, insofar as a baby is alive, or maybe a small worm. It exists out of inertia while no longer having an identity of its own, with the halcyon days of unadulterated cringe giving way to fluff memes and aesthetic posts that offer little content for anyone outside of morons. The website is effectively Reddit, subsisting off stolen content and being dominated by various blogs whose only purpose is devoted to reposting content for various demographics, including blog names that are straight-up subreddit names. Even so, Reddit has developed its own identity while Tumblr lost theirs, where Reddit has gained an influx of young users similar to Tumblr’s former fanbase, and Tumblr find its aging userbase unable to attract young talent because it doesn’t offer anything you can’t get anywhere else. In this sense, Reddit and Tumblr has swapped roles as the boogeyman of the Internet, where Tumblr was once upon a time the breeding ground for the spooky scary SJWs and the Homosexual Agenda coming to ruin video games by making more than 0.1% of franchises have a gay character, and Reddit now fulfilling the role of the annoying teenage brother who pretends to be woke about politics while showing you cat videos on his cell phone and only occasionally expresses interest in gassing the Jews.
Reddit, Reddit, Reddit. You hear that word so much on 4chan the phrase “back to Reddit” is banned by the spam filter. Reddit is everything a contrarian hates. Its memes are shite, its culture is normcore, and the teenagers infesting Reddit insist the 18th most popular website in the world is this secret site for cool kids and hipsters that can’t be tainted by the outside world, all while making fun of those cringe cringe unbased Instagram normies who steal unkekking iFunny maymays and repost our stanky dank fajita top kek pepe meems. The worst part of Reddit culture is memes talking about posting on Reddit, and even worse than that are memes posted on Reddit making fun of Redditors posting on Reddit, such as Le Average Redditor, Top Kek Rebbit Moments, and the assorted collection of ironic circlejerk subreddits who are all crabs in a bucket and yet claim superiority by virtue of being slightly on top of some other crabs, declaring them King of the Crabs, similar to Peter Griffin declaring himself King of the Black People. Alright, now this is an epic reference, can we get 4 updoots for heckin’ Chonky Boi Peter Chungus?
Of course, going on 4chan greets you with ten trillion Soyjacks and ten trillion and one Pepes, and you realise every social network sucks, all the time, forever. Back in my day the cancer was Facebook and 9GAG. If you were on an anime board posting something with a Memebase watermark, you’d be kidnapped on a catbus and made to watch Lucky Star until you could sing Motteke! Sailor Fuku! without missing a beat. Every website has a rivalry with another website of a similar fashion even when they shovel the same type of prolefeed, and the hatred 4chan has for websites they perceive as “normie” is merely a projection of their own incredibly incestuous and genetically-stagnant culture. The basic principles of making an ass of yourself for replies, using stale memes for clout, and appealing to the most basic-level lowest-common-denominator masses for the sake of pretending you have any influence in the world is universal among every single social network. Childhood is thinking your Internet community is special. Adulthood is realising we’re all Redditors at heart.
That’s where Tumblr comes in. You see, back in 2010, there wasn’t really a Reddit as we know it. It existed, but it was mostly composed of Internet nerds reposting stale content from websites that were far more successful at milking idiots for ad revenue, such as I Can Haz Cheezburger and eBaum’s World. Reddit was so small it wasn’t worth getting mad about, and the biggest-dick meme maker around was actually YouTube, which didn’t have anything to hate because it was an uploading platform rather than a unified community. Before 2010, Internet rivalries barely existed, and Western meme culture more or less siphoned off each other in this weird unity of Something Awful, YouTube, 4chan, and YTMND all bouncing ideas off each other while still possessing a fascination with the much more advanced memes created by Japanese sites like 2channel, Futaba Channel, and NicoNicoDouga. The Western weeaboo fascination with Japan is similar to the fascination a new Internet user has when they first discover 4chan, being something totally new and unique and different and they’ve never seen it before omgbbqroflcopterz!!1! Of course, the 4channers stealing memes from the Japanese is like the Redditors stealing memes from them in 2020. The Internet is a flat circle, and nothing ever changes.
So when Tumblr gained popularity in 2010 with a radically new culture involving endless fangirling over everything under the sun, other Internet communities took notice and started recoiling in horror. Their first mistake was being women, and their second mistake was being so goddamn extra. Jesus Fucking Christ, just look at this “tumblr heritage posts” blog. Every post is an accursed relic combing the worst aspects of White girls with the worst aspects of the Internet in general, being simultaneously horny, cheesy, racist, patronising, gullible, hyperactive, holier-than-thou, and just plain silly. Random dance parties would happen every half-hour and your dashboard would be flooded with 50 GIFs in a row if you were caught in the middle of it. Memes on Tumblr would either be immediately and explosively popular across the entire website then die out one day later, like the Thwompocalypse or the Mishapocalypse, or tortuously dragged out over months and months until you learn to like it, such as everyone being ironically horny for the Onceler until you learned it wasn’t ironic and we really wanted to fuck a Dr. Suess character (YES, “WE”). If you don’t remember the word “SuperWhoLock”, you have survived Tumblr’s existence without a scratch. You also missed out on “Bee Shrek Test in the House”, but you can’t win ’em all.
Put simply, Tumblr was fucking, fucking, fucking, fucking, mad, mad, mad, mad, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, use it. That was the warning cry against anyone who dare step foot outside their safe space and explore what the Tumblrites were up to, because they would be immediately assaulted with photoshopped gifsets of conventionally-attractive British actors combined with rage comics and obsolete YouTubers next to bad anime, Disney movies, and crackships so atrocious and ill-considered it makes Goku × Anne Frank look as tame as Connieverse. This is the website that kickstarted the Minions craze of all things. You take one step onto Tumblr, see this post, and immediately blow your brains out. Tumblr was a declassified cognitohazard designed as a weapon of psychic warfare against the primitive Internet tribes, yet its wielders were tainted by its unbridled power and became the very weapon they sought to abuse.
And this wasn’t just a case of a small group of autists ruining things for the rest of the website, like bronies ruined 4chan until they got their own containment board then spent nine years overdosing on Copium over Haber making everything Canon. Everyone was like this. You know how reposts on Reddit crop up every few days, and obscure porn generals on 4chan are just the same few pictures shown over and over? Tumblr’s like that, only reposts showed up every ten minutes and those same few pictures could be shown off hundreds of thousands of times. Every time someone you followed reblogged a post, you got to see that post over and over again, and if you didn’t like scrolling through the colour of the sky after it was reblogged for the sixth millionth time, then tough luck. The reblogs will continue until morale improves. Once in a while there’d be a new twist to the post where you’d expect to scroll through eighty gifs of Timothy Scratch-and-Sniff, except this time they’d all be replaced by Mr. Bean or monkeys beating the shit out of each other or something. Tumblr was ahead of its time when it came to shitposting. They had to have been, because the website was shit.
There’s a lot of fantastic incidents regarding Tumblr culture, all documented within the walls of the Heritage Posts Tumblog, and there’s a reason they don’t accept submissions after 2015. The period from 2010-2015 was Tumblr, in all its insane, schizophrenic glory. After the Dashcon festival came onto the scene in 2014 and urinated in Tumblr’s collective ball pit, as recounted in Internet Historian’s “The Failure of Dashcon” video, it was immediately and obviously apparant that Tumblr as a collective entity has peaked, there was nothing in the future to look forward to, and all we had left was to breathe out our last hurrahs as Tumblr deflated into a neglected and unloved property, kept alive out of pity, no purpose to its name. The golden years were over, and it was clear to see the age of darkness was upon us. There’s no light at the end of this tunnel. Exit out the gift shop, folks. Tumblr University is adjourned.
ヾ (= ^ ▽ ^ =) ノ A Brief History of Dashcon! (≖‿ ゝ ≖)
Remember that warning about Tumblr users being fucking, fucking, fucking, fucking, mad, mad, mad, mad? As expected, exposing a mass mob of socially-inept teenage dorks to the outside world has about the same effect as exposing 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate to the city of Beirut. Outside the padded blue walls of Daddy Karp’s special safe space, the unrestrained outpouring of autism caused the convention organisers to buckle under the weight of their own self-indulgence. They booked a convention centre without any dosh, begged their attendees to donate $17,000 within a few hours, then told their guests of honour to pay for their own hotel rooms. Minors got admitted into porn panels, copyrighted material was played without proper license, and attendees sent death threats to the few remaining panellists who hadn’t bailed out mid-convention. All of this happened over one weekend. Also the $17,000 was probably an exit scam, but then every Tumblr fundraiser is a scam.
Guests were compensated with an extra hour in the ball pit. The one with piss in it.
Dashcon immediately became “The Room” of conventions — an effort so astonishingly incompetent we look on in reverence rather than hatred. Where other legendary bad conventions like Fyre Festival elicit only scorn, Dashcon became a shining relic of fail, so terrible in both execution and concept that we find ourselves laughing with the poor victims rather than laughing at them. The ball pit became a Tumblr celebrity, Scamcon became a fandom in itself, and all were celebrating the months-long fallout, laughing, crying, and cringing with the rest of the world. Tumblr was no longer some coked-out Internet thing! This was real life! The mainstream media got a piece of the action, hordes of tourists came in to see what the hell type of website could inspire such debauchery, and Tumblr, for the worse, was changed forever.
Into the toilet I go
Tumblr’s chronology roughly went from the 2007-2009 Ancient Era, the 2010-July 2014 Classical Era, the August 2014-2015 Late Antiquity, the 2016-2018 Medieval Era, the 2019 Rapture, and finally the 2020-present Dark Ages. Dashcon may have screwed the pooch in 2014, but it was a year and a half before it took it out back and sent it to Uncle Billy’s farm. There were still stanky memes from the post-Dashcon era, but we all knew the end of our golden age was over. We went from obsessing over every fandom under the sun to realising the consequences of our hubris and being more muted in what memes we chose to spread in earnest. The community took a distinctly ironic bent in 2015, with memes such as Harry Styles × Obama and Constable Frozen’s insane Photoshop posts defining this brief period of time. It was the last hurrah for a website that couldn’t take itself seriously anymore. Not after Dashcon. Not after the ball pit.
If you wanted to, you could define Tumblr by the period of time John Green was on it. For those of you lucky souls, John Green was the thirty-something bestselling author of mediocre young adult fantasy who was a self-confessed nerd and wrote his characters as such in situations usually involving medical trauma and what we now know as “mumblecore”. He was also White, which is why his Tumblr blog “fishingboatproceeds” became the most famous URL on the platform, outside the Tumblr staff showing up every few days to be laughed at. While his dorky antics were appealing if slightly-unnerving in the pre-Dashcon era, after the Urine Incident occurred whatever goodwill he had created from his fanbase immediately siphoned off into an unrefined sludge, and as a result he became the website’s designated clown.
Compare this unironic post made in 2014 to this incredibly ironic post made in 2015. Why is John Green talking about slobbering cocks and acting like a basic bitch in the replies? The answer is post editing. Before August 2015, users were able to reblog posts from other blogs, edit the content on their own blog, then publish it while making it look like the original user said some dumb shit. This was the technology allowing us to enact the aforementioned Mr. Bean GIF swap while still maintaining the same number of likes and reblogs, which had the effect of there being 500,000 notes on a post while having hundreds of different versions of it — which is how memes on the website spread in the first place. This feature was previously used for small-scale shitposting, but when Mr. Green himself felt the need to say that cock is, in fact, not one of his favourite tastes, abuse of post editing went supernova and the feature was removed three months later.
The “Cock Sucking Monologue” remains one of the most infamous and influential events in Tumblr’s history, not only revoking our privileges to edit other people’s posts, but marking the first step in a series of changes to Tumblr’s design the userbase didn’t ask for, and the poor reception thereof was a recurring theme from 2016 onwards. They did add in direct messaging, which was universally liked, but even with the few good features being rolled out to users, basic functionality of the website was continually being removed for no coherent reason, and what features they did propose adding were universally-mocked and eventually abandoned without even a slap on the ass for good luck. We can’t even reply to posts anymore. Can’t have shit in New York.
Even when the staff surrendered to Johnny’s whims, he would leave soon after. Losing post editing was one thing, but losing John Green was like losing our mascot. Nobody else before or since would attract such genuine affection, and what few celebrities were left on the platform languished in obscurity, never truly understanding us like Johnny did. When 2015 ended and 2016 rolled around, Tumblr wasn’t cool anymore. Rival sites like Reddit were stealing the spotlight, 4chan just memed a living cheeto into office, and social networks seeking to duplicate Tumblr’s functionality cropped up and were cut down every few months, because it just wasn’t Tumblr anymore. At best, Tumblr was just some website you could steal old posts from and put them up on Reddit. At worst, it became a snarl world for conservative morons who consider any sentiment that doesn’t coddle the fragile masculinity of heterosexual White men as being SJW propaganda. The website was dying, the staff didn’t care, it never turned a profit, and the community shed away from their former communities as the website itself shed its unique identity, making Tumblr nothing more than dead pixels occupying a server rack.
Even so, there was one thing going for the platform: Tumblr had porn. Lots and lots and lots of porn. And as long as the porn was kept alive, Tumblr would be doing just fine.
2018: Tumblr bans porn
In November 2018, Apple deleted the Tumblr iOS app from the App Store because there were a few child pornography images hosted among the eleventy trillion posts on the platform, which is like deleting YouTube because Shane Dawson exists. Tumblr promptly told Apple to go fuck themselves and bitch-slapped them through the official Tumblr account — just kidding, they caved instantly. Just two weeks later, Tumblr announced a new and revolutionary change to their platform, which would create “a better, more positive Tumblr”, “fostering more constructive changes among our community members”, and whose actions were “out of love and hope for our community”. They would finally be adding in one of Tumblr’s most requested features, anticipated ever since its humble inception in 2007. Greater than group chats, greater than tag blacklists, greater than post editing, greater than just buying fucking XKit and making the website good for once in its life holy shit Tumblr was straight-up garbage without that extension, and even greater than making the iOS app work properly — oh wait. Yes, Tumblypoos, they finally made it happen. They banned female-presenting nipples.
They lost 30% of their userbase and the company was sold for $3,000,000. For reference, Yahoo! bought the site in 2013 for $1,100,000,000. That’s a 99.7% loss, and the porn ban is still in place. Also they IP banned Internet archivists, because lulz.
Tumblr’s filtering system was so atrocious it banned its own examples of permitted content, the remaining refugees were in such disarray they went back to using 2004 LiveJournal slang, and to top it off you could circumvent the entire system by tagging your My Little Pony pregnancy clop with “#sfw” and the bot would look the other way. Of course, all this was done for “a better, more positive Tumblr”, and Tumblr was dedicated to remaining an inclusive community for terrorists and neo-Nazis.
At no point during this effort, from conception to implementation to aftermath, was there ever an action or thought approaching anything within the realm of reason or common sense. Every decision Tumblr made during this affair was wrong on every conceivable scale of resolution, and continuing on this corporate culture of fractal wrongness has turned Tumblr from one of the most interesting and expressive online communities to ever grace the Internet into a dying website worthless on every metric. Tumblr does not make any money, create unique content, have any influence on other websites, or have any facet of its current existence generate any value, whether tangible or intangible, in any form. It exists only because its owners have not yet willed it to die. But for the few stragglers still remaining, still using Tumblr into the end of 2020, the message has been clear for years. Tumblr is dead, and we’ll all be hanging off its corpse until someone brings out the flamethrower and makes us all sons of bitches after all.
But then, in 2020, something strange happened.
Tumblr does the time warp again
November 3rd, 2020. All eyes are on the United States election. Donald Drumpf ends the first day with a Republican blowout, knocking down challenger Joe Joestar with his Twitter left-hook and an election map washed in red and grey. November 4th. Joestar gets up, revealing his trenchcoat full of mail-in ballots, painting the map blue and taking the lead from 0 electoral votes to 220, sending Drumpf reeling. November 5th. The battle gets heated as Drumpf and Joestar teleport back and forth behind each other on social media, trading glancing blows as the vote counts get closer and closer. Drumpf calls for the count to stop, unaware that would secure Joe’s victory. The battle gets to Russia, Putin gets a resignation rumour, and Joe smirks at Drumpf. Pennsylvania votes Democrat. Georgia turns into Bleorgia. Supernatural leaps out of the stands — Supernatural’s got a steel chair! He slams Tumblr over the head!
November 6th. Destiel is canon. Destiel is fucking canon, and Tumblr goes supernova! Drumpf reels from the blast wave, and Joestar comes in with the “BLUE WAVE” stand! BLUE WAVE demolishes Drumpf in a flurry of punches, turning Wisconsin, Nevada, and Michigan to his cause! Drumpf calls on North Dakota, but the candidate died weeks ago! Joe launches a final punch, firing Donald Drumpf and sending him crashing through Joe’s 270 electoral votes, banishing him to Super Hell with Ambiguously Gay Castiel! Tumblr is going fucking crazy, Donald Drumpf is screaming into the endless void, and Joe Joestar has become the President of the United States of America!
What a week, huh?
Do you know what Destiel is? If you don’t, you have retained your humanity. But you’ve probably heard of “SuperWhoLock”, and this word is a conglomeration of the three biggest live-action television fandoms which existed on Tumblr from 2010-2015. Supernatural, Doctor Who, and Sherlock all rounded out this collective of mediocre viewing, and its members represented the stereotypical White girl attitudes which Tumblr was famous for, being characterised as loud and obnoxious to the point where several members outside the fandom put their respective show tags on permanent blacklist so the content never appeared in their dashboard. Its bastard children include “Rise of the Brave Tangled Dragons”, and the especially dank parody fandom “Bee Shrek Test in the House”, which was the earliest ancestor of those Expand Dong memes and predated the innovation of adding “& Knuckles” to everything.
Destiel was the one true pairing of the majority of Supernatural fans, composed of two grim growling men growling grimly: the ambigously gay Castiel and the unambiguously homophobic Dean. It was a stupid idea and arose from the wicked desires of the horny and alone. To quote Wikipedia: “The relationship between Castiel and Dean Winchester was seen as queerbaiting by fans. In the fifteenth season (2020), Castiel confessed his love to Winchester, and promptly died”. By the way, Cas didn’t just get domed in the head or whatever. He was absorbed by Venom and sent straight to Super Hell for experiencing a moment of true happiness. Just take a look at this shit. Look at that man’s face. Look at the other man’s face. Cas looks like he’s burying his grandmother with his bare hands and Dean’s at the funeral wondering how his Neopets are doing. Why are there random Vine sound effects? What’s with the gay little shove? Why is Ellen Ripley standing at the door with a pimp cane? People watched 15 seasons of this.
I can’t express the magnitude of this scene. Fifteen years. Fifteen years of teasing, lies, half-truths, confirmations and dreams denied of Destiel’s canon, a ship so massive it formed the basis of a fanfiction universe of such decadent splendour it makes Homestuck look like Blue’s Clues, all to culminate in a scene so awkward and bathos-infested it would get six kudos on AO3. Friendship is Magic only took nine seasons before Haber demolished the waifufags, made everypony lesbian MILFs and doomed Purple Smart to thousands of years of suffering as she watches everypony she cared about grow old and die as she remains a perfect, ageless being. The Supernatural finale went beyond enacting My Little Texhnolyze and making AppleDash Canon. This was like the ghost of Ronald Reagan coming up from the Fourth Circle of Hell and bitch-slapping the gay out of Castiel then giving Dean the keys to the Iranian nukes. It would be less of an insult if they pointed at the camera and laughed their asses off with a subtitle crawling across the bottom saying “FUCK YOU, YOU’LL STILL WATCH IT”, before the end credits roll to the soothing sounds of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful”.
Consider this was the ship an entire social network was based around. Consider then that Tumblr went absolutely fucking ballistic when this episode rolled around, combine that with the USA election, and various other Canon events that happened that week, and you had this brief, glorious period of time where all the oldheads crawled out of the woodwork, dusted off the blogs they’ve had since they were teenagers, and had themselves a rip-roaring party the likes of which hadn’t been seen in damn near a decade. From the drama of 2020, the community jumped to the left, stepped to the right, and did the time warp again back to 2012 to all celebrate in old-fashioned fangirl wangst. Everything was terrible, everything was awesome, and they were all part of one big, happy, fucking retarded community. And that’s a beauty you won’t find anywhere else.
And the Tumblrs are drained and flooded
My own experience with Tumblr lasted from the middle of 2012 to the start of 2016 — a four-year stretch of time which proved formative for an adolescent boy, acting as the basis for my bisexuality, my obsession with cartoon animals, and my personality appealing to what you might call cringe culture. I was a product of my environment for that three-and-a-half-year stretch of time, and my personality was even more unhinged and unrestrained, a combination of autism and being diagnosed with “being a teenager”. I was excessively horny and was encouraged by the endless amounts of pornography to be such, back before we grew up and became puritans over minors viewing furry porn, and if you saw my old blogs from that time you’d both understand and wonder how, exactly, I got to be the way I am now, as unrefined and undetermined my past self was compared to my present. Compared to my other hobbies, it was a short period of time. I joined The Herd in 2011 and my current furry fandom has lasted since 2014, when I was first exposed to it through the popular furry artists at the time. Now everyone I admire from then has died, and what few survivors from my past have transformed into unrecognisable forms, merely apparations of what I once knew them as, and with no similarity to what they will no doubt be.
It was a short tenure, but every day on Tumblr felt like an eternity. It was an intensely addictive platform, and combined with my other obsessions over Team Fortess 2 and DOTA 2, it brought as much detriment to my life as it did cheap thrills. Nowadays we understand the combination of social-media validation seeking and predatory freemium video games is permanently damaging the psychology and personalities of our youth, but the difference between 2012 and 2020 might as well have been a thousand years for all we understood back then. In reality, the neurological nature of the teenage mindset requires an outlet for the hundreds of stupid decisions they will make over this years-long period of development, and it’s far safer to spend that time geeking out on the Internet than it is to hang out with strange men you don’t know and go into physical spaces you’re too young to be in, as opposed to merely direct messages and Internet forums where the difference between a minor and an adult might only be two years of age. As far as their addictive natures, it’s true the endless amount of content combined with the potential of getting thousands of notes on a post is intoxicating. My record was 40,000 by reposting a Garfield comic. But the culture of Tumblr was wholly unique compared to anything you would have ever been able to experience on the Internet, and I would not trade away the basis of my youth in exchange for years of banality.
I don’t know why I joined Tumblr way back when, but I know full well why I left it. It’s like Slick Rick said: one day they’re just plain sick of seeing you. 2015 was a rough year for Tumblr, with staff removing post editing, the users growing up and becoming less true to their original selves, and Tumblr itself being terminally unprofitable with no idea how to make its userbase happy. Combine that with my personal despair, with my abusive family life, lack of purpose in my high school experience, and the creeping feeling that, if I was going to continue on this course of getting angry at video games and checking Tumblr for hours on end each day, I was going to waste my life and not have anything to show for it. Tumblr just wasn’t fun anymore, and nothing I did outside of it gave me any sense of purpose. My actions were meaningless, I had no skills, I was so wracked with anxiety I didn’t bother to write or draw or do anything which once upon a time brought me peace, and my escapism from the heinousness of my personal life was unsustainable.
The single best part of my experience with the website was getting to know people who were funnier, more interesting, and more talented than me in every way, and yet still knowing they had the graciousness to become friends with me regardless. My thoughtlessness in my words and actions were a virtue in those times, before I became resentful of myself, and thus, resentful of everyone who wasn’t me. This was before I tempered my words and second-guessed everything I said to other human beings, replaying conversations over and over in my head as I do now, and back on Tumblr it was much easier to be your genuine self because there weren’t any public personas to worry about where you lie to the public because your true self would make them think you’re scum — as is the case with Twitter and Facebook.
Online, you post the best aspects of yourself while you suffer behind-the-scenes, and this creates a disconnect where your followers feel bad about themselves because they only see a version of you that’s as perfect as you demand it to be. On Tumblr, there was no such filter. Every passing thought, every stupid idea, every random artifact of your existence was made available for public consumption. “cringe” didn’t exist because everyone was cringe. And the various diasporic peoples who continue this tradition on Twitter are an endangered species, because Twitter ain’t Tumblr, and taking Tumblr culture outside of its walls corrodes it to the point where it has no value. Mindless self indulgence was the entire point of Tumblr, where Twitter is simply mindless without the pleasure of anything interesting to show about yourself. It’s like moving from MySpace to Facebook, or from Geocities to Wordpress and going from LSD-infused rainbow marquees to business-casual Times New Roman where you can only express yourself if it’s within the ever-decreasing window of socially-acceptable pop-culture weirdness. The most beautiful flowers are cut down the soonest because if they weren’t special they wouldn’t be killed. It doesn’t matter if the same people show up in a different location. It’s not the same, and it will never be again.
I left Tumblr in the first few weeks of 2016, of which I made it a point to my few hundred followers and handful of friends that I wasn’t satisfied with my existence on the platform. I made it a point to say my goodbyes, deleted all my blogs, and broke off contact with Tumblr forever. All my time from that period is lost; there are no pre-Froge artifacts to dredge up from the abyss, and anything I posted from that time would be unrecognisable compared to my current self. I went from over 10,000 posts to 0 in the span of a day, and I couldn’t even tell you the URLs I used to post them all with. Perhaps in future time I will have an extensive heritage of social media posts I can use to track my progress as a human being, the same as I do now with the current projects I list under my “Degenerates” page. But my time on Tumblr was finished, and after a few months of dead space where I figured out what to do with myself, I registered for an account on Neocities, made up the Froghand front page, and the rest was history.
Whereas others past experiences define their life, I have made it a point for them to inform mine, to act as consultants rather than caretakers. The ability to destroy large swarths of your prior existence for the sake of pursuing a future which gains no benefit from it takes a decisive mindset which must be cultivated through sacrificing prior goodness just as much as prior shame. I enjoyed my time on Tumblr, but it was not worth allowing it to live rent-free inside my head. My past self was dead, Froge is alive, and it will be soon enough before I abandon Froge in favour of a newer, even better self. The cycle continues, we grow as people, and we live our lives in the pursuit of the best version of ourselves we can hope to eventually become.
2007-2020. Rest in peace, Tumblr.