So, I was going to announce a Tumblr revival in my April Fools’ piece, but instead I discovered I have the gift of prophecy. In conducting my preliminary research a few days later, I learned that TikTokers are actually “discovering” and joining Tumblr in troves. Turns out, they think the cursed blue hellsite is some sort of charming archaic relic that can feed into their pseudo-grunge e-girl aesthetics. Like feral animals offered a foreign food, us Tumblr veterans have tentatively been sniffing around the newbies’ blogs, preparing to protect our territory if need be. After all, we’ve been on here for eight-plus years, suffered the specific type of brain damage that only comes from witnessing the birth of posts like this, and we do not have a good track record with change.
Ever since the creator of Tumblr, David (Daddy) Karp, allowed Yahoo! to ban pornographic material from the microblogging platform, touch-starved teenagers and slightly pedophelic middle-aged Tumblr users migrated to digital platforms which still allowed them to be horny on main. The current owner, Automttic, has been doing an even shittier job at managing the platform, opting to grace users with numerous targeted ball shaver ads (whether they have balls or not), instead of just finally selling Tumblr to its rightful owner, Pornhub.
So, yeah, the platform’s basically been dead since 2018, haunted only by Tumblr gremlins like myself who feel a nostalgia-driven obligation to upkeep their blog. Now with the influx of today’s trendy dancing youth onto the godless hellscape that is Tumblr, it feels like a repeat of the Cole Sprouse social experiment of 2012. It could allow for the creation of the “I was born in the wrong generation” One Direction fans. We run the risk of 5SOS-turned-K-pop-returned-5SOS stans wearing ripped-to-shreds skinny jeans and idiot flannels around their waists again. The SuperWhoLock fandom may resurrect once more and no amount of beating them with a stick will be effective at sending back to the hellfire from which they arose this time.
Luckily, none of that’s happened yet. After laughing at the newbies floundering around, trying to gain followers on a site where the algorithm is not on their side and the tag system is more for sorting through esoteric thoughts than sorting content by category, many of the veterans have adopted older sibling roles, making and reblogging posts meant to familiarize the influencers with the norms and quirks of making it on Tumblr. Personally, I’m looking forward to someone explaining the difference between smut, fluff, fanfics, imagines, and one-shots to them, and the creation of a complete guide to Tumblr lore including none pizza with left beef, the Mishapocalypse, that infernal “Do you love the colour of the sky” post, and Coppy, our beloved.
Maybe some good will come out of this unholy Tumblr/TikTok matrimony after all. Perhaps these new TikTokers could join the “make Coppy the permanent installment he was always meant to be” campaign. For context, Tumblr staff (derogatory) let us emotionally bond with their 2015 April Fool’s prank, Coppy the Copy Machine, then forced us to watch him die before our eyes at midnight. Tumblr users traumatized by Coppy’s death have been running the campaign for seven years, and the staff has continued to outright laugh in our faces. Speaking of April Fool’s, I hope the newbies are having fun summoning (and getting attached to) crabs on their dashboard this year. Welcome to Tumblr!
If this onset of TumblTokers™ drags Tumblr back into mainstream popularity, I look forward to no longer cringing and turning my screen brightness all the way down if the app decides to open while I’m in public. I look forward to the return of sparkly cursor trails, aesthetic desktop and phone blog layouts, html customization, and scrolling through the exact same 12-piece gifset chronologically reblogged nine times in a row. Yes, I hope TikTokers prove to be the saviors of my favorite sadistic dying platform; I have been ready to pull out my flannel for years.