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Why Tumblr is a 'safe haven' for so many

by Ingeborg Bischof (2020-03-05)

\u0e23\u0e39\u0e1b\u0e20\u0e32\u0e1e : \u0e04\u0e32\u0e40\u0e1f\u0e48, \u0e01\u0e32\u0e41\u0e1f, \u0e1b\u0e25\u0e39\u0e01, \u0e01\u0e25\u0e35\u0e1a\u0e14\u0e2d\u0e01\u0e44\u0e21\u0e49, \u0e1f\u0e34\u0e25\u0e4c\u0e21, \u0e16\u0e49\u0e27\u0e22, \u0e25\u0e32\u0e19"article-body" class="row" section="article-body"> Tumblr is still a safe space for many internet users.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET On certain evenings every month, the Taylor Swift fandom of Tumblr hits the pause button on its usual business of sharing quotes, memes, artistically edited photos and analyses of the songwriter's lyrics. Instead, users make room on their dashboards for "selfie nights," when fans from minority groups post pictures of themselves -- serving the dual purpose of increasing visibility and celebrating diversity.

For Elizabeth, 25, from Austin, Texas, who identifies as sexually fluid but isn't out to her family and friends, Tumblr -- and the LGBTQ selfie night in particular -- has been a safe space for her to express her sexuality. "It's important to highlight minorities and the LGBTQ community because it makes those feel loved and accepted when they might always not be," she said. "I really feel the love."

Creating a safe, inclusive place for people to connect is part of the platform's DNA -- a rarity at a time when most social networks offer more than their fair share of toxic comments and misinformation. 

But on Tumblr, you might find friends who are the first you've had who understand your hidden disability and are willing to listen to how it affects your life. You could find an audience for your art or writing, inspired perhaps by your favorite sci-fi franchise. Or your favorite pop star Taylor Swift might reblog a funny video you made, adding her own caption in the process. "Sometimes the internet is bad but in this moment it is truly good," Swift said in just such a post back in July.

But now Verizon, which acquired Tumblr in 2017, has sold the social network-cum-blog platform. The announcement, which arrived in early August after months of speculation, also came with the news that Tumblr's sale price was less than $3 million -- significantly less than the $1.1 billion that Yahoo (now a Verizon property) purchased it for in 2013.

It still, to me feels like this magical place, unlike anywhere else on the internet. Tumblr's Amanda Brennan That dramatic drop in value underscores how Tumblr's parents failed to make the most of the site's potential and its still sizable user base. It's far from the only once-hot commodity to end up in the bargain bin -- you need only look as far as AOL, Yahoo or MySpace to see how the biggest names on the internet can become obsolete without a rigorous plan in place for long-term monetization.

But to really understand Tumblr's value, it's important to look beyond growth statistics. Despite the decline, there's life in it yet, what with a current tally of 475 active million blogs, according to the platform's own stats. What's more, that life consists of vibrant micro-communities -- fonts of creativity and places for people to explore their passions.

"It still, to me feels like this magical place, unlike anywhere else on the internet," said Tumblr's Amanda Brennan. Formerly of KnowYourMeme and sometimes referred to as the Meme Librarian, Brennan spends her time looking at the trends among fandoms, compiling lists of the top fandoms on Tumblr's Fandometrics page.

The emphasis on growth within the tech world leaves little room for spaces to endure that aren't all things to all people at all times. And yet niche spaces like Tumblr, as well as fan fiction site Archive of Our Own (AO3) or even services such as Pinterest and Reddit, รับทำเว็บไซต์ are crucial to keeping the ecosystem of the web diverse. There are reasons people are still drawn to Tumblr, and those reasons are worth acknowledging. It allows people to find their tribes, to share, to laugh, to educate themselves, to experiment creatively, collaboratively and sometimes furtively.

Fandoms and creativity
In an interview, Melanie Kohnen, assistant professor of rhetoric and media studies at Lewis & Clark University, noted the importance of Tumblr in popularizing what are today internetwide modes of creativity, such gifsets and meme culture. "There's also a really developed culture of commentary and tags," she said, explaining the unique way in which Tumblr users can write full sentences in tags to augment posts or reblogs.

The original Tumblr fandoms (circa 2010-13) tended to revolve around the band One Direction and the TV show Glee. These days, the fandoms are many and varied, based on diverse interests, including F1 and WWE. TV fandoms still dominate, with 29% growth in related content over the past six months, according to Tumblr.