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 [this year] is an overall lack of content with diverse and mature themes,” Cat Frazier, creator of the popular Tumblr Animated Text, writes to me in an email. “I never followed porn accounts, but many of the people I followed were either deleted or left the platform out of frustration last year. That's left a noticeable gap. In fact a month ago I was scrolling through my followed accounts and about 100 of them hadn't uploaded since the ban.”
... however ....
In late January, the “Shaggy’s Power” meme boomed. A transplant from Reddit, it featured screenshots of Matthew Lillard, the actor who played Shaggy in the 2002 live-action adaptation of Scooby-Doo, and captions portraying him as a god-like figure with a range of mysterious powers, swinging wildly between indiscriminate violence and pure benevolence. “You are reading this now because I compel you to,” the edited subtitle text on one still of Lillard reads. “You are never free.” (“I have no idea what the heart of it is,” Brennan says. “I think it’s just absurdist.”) It eventually expanded to include other actors from the movie, also praising Shaggy’s powers, and then to include Tumblr itself, in a discussion of the meta horror of a divine meme springing forth from seemingly nowhere.
tldr; Tumblr turned into 9Gag. There's still a chance something new might grow out of the decline, but the people still living there might not want that.
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 […]
TOSsed Out is a new project from the Electronic Frontier Foundation that catalogs the myriad of ways in which Big Tech platforms' moderation policies backfire spectacularly, like the anti-terrorism policies that delete evidence of war-crimes needed by investigators and prosecutors.
With all the revolutionary tech that’s out there, it’s pretty sad that finding a simple stud in your wall can feel like dowsing for water. This can be equally true whether you’re using a magnetic finder and it’s reliance on “feel,” or an electronic unit that can give fuzzy readings (especially when the batteries are […]
Do you have any Star Wars fans on your list? Given the reach and output of its new corporate masters these days, it might be easier to ask if there’s anyone out there who isn’t a Star Wars fan. So let’s narrow it down further: Do you know a Star Wars fan who likes to […]
There’s much ado about coffee brewing methods these days, but most of us – at least on the busy weekdays – just want our morning joe to be consistent, easy, and most of all, fast. If that sounds like anyone on your Christmas list, they’re going to get a lot of mileage out of the […]