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To acquire wisdom, one must observe

Why aren’t all of you back on Tumblr?

Tumblr, since its infancy, has been capitalistically dead in the water. Any and all attempts to increase its profitability directly leads to users leaving the app. No example of this is more infamous than the December 2018 porn ban resulting in, literally, one third of the user base abandoning Tumblr. But even before the great exodus, Tumblr has never been profitable. And that is exactly what makes it the best social media in 2024.

Every day, I hear complaints that the state of social media is abysmal. There seems to be a lot more bad to say about the major platforms than good, and I mean, Tumblr is not perfect either. There is absolutely nothing we Tumblr users enjoy more than complaining about our app. But there is tangible proof that the staff listen to us. When a live feature was added to the site about a year and a half ago (to attempt to increase its profitability), the entire user base boycotted and it shut down in January. Because of us. The porn ban that led to so many Tumblr users leaving was also almost entirely removed about two years ago. Tumblr is a user driven app in a way that might be hard for other social media users to even grasp.

There is also no algorithm on Tumblr. Well, there is, but like, barely. There is an algorithm based feed called For You that no one uses, you can turn on post suggestions or a “Best Stuff First” setting, but few users (that I’m aware of) take advantage of these features. Tumblr is what Instagram used to be; posts from people you follow show up on your feed in the order they were posted. And there aren’t influencers (in the traditional sense) either. Neil Gaiman and probably other celebrities use Tumblr, but they are treated like any other user, and interact with the base as normal people. There are Tumblr blogs that are famous within a certain fandom or political movement, but those accounts aren’t pushed more than others. Because nothing is pushed, because there is no algorithm.

Certain readers at this point are probably a bit confused, as I haven’t explained what Tumblr actually is, content wise. Tumblr is hard to describe for the uninitiated, because every user uses it differently. It isn’t a social media where you follow your friends and share personal stuff. It doesn’t have clearly defined communities or one type of media that all posts must take the form of. It is a modern day blogging platform, where most everyone remains anonymous, that emphasizes (and in many ways revolutionized) fandom; but whatever your niche is, be it tiny or awful, it has its space on Tumblr. 

Every letter and subculture within LGBTQ is well represented, there are thriving religious spaces (both serious and meme based), while the user base skews young and leftist, all political ideologies have been explored and embraced. Kinks, art, memes, reposts from other apps, recipes, trad wives, (mostly bad) mental health content, sports, random trash, shitposting. It’s all there! Whatever you want! If you don’t want to see things you disagree with or that makes you mad or grossed out, you don’t have to, but it is always there! The app is whatever you want it to be.

So, I pose again my titular question. Why aren’t all of you back on Tumblr? Maybe you’ve been inundated with outdated propaganda. You might think of Tumblr as some cringy, teen girl hellsite, stuck in the 2010s, but it isn’t—unless you want it to be, in which case that community certainly exists. Tumblr is the best parts of your favorite social media, and, until the company inevitably goes bankrupt, its frighteningly devout user base will ensure it stays that way.

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