WEB NOSTALGIA: Tumblr

The other day, my mind drifted to the Tumblr blogs of my youth, and I realized that the era I was thinking of (2014-2018) is now firmly in the past. So this is a “does anyone else remember…?” thread about Tumblr in those years.

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I’ll start: byf/dni pages. From 2014-2018 the default attitude of most Tumblr users to other Tumblr users was hostile. “Before you follow” and “Do not interact” pages set hard and soft boundaries and provided some information about a user. Theoretically, this reduced confrontation. Sometimes these pages were/are hosted on another service, like carrd.

The introduction of pinned posts and the shift towards mobile users/away from custom themes have together eliminated the dedicated byf/dni page. They have also largely eliminated the about page (which sometimes included a byf/dni list) and its subgenres, such as the reviews/recommendations page. Well, I don’t remember exactly what it was called, but some tumblr users would have a page full of quotes about them from their friends.

They only existed because of tumblr’s creaking infrastructure. They were often a vehicle for baffling opinions and petty arguments. However, about, byf and dni pages were a font of creativity and variation. I will always remember reading a byf written from the perspective of Pinkie Pie from my little pony.

Some screenshots of these pages are preserved in two hostile archives, dnibyf and bad-dnis.

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I was heavy into Tumblr during its peak, but it was way too much of a political environment for someone who’s easy to annoy like me and I ended up falling down an anti-sjw rabbit hole. If I lacked critical thinking skills, I could have been red-pilled and become just as irritating as those who were irritating me. On Tumblr, of all places!

I did appreciate that Tumblr was Gen Z’s MySpace when it came to learning HTML though. A lot of creativity went into Tumblr blogs!

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For me tumblr was just posting art and music. It was the last of the hipster years and it was a great place to connect with others that listened to music that most other people “probably haven’t heard of.”

I’ve gone back there a few times and I can’t tell if its genuinely not the same or I just don’t want what it has to offer anymore. But it was fun for its period of time for sure.

I was in my early twenties during this era, which was probably the period of peak romance in my life. I met at least three people from Tumblr IRL to try out romances with, so that was a key part of the experience for me.

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I think hipster tumblr has definitely died. For one thing, I’m pretty sure they got rid of music uploads. It’s mostly fandom Tumblr and its offshoots that have persisted/subsisted.

hipster-dom has died in general I think :sweat_smile:

I’m fairly glad to be past the elitism of that era. Nevertheless, it was pretty easy to connect with others who were into the niche music you were into back then on tumblr. And the aesthetic posting of tumblr influenced a lot of musical acts to come, like cloud rap and vaporwave. So that’s mainly what I remember it for, is its influence on art and music of the time.

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I think i started seeing byf/dnis after that period. Like between 2018-2020, and all the things you mentioned: carrds, pinned posts, less blog themes, etc.
I’ve been on tumblr since 2013 and have left and come back a couple of times, and maybe its bc of the people i follow but unlike what most people say, i’ve never seen petty wars or fights up close.

Anyway if we’re talking 2014-2018 something i feel must be remembered is mogai. That was very prominent back then and did generate a lot of conflicts that i sometimes still see today.

Oh, something i liked from tumblr was the “ask X character” where people would roleplay as a character and draw the answers to question people asked, they were fun.
And also those things where they’d post drawings to lyrics to a song and you’d scroll as the music played, like some kind of animatic.

Hmm though i think what i miss the most was being a teen and enjoying stuff with other people, seeing content from fandoms and things i enjoyed. Nowadays all you see there are adults who have moved on and grown up, and adults who are stuck on the old times, trying to engage in dumb discourse

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I used Tumblr from 2008 - 2022 and it hit it’s peak in 2009-2016 or so IMO. I loved so many different kinds of blog, shrines, funny pages, etc. RIP <3

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Mogai :skull:God be with the days. Without getting into the discourse, do you remember the culture around the discourse? The flags, the memes, the dedicated discourse tags and blogs… Sometimes people even set up fictional character blogs themed around a specific side of the discourse.

This has all reminded me of a Tumblr classic: Sonic for Real Justice.

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Not exactly a nostalgia thing, but today tumblr has an April Fool’s feature where you can “boop” people.

Since “boop” is one of my most common verbal stims, I am rather delighted. Boop!

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I haven’t really used Tumblr that much, mostly because of how during my teenager years at least the internet communities i was lurking on really hated that site and what it allegedly stood for. However i do remember the influence it’s site and the many subcultures they were inside it had on the internet as a whole during the early and late 2010s, before the site started to fade away from public consciousness.
I remember hearing about fictional character ask blogs, about Homestuck-related stuff, about stuff related to feminism and LGBT rights advocacy that my then conservative former self wasn’t ready to process yet (meanwhile i’m now a leftist trans woman :3), about the constant shitposting that leaked into other places, etc.
I honestly wish i was part of Tumblr years ago, a lot of really interesting stuff i wish i had actually have been part of that’s now in the past.

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Yeah, Tumblr users had the exact same perspective but about 4chan and reddit. Tumblr is still active and there are still plenty of fandom & political blogs, but it’s sadly succumbing to the same enshittification as the other social networks.

Oh man, the GRIP that “soft grunge” had (and kinda still has…) on me… nowadays it’s usually called 2k14? I think? Which is silly but fine. I was a preteen when i started using tumblr (probs in 2014 or 15?) And have kept at it since, but honestly i think i like the site’s culture the most nowadays. Don’t get me wrong, there are many issues, but my feed has been curated to be quite positive.

The thing that bothers me the most is the nsfw ban. Genuinely might have been their worst decision to date (now that they’ve removed tumblr live again), especially with their audience growing older not younger, and really is what ended that pre-2018 era. It made me leave for a couple years, even, though I’m glad to be back now.

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yeah it’s worth pointing out to anyone that’s thinking about going back that scrolling the feed is a constant stream of ads mixed into the content. It’s beyond undoable. Maybe there are tools to make it better but something to keep in mind.

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i’ve been on tumblr from i think 2011, and still am, sort of (i just rarely log in). oh the things i’ve seen in my time.

one thing i remember having a real love-hate relationship with was ‘kin tumblr’ multi-page abouts. they predated carrds by a little and were often quite creative (carrds can be as well, of course, but i really just hated watching people use tumblr’s own pages less and less. i mostly stayed on tumblr for the customisation stuff).

really does anyone else remember this? people would put a song lyric in their description, and it’d be a link to a page called “/1” that had the name - age - pronouns (often these would also be links that went nowhere, and if you hovered over them you’d get a little more info ie. alt names, their birthday, and specific gender identity). at the bottom of the page there would be a little arrow that took you to “/2” which would tell you what fictional character they were in irl life, then an arrow to “/3” would tell you their favourite movies and games etc. all with a cute, minimalist aesthetic. other potential pages would be their byf, friends, tag system, and probably other things i’m forgetting.

the same people would often have a little script in their code that meant if you went to their homepage it’d redirect to their ~aesthetic tag~

kin tumblr aesthetics were a lot of fun imo. i never could settle on one though

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