People love expressing themselves. They want to create artwork, write, and share their point of view. These days, social media’s made it easier than ever to express yourself. So why, when Instagram and Facebook are thriving, is Tumblr, a millennial favorite blogging site, dying?
What Is Tumblr?
For those not in the know, “Tumblr” might seem like weird slang. However, its actually a popular blogging site that lets users post text posts, images, and videos. Users can also follow and reblog others, sharing findings with their followers. Since its creation, its especially become a home for art, written works, and political discussions.
Initially, founder David Karp did not intend for Tumblr to become so widely used or a haven for the youth and strong opinions. Karp simply wanted to create a blogging website, one easier to use than LiveJournal or Blogger. However, when LiveJournal began censoring adult and LGBTQ+ posts, Tumblr saw its numbers leap. Soon, Tumblr became one of the only places that body-positive, LGBTQ+, and other groups felt comfortable posting.
Karp launched Tumblr in 2007, at the age of 21. By 2013, it had become one of the biggest social network sites on the web, with 420 million users and 200 million blogs. That year, Karp sold Tumblr to Yahoo for $1.1 billion.
Afterward, under Yahoo’s management, the site continued to grow, while retaining a high percentage of its original users. “Tumblr harnesses the enthusiasm around a particular topic and coalesces into a community,” Forbes said at the peak of platform’s popularity. “If you’re not using Tumblr as part of your marketing efforts, you’re missing a very large boat,” added Inc. Magazine.
Problems On The Horizon for Tumblr
All good things must come to an end. In 2017, Verizon bought Yahoo, therefore acquiring Tumblr. At first, it looked as though not much would change. Then, on December 17, 2018, the company announced a massive overhaul to Tumblr’s community guidelines. The new rules banned all adult content; in particular, any images that showed any nudity or sex acts whatsoever.
The change led to mass user exiting. In an instant, Tumblr had become non-accepting of all the communities that had made it popular in the first place. Furthermore, those leaving the platform argued that the new guidelines attacked the wrong blog. Under the current rules, racially hateful, pro-suicide, and pro-eating disorder image and test posts are allowed. In the end, it seems as though Verizon picked the wrong hill to die on.
When Life Gives You Lemons…Sell Them?
Now, Verizon is deciding to sell its lemons, instead of reversing the rules and making lemonade. To be more precise, Verizon has now offered Tumblr up for sale. Maybe the right buyer and get the audience back by reversing the guidelines or renovating it? According to the Wall Street Journal, Verizon Media has no interest in building the site’s popularity again.
As stated, former Tumblr users went looking for alternatives once the new rules went into place. Many made their way to Twitter, which still allows NSFW content. Meanwhile, others migrated to Instagram and Facebook, which both feature less-stringent rules about adult content. Finally, some have moved to up-and-coming social media sites, like Pillowfort, hoping to find the new haven.
However, one thing is for sure: none of these platforms have the same draw or ease-of-use as the original Tumblr. If the right buyer picks the site up, don’t be surprised when it comes back with a vengeance.