Tumblr's Rise and Fall: A Review


Elite Member
Apr 13, 2020
United States
At it's height, tumblr boasted an incredible number of users. Over half a billion users clocked in to post art, discuss their favorite fandoms, and talk about politics. A user base so large, that they could have populated an entire country, albeit a rather unproductive one that chiefly exports cartoon pornography. Before it's inevitable downfall, tumblr had always been a mixed bag. At its best, it gave teenagers and young people a place to go, where they could discuss their interests in safety. It allowed members of marginalized communities, who may have been isolated in their own lives, to interact and discuss ideas with one another. At its worst, it was a cesspool of harassment, toxicity, and abuse. I am not here to attack or defend tumblr. There is no point in kicking a horse that is well and truly dead. Instead, this is post mortem of the site, dedicated to understanding its strengths and flaws.

Positive: By far the best aspect of tumblr was its ability to self govern. Users could, and routinely did, hold each other accountable for problematic speech and language. Unlike in 4chan, where users are anonymous, users on tumblr could be called out for problematic thoughts and language, and held accountable by other users. This is important, as it shows that authority figures with vested powers are unnecessary for a functioning society. Due to its large and active user base, tumblr actually serves as an excellent data case for anarchic theory. Furthermore, tumble also served as a kind of progressive trail blazer, giving us insight into what social views society could hold decades, or even a century into the future. Users were able to intelligently discuss thought provoking philosophical questions with one another, so long as they fit into the ethical progressive frame work generally accepted there. Tumblr, in this case, was almost like a modern salon. Users experimented with breath taking art, music, and poetry, all while discussing important philosophical and ethical questions that existed on the bleeding edge of philosophical thought.

Negatives: But there were, of course, downsides. A certain level of social freedom will inevitably lead to abuse. In this case, the darkside of tumblr was its acceptance of generally toxic and negative fanbases. This toxicity spread like a virus throughout the site, and from their, the rest of the internet. I am talking primarily, of course, of Bronies, Undertale fans, steven universe fans, and Homestuck fans. Now, while these media franchises were certainly in bad taste, the real issue extended far beyond the extremely low quality of the subject matter. After all, harry potter is low quality, and yet their fans are not nearly as bad. Nor was the issue their need for attention. While everyone was annoyed and mildly embarrassed when forum threads were derailed by brony and undertale art, or by awful steven universe music, this could be controlled by strong moderation. No, this primary issue here was their toxicity: these fanbases almost killed people. You didn't even have to criticize their sacred cows to earn the wrath of their fanbases. Though they would certainly fly into a rage at the slightest criticism of their work, it was enough to simply draw a character incorrectly. One girl was even pushed to attempted suicide because of a piece of fan art that was posted. This, of course, drew the collective disgust of the internet as whole as people began to see what these fanbases often were under the surface of cartoon pleasantness.

Final Thesis: I don't think tumblr will come back. But if it were, or if it were replaced by another site, I would like to see a place with more of its strengths, and fewer of its weaknesses. I would like to see more of the self policing, and the thoughtful, socially conscious dialogue. I would like to see more progressive, though provoking philosophical discussion. I would like to see more of tumblrs wonderful art and music. However, I would like to see far less of its toxic fanbases. I think a carpet ban on franchise cartoons would probably be the safest route to achieve this goal.

Self Policing
Political Sensitivity and Awareness
Socially Conscious Individuals

Steven Univers
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Aug 13, 2020
Occupied Palestine
Tumbler was an excellent containment region on the internet, once it went down they began to spread... It can't be contained anymore.
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Professor of Monkey Business
Escapist +
Apr 3, 2020
Wait, Tumbler wasn't all pink-haired sjw feminazis?


Previously known as an alleged "Feather-Rustler"
Apr 3, 2020
Corner of No and Where
I think the inherent problem with Tumblr is that people are very self satisfied and self important. Some people really do think other people want to know their opinions on things. They really do think their opinions are of valuable. Its like when people try to tell you their dreams - if I was meant to know, I would have been there.
I was never so indulgent I wrote my own journal, let alone published it and expected praise and positive responses.


Follower of the Glorious Sun Butt.
Apr 4, 2020
Whatever, just wash your hands.
I still use tumblr since there are enough artists I like that regularly update there, but I only barely use it.