I’ve been on tumblr since there were only 2 employees and before Likes were implemented, so I feel like… no… so I’m an early adopter of this site and know it better than it knows itself sometimes. Sometimes. Whatever, I’ve observed this website and its changes from the early beginnings is all I’m trying to say.
I recently observed something on Tumblr that shook me to my core. It was an obviously manufactured tumblr. No original content. 0% original content BUT original posts. The posts all had thousands of notes. As I was scrolling through this Tumblr, I witnessed the posts amass hundreds of notes within minutes as I was scrolling, which might be normal idk.
What shook me to my core were these posts- Link posts that would link to bullshit buzzfeedesque listicle articles outside of tumblr. Each of these posts had a reply with a popular/pop culture reference gif and then another reblog with a popular/pop culture reference gif, following the popular conversational format Tumblr is so famous for. But I noticed it was the same blogs reblogging and replying so these were obviously manufactured posts.
I mean, I have multiple tumblr blogs and reblog myself all the time, I have nothing against this practice. I mostly do it for aesthetic purposes, but I think I’m pretty transparent about it. I don’t do it to inflate my notes. I just have side blogs with specific interests/post types and Interleannet is my general, all purpose, main blog.
These posts really freaked me out because I understand that Tumblr has a much desired demographic as its userbase. This website belongs to the teens; their taste has dictated what gets seen on Tumblr and how it gets seen. I’m afraid that Tumblr might be the easiest way to take advantage of and sell things to young people that has ever been created.
When I first started using Tumblr, it was a creative haven. I lost my virginity to a guy I met on Tumblr, which I tell people all the time, but it’s because I think it makes a very relevant and strong statement about the type of website Tumblr is. Tumblr users were that solid and trustworthy in the beginning, and for the most part still are today. This is purely based on experience and observation of course, but I believe Tumblr attracts a more creative, honest type of person than other websites/social media outlets.
I also know that Tumblr is used by spammers and trollers, so this manufactured Tumblr shouldn’t have shocked me as much as it did, but it really made me question everything because at first it seemed like a legit Tumblr and I was reading it like it was made by a real person. These false conversations promoting poorly thought out listicles on websites created just to get hits for pageviews and ad revenue are so morally wrong on the Internet level.
It would be so easy for Tumblr to become an Internet sinkhole of garbage and Tumblr is the one social media site that doesn’t deserve that fate. I hate that this manufactured brainless stuff is what’s getting all the notes while the original posts and more talented guys languish in obscurity.
Going back to that main userbase of Tumblr, teenagers: They’re so young and easily influenced, and the more I see sponsored posts and notice that they emulate that Tumblr teen post style, the more I worry about the future of Tumblr. All these big movies and tv shows post gifs and comments that don’t look like they were made by a young person, but emulate the style of Tumblr posts made by young people.
The Internet, to me, is for creativity and for learning and discovery. That’s what it was before social media. Yes, it facilitates communication between people, and I’m all about that, but content creation is content creation and everyone needs to be careful and more conscious about what they put out there and what’s being sold around what they put out there. I still believe that if Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook want to post ads all around your and your friends’ content, you should be paid about it. When ads are posted on tv around content, the writers of that content get paid.
Our clicks are worth money. Did you know your click is worth money? People pay for your hypothetical click of their ad to their website. Moreso than getting paid for contributing to the Internet, I want more transparency and control over what type of ads and sponsored content I’m exposed to. There’s no difference anymore between real content and manufactured content. We have viral videos manufactured to be viral by marketing people. People just scientifically figure out what people are into and will respond to and create things to sell you something.
I’m fighting a lost cause, I just thought the Internet would be different. Especially Tumblr. When was Tumblr compromised? Huh?