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“There’s one born every minute, and three join tumblr.”
— Nonny, Dec. 31, 2014
Tumblr is, per Wikipedia, “a microblogging platform and social networking website” launched in April 2007. Its design makes it ideal for posting and reblogging pretty pictures. But, because a lot of fandom in general has migrated there, because the infrastructure is not ideal for thoughtful conversations, and because many users are teenagers, Tumblr is wanky. And, because SJ started to become popular within a few years of Tumblr’s emergence, the website is often Baby’s First SJ Experience.
“Tumblr allows wank to go viral. And because you're posting everything on your own blog instead of ‘neutral’ communities, you feel the need to make Important Points and Take A Stand on Things.”
“Tumblr culture sucks. #i hate all your stupid tag posts #like you don't care #but you cry if i unfollow you, tbh #i loved hiddles #but then tumblr happened
“Why am I so angry? I just want to look at pretty pictures. (Pretty pictures do not include weird photoshop textures or .gifs so bright they hurt my eyes.)
“Boy, am I glad that tumblr didn't exist during my puberty.”
“There is always this one person... Like whenever people on tumblr are playing with some little, harmless meme, there is always this one person who comes in with ‘this meme is oppressive/problematic.’”
“Tumblr’s turning me into a wanky bitch and I'm enjoying every minute of it.”
Tumblr “Social Justice”
Social-justice rhetoric combined with life inexperience leads to such things as:
Specific to fandom, Tumblr has served to incubate the widespread opinions that nobody must like any canons, characters, or fic that is "problematic," a word which is interpreted broadly. Relatedly, many Tumblr users are insistent that there is no clear boundary between reality and fiction. Nonnies have often rolled their eyes at Tumblr users who have complex headcanons for characters that are heavily based on their supposed sexualities, sexual identities, and disabilities. In early April 2015, this meme conversation about Tumblr culture touched on these points and others. This editor found these three commentsparticularly insightful.
Inevitably, Tumblrs have arisen to parody such people, like that of the toddler/flying dog/transdisabled activist, discussedhere by a gleeful nonny. There are also fake!SJ troll blogs such as For Future Reference Only, who has apparently owned up to “RPG’ing”; and Your Fave is Problematic, which literally goes looking for things about pop culture to be offended about (discussed here, here, and here. Finally, there are trolls from the 4chan board /pol/ who conduct “false-flag operations” by putting up Tumblrs that read like OTT SJ blogs.
Tumblr’s Structure and Technical Issues
The migration of much of fandom from LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, and elsewhere to Tumblr has been a source of annoyance to nonnies who prefer textual communication, as Tumblr’s software was not created with that in mind, and an upgrade in early 2013 created a number of additional technical problems. However, there are other nonnies who like Tumblr and feel that it meets their fandom needs.
Most people on Tumblr use a third-party extension called X-Kit. Unfortunately, X-Kit creator Xenix left tumblr in early 2015. Currently, users are being directed to new X-Kit, updated and run by a different team.
Haphazard tagging and repurposing of other people’s art without credit are other sore Tumblr points for nonnies. Frequently, we ask one another for advice on how to use Tumblr.
“I feel like tumblr is intentionally trying to dumb down human communication.”
“I love it for the pictures, loathe it for the lack of communication possibilities. Fandom is fucking ridiculous for migrating there. :( ”
Some Tumblr Threads on FFA
FFA regularly discusses both stupidity on Tumblr and the platform’s technical limitations. Here are some of the earlier threads:
For a while, nonnies referred to the website as “Dumblr," but other nonnies began to criticize this term. In 2014 and 2015 there has arisen the practice of giving Tumblr-related wank threads titles from horror and other movies, such as “It Came From Tumblr” or “The Beast of Tumblr Flats.”
A few technical Tumblr resources suggested by nonnies have been Tumblr tutorials by OohCamila and UserStyles.org's skins, themes, and wrap tags.