After six years, I've ended one of the most meaningful relationships of my life. Our love affair started small. She was vast and I didn't know what to do with her. But soon she opened my eyes to a world of GIFs, boobs, #menswear and vintage basketball cards. We talked almost daily. When there was nothing to do, she was always there with a self-esteem boosting note or anonymous message. She introduced me to a few good friends, a couple of great connections and helped get my projects in front of teens with credit cards. But as I aged, I found myself turning to her less and less, and finally last week, I had to end it. I had to delete my Tumblr.
It's all good though, bros. We accept that every social media platform has a shelf life. Kids want to be on the apps their parents don't have. Old people want to be where the hip kids are. Forever we migrate. But Tumblr was pretty special. A perfect balance of semi-anonymity, ease of use and ADD speed image saturation made the site the go-to for huge number of youngish folks of myriad subculture affiliations.
"But how do you see how many followers other people have?" asked a coworker who is heavy into the 'Gram, but ignorant of Tumblr mechanics.
"You can't," I replied.
"That's so weird," she said.
"That's exactly what makes it great," I replied definitively.
I'm no stranger to the GPOY, but I always liked Tumblr for avoiding the narcissistic thirst traps of other sites. Particularly in the emotionally fragile, vapid world of the fashionz, it's easy to judge yourself by the followings of your peers who are not actually you're peers because they're swagless. On Tumblr, I could pretend I was a way bigger deal than I was and nobody could call me out on it. If I mistimed my selfie and bricked in the reblog market, fuck it. Onto the next one.
The impermanence of the Tumblr dashboard was part of its appeal. That rapid pace also helped kill menswear writing for awhile, but ain't nobody got time for your essay on the future of Flyknit, and, fair or not, nobody is taken seriously for going longform all up in the dash.
I took a yoga breath, exhaled a lion's and said hakuna matata. May the reblogged vestiges of my former blog children echo through the Tumblrsphere for years to come.
So, why would anyone leave such a utopian cyber community? I'm trying to be productive aka get that Bryan Boy blog money and ninety percent of the time I'm logging into Tumblr it's solely to avoid real, actual work.
OK, that's the boring answer. Real talk though, bromies, there are too many babes. It just so happens that the dudes who are into posting very rare Japanese garments are also into posting very rare thick Asian babes and shit. Shout to The Leftist. With an endless stream of waifs and wifeys of indeterminate ages, Tumblr can flip your midday time kill into an awkward workplace boner. I don't need that in my life, man. IRL babes got me stressed enough.
Throwing away a 6-year-old, small, but influential following is a bit of post-modern strug. I know when I post a photo or a project on Tumblr, it's likely Jon Moy will see it and like it and then not write about it on Four Pins. But my homie Steven Jobs told me to cannibalize myself—release a new iPhone every three months even though the old ones are fine.
And shit, the tide has turned on the follow game anyway. In 2010, a few thousand followers might have made you legit. These days, your 12-year-old cousin posting shirtless bathroom selfies has 12k on Instagram. I want my shit to seem like it's on some rare hemline vibes. Anything more than 216 followers is too mainstream for my clique.
No, losing my followers didn't hurt the most. It was the 5,000+ images, sick vids and GIFs I'd expertly curated over the years. How do you quantify a stellar collection of adorable cats, dope fits and rare M.O.P. cuts? I waffled for a few days before trying two programs supposed capable of ripping all the images off my Tumblr, but I was too OG to get either to work properly. So, I took a yoga breath, exhaled a lion's and said hakuna matata. May the reblogged vestiges of my former blog children echo through the Tumblrsphere for years to come.
Yes, I'm catching lonely feels in the wake of the breakup, but I know in my heart that deletion was the chillest move. Sure, when I screencap hip/obscure foreign comedies, I feel a twinge of regret. Where should I post this fly shit? I guess it's back to the days of saving dope images in a fucking folder like it's 2006 or some shit. Good thing Four Pins indulges my every whim and lets me write about the least universal of topics. Though my dash may be gone, I still have the energy to manually type in "nickelcobalt.tumblr.com" every once in awhile to stay up on what's hip with the in-crowd.