Ten years ago, in December 2008 I found a microblogging service in a fanfiction community I was into. My cousin was over at our place for Christmas celebrations and we were casually browsing the first holiday sale at steam and I eventually ended up buying Portal and signing up to tumblr that evening. I forgot that I had an account at first, but two years later that website has become a huge part of my life and became very important to me accompanying me through my teens. “Create your tumblelog - And never look back.” was the subtitle of the registration page at the time I registered myself, but as of certain policy changes tumblr has made, attacking queer and marginalised communities, I’m afraid that’s what I am going to do in this blog post, since my dashboard feels kind of empty and pessimistic; which means it’s time to move on.
I started using tumblr regularly when I was fourteen, smartphones weren’t that much of a thing at that time (though everyone around got iPods), I had a EEE-PC Craptop I survived high school with, Internet access and plenty of time to spare. Since I grew up in a pretty small town, and most of the desirable social real life activities were most of the time an hour away from where I lived, I ended up reading Wikipedia and plenty of books in my spare-time, discovering and listening to music I’ve found on the internet, I taught myself how to code & eventually got into digital art as well.
During that time tumblr was pretty much my go to place on the internet. I shared my first code snippets there, occasionally published links to my ao3 fanfictions, shared bits of poetry on there, the art I had made and sometimes it was some kind of a diary for me as well, where I rambled about school, talked openly about my depressions, shared music recommendations, I learned and figured out a lot of things through tumblr, especially when it comes to myself.
Mass Effect made me gay (well, I was gay before)
Without tumblr I wouldn’t have found that one Mass Effect fanfiction which made me realise things™. Tumblr gave me access to the resources and representation I needed to figure out that I’m a lesbian polyamorous & non-binary girl. I never felt represented by how queerness was depicted in bigger media outlets and shows by that time, I mean “The L Word” is still great, but without fanfictions & informational posts on tumblr I wouldn’t be where I am today.
My tumblr contains so many exact timelines, especially on my coming-out and my recovery process in terms of my depressions. It went from “well, I guess I am straight since I’m in a straight relationship, but I’m an ally and post rainbow things all the time anyways” to “uhm, my friends were right I am gay!” to “yep, and I am a non-binary girl!”. And it always gave me such a warm feeling scrolling back to a random date on my tumblr, seeing what things were back then & how much growth and amazing things things happened the last years.
There were times I skyped all night with a good friend of mine back in high school, we hung around tumblr all night, discussed shows we were watching, talked about heartache, growing up with depressions, and sometimes we fall asleep doing so, which was one of the cutest things I’ve done in my teens.
Tumblr, my happy place
I met some of my most amazing and precious friends on tumblr, and more than that, one of the persons I love with all of my heart, who has so many things in common with me and who’s one of my most supportive and purest friends. We barely see each other IRL, but it feels like that they’re the person who’s the closest to me, and I’m so thankful having met them, which wouldn’t have been possible without the Internet. My Tumblr has a “secret $theiraccountname fan account” subtitle & with a glimpse on who I interacted the most with on tumblr, that may be true. On some days I would randomly peak in my phone’s notification center and read through what they’ve posted, since it always cheers me up reading their content.
Can I please have a microblogging service which is federated, decentralised & doesn’t suck?
It feels like tumblr hasn’t learned a thing of how Livejournal has ended a decade ago, since they both pushed away their most diverse and inclusive communities by overregaluting NSFW content & not caring enough about the safety of the people who’re actually using the platform, not only consuming but creating orginal content. A good thing about such situations is, that they usually create a blankspace where new things can happen within.
As a history minor (well I dropped out of college, because of mental health) it feels so saddening, that most of the queer late 2000s/2010s queer internet history and the internet history of many more marginalised communities will be gone forever. It’s disheartening that this happens, and it shows, why we need a decentralised and democratically run web more than ever.
The blogs of the classical web 2.0 lacked of a good federation and interaction system (no, RSS/web comments aren’t a federation/interaction system, though RSS is amazing), but they weren’t mostly linked to a single company or service. Social Media and Social Blogging like Tumblr pretty much centralised large parts of the web, especially when it comes to thematic communities.
I would really love to see some kind of a ActivityPub microblogging service, which doesn’t feel like it’s Twitter. Twitter always felt like it’s not for me, since it’s too narrowed down in terms of it’s content, and has a too strong tendency to be a discussion-only plattform, not giving artists, fan fictions and music a big enough space.
I am not afraid to keep on creating,
My Chemical Romance split up roughly six years ago. Most of my dashboard leaving tumblr kind of feels like an similar ending. I downloaded 10 years of my own history, of discovering my own queerness, wrote this blog post and I don’t feel like I’m afraid to walk this world alone, being more or less hyped about what platform will become my internet go to place the next years.
I’ll still stick around on tumblr for the SFW fandom content, but won’t create anything new on that platform. So for my digital art, poetry and fanfiction, a new home is yet to be found.