“That feeling when you hit a million followers, make more money than your mom, push a diet pill scheme, lose your blog, and turn 16.” Not something most of us can relate to, but most of us aren't Tumblr Superstar Teens.
A new species of internet celebrity, examined in a gloriously presented New Republic online feature today. I love the illustrations, too! They're by Quickhoney.
“When I began reporting on the world of Tumblr teens, I first wanted to explain the absurdist comedy of Pizza and dozens of other Tumblrs like hers,” writes TNR's Elspeth Reeve.
“But I soon discovered a secret world hidden in plain sight, one in which teenagers, through wit and luck, had stumbled into a new kind of viral fame and fortune, by outsmarting internet ad networks and finding ways to earn thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars from their intentionally unambitious jokes.”
When Tumblr launched in 2007, the simple layout—text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio, video—was its primary appeal: less bloggy than Blogger, less puzzling than WordPress. Tumblr’s templates were more customizable than Facebook, making it a good place to put your portfolio, perhaps some journal entries. But the defining feature of Tumblr culture is reblogging: Any user can repost content from any other Tumblr and add their own comments. All of these likes, reblogs, and comments pile up in a log of “notes” appended to the original post as it travels through the network’s feed. Celebrating someone else’s brilliance is part of the content you offer, giving exposure to both the creator and the reblogger.
To grow a following on Tumblr beyond people you know, you have to post more than updates on your personal life—you need stuff that will resonate with strangers. Viral fame on Tumblr in the early 2010s was an uncertain path to fortune. The most common was the Tumblr-to-book phenomenon: The creator of Hipster Puppies closed a five-figure book deal in 2010. While other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn generated billions upon billions of dollars, Tumblr gradually evolved into a fast-moving conversation focused on jokes, art, and sex. The culture of Tumblr began to be dominated by teens—weird teens.
The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens [TNR, thanks Gabriel!]
The Atlantic reviews the state of Tumblr, where adult material was banned by new corporate owners, traffic collapsed, and the remains were sold for a pittance to Automattic, the company behind WordPress. It is down but far from out, Kaitlin Tiffany reports, with vibrant communities still thriving. On one hand… The biggest thing that’s changed […]
Tumblr is being sold to WordPress parent company Automattic for a reported price of "less than $3m," a substantial decline from the $1.1B Yahoo paid for the company in 2013 (Yahoo subsequently sold Tumblr and several other startups it had overpaid for and then ruined to Verizon for more than $4b).
Automattic (beloved parent company of WordPress) is buying Tumblr from Verizon (loathesome parent company of Oath, a division named because its users are generally angry enough to swear at it), at a price "well below" $20m (which is well below the $1.1b Yahoo paid in 2013). No word as to whether Automattic will get rid […]
In our modern world, our usual first approach to combating an oncoming cold is to medicate it into oblivion. Sometimes, that carpet bombing pharmaceutical attack plan can knock out the congestion and discomfort of an illness before it settles in. But there’s always something to be said for trying to put down the effects of […]
Whether you’re managing a political campaign or building a client base, there comes a time when you stop seeing people and start seeing numbers. This doesn’t happen suddenly. You shake hands, make calls, and build relationships. And then those relationships disappear into a database of donors or customers as your organization grows. People get brought […]
Learning to ride a bike is one of those quintessential childhood experiences that’s as rewarding as it is scary. Prep your precious babe for success by starting them early with the world’s lightest balance bike, the Brilrider FLIGHT. For the uninitiated, balance bikes are no-pedal bicycles that propel forward by pushing off the ground with […]