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Thursday May 15, 2014 7:53 pm

Tumblr user numbers in massive freefall


Over a year ago, Yahoo purchased the blog host Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Today their investment is not looking so good. Rather than seeing growth, in the past six months Tumblr had lost over 7 million users.

Back in December, Tumblr boasted 49 million regular users. As of yesterday, consumer reports showed only 42 million. That's a 15 percent drop in traffic, presenting a problem for Yahoo, which has been trying to attract advertisers for the blogging service in order to monetize it.

When Yahoo first made the purchase, they stated that they would not make changes, and true to their word, Tumblr has remained more or less the same as it has been for years. No overhead policy change can really explain the loss of users (and consequently revenue.)

What has changed on Tumblr is the user base. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the perception of Tumblr's user base has changed. See, when I hear the word 'Tumblr' my mind immediately jumps to one demographic: 14-24 year old social justice bloggers. It's not fair. They are not the only group on Tumblr. Frankly, they are a minority. They are just the loudest.

As a group they are fairly recent, starting in 2009 and they exert a considerable amount of influence on Tumblr's identity. What started as a trickle in '09 reached an all out crescendo by 2012 and became some of the loudest voices on Tumblr. But until now you might not have heard of them.

That's what's changed. Over the past year many of Tumblr's fringe causes and controversial methods have caught the attention of national media outlets, looking to both ridicule them or monetize off of them. The social justice movements ideologies of class and privilege, once reserved for academic papers and message board discussions began to get attention in big name publications. Mother Jones, Salon, Reason and National Review have all started shining their probe-lights into this dark little corner of the internet.

And they found that the causes have become even more radical. Back in 2009 the social justice blogosphere kept to more mainstream causes. This was when same-sex marriage was at the fore of national attention and California's infamous Proposition 8 was all the buzz. This went into 2011 when Occupy Wall Street was a thing and income inequality was the big issue. Then things started to get a little... weird.

Look at any social justice hashtag on tumblr today and you will discover some things that you might want to forget (for that I recommend the excellent Eye Bleach subreddit). You will be told to “check your privilege,” an ill defined statement that seems to mean “feel guilty for the sins of your neighbor's ancestors.” Then you might find the “Fat Acceptance” movement. Then there are "otherkin", people claiming to be animals trapped in people's bodies and claiming they are institutionally oppressed because of that. There is a Tumblr dedicated to explaining how men sitting down on public transportation is a tool of "systemic violence." The list goes on and on.

Then there were the questionable methods these groups used to make their message. Rants, manifestos, death threats and doxxing- or ferreting out an anonymous user's real world information and outing them for everybody to see- became so common in these communities that other users made Tumblr accounts just to showcase the worst examples.

And this is what the national papers covered. This was the face that Tumblr ultimately showed the world- a face made of fringe groups with bizarre causes. And If I were a casual Tumblr user who just wanted to post about the newest iPhone or a cool video game or blog about wage policy (yes, I did that, I can be pretty dull at times), I sure would not want to put up with that sort of baggage representing my blog.

I know a fair amount of former Tumblr users. They all say this movement it what pushed them away from the site. Heck, it's why I left. It might not be enough to account for all seven million lost users, but it is significant.

It's a toxic environment, and people want out.

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this article is so serious but really though who cares

what you can’t do on tumblr you can basically do on any other site on the internet

“waaah people are mad at me for calling black people the n word ;_;”

Constanza Constanza 5/16/14 3:22 pm

I can’t believe this delusional ####. This is a serious article. Someone wrote this in all seriousness and I can’t stop laughing

The writer sounds like he’s just blogging about how his feelings were hurt and that it must mean that people aren’t signing up/using tumblr.

“There is a Tumblr dedicated to explaining how men sitting down on public transportation is a tool of “systemic violence.”” Were you born yesterday, Mr. Waldman? I suppose troll attempts and such fly over the heads of people when you aren’t familiar with what material said trolls are working with but this is embarrassing.

Ever Chamorro Ever Chamorro 5/16/14 4:42 pm

Have you SEEN tumblr lately? There are blogs for all sorts of ridiculous stuff that happens in everyday life that we’re supposed to believe is oppressive. Hell, one of the most popular posts of that variety is a user pointing out that a guy sitting on a bus seat with his legs spread open is, in fact, oppressing women and is a deep-seated “way of showing your dominance.” It was later debunked that, no, we’re not doing that. We just don’t like squishing our balls and like to be comfortable on the bus.
Tumblr is a pretty perplexing place. You’ll see a post about a cat now, and the very next minute, you’ll see a rant about how heterosexuals are evil and how you’re basically the Devil for accepting the gender you were born with. It’s no place for the weak-willed.

I think I saw that post and the blog who posted that comment was outed as one of those amateur sj troll blogs and if I recall they’re inactive. Even if it wasn’t like that, most of the reblogs were people who were pointing out how dumb the OP was being. saying that something like that was needed to be ‘debunked’ is giving it way to much credit.

A rant about how heterosexuals are evil? I follow a lot of part time Sj-esque blogs and the closest thing I see to things like that are two to three line joke posts that I, as someone who is identifies as straight, feel indifferent towards or find mildly amusing.

You may find the occasional ‘kill straights’ post or whatever but what you need to understand is that tumblr isn’t a hivemind and is made up of a lot of different individuals with a variety of experiences. The difference between this blogging platform and those of the past is that minorities are given an easier way to talk about their experiences with racism/homophobia/etc. and connect with other minorities who have similar experiences. Tumblr may seem crazy to most other people because for once people who aren’t from the majority can voice how much their race and sexuality and such actual effects how they are treated by society at large. Getting called stupid on a single site on the internet isn’t really a big deal to me because I know I can go outside any time I want and know that I can’t actually be discriminated against for my sexuality and that I’m seen as normal in this regard.

And well, there are actual self identified neo nazis on tumblr too.

“waaah people are mad at me for calling black people the n word ;_;”

Yeah that’s right, anyone that disagrees with a group known for sending death threats and trivializing movements and disorders are racists.

Stay delusional.

Fuck Tumblr's Userbase Fuck Tumblr's Userbase 5/16/14 10:53 pm

Look at all the angry teens who can dish it out but can’t talk a single hit. It’s good to see Tumblr suffer because of this, proving the site needs a better staff that stops the doxxing assholes and curbs the enablers of stupidity.

I’m part of one of the real social justice/Anti-SJW groups and I can assure you he’s not making anything up.  The SJWs pry into everything on that sight, so much so that bloggers actually fear posting opinions incase some crazy person doxxes them.  It’s out of control and I hope Google can kick the sight’s mods into action.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out. If you already feel threatened by words like having white privledge, being called a homophobic, racist, etc. then you are already guilty of those crimes.

And besides, Tumblr is old news, no one does that anymore.

P.S: Check your white-male privledge. Thanks.

Shaking My Head Shaking My Head 5/17/14 5:31 pm

The scary thing is, people like Vi, eh, and Constanza are very likely not trolls and are serious about what they’re saying.

What we have here in the comments is proof of just how toxic and insane Tumblr social justice warriors are. You are guilty until proven innocent in their eyes, and taking offense at their toxicity is an admission of guilt.

The sad thing is, Tumblr is probably already beyond help. If they try to crack down on toxic users now, it could spark a violent backlash. At the very least people like Vi would be shrieking about “OPPRESHUN!” If Tumblr had, from the outset, been strict on this kind of behavior there probably wouldn’t have been a problem.

Such as it is, Yahoo should probably sell Tumblr while they can, before their investment is rendered completely worthless.

cry harder in your hugbox maybe?

I sincerely hope the day comes when Tumblr shuts down.

I will enjoy seeing ndf shake, cry and scream without (made-up third person pronoun) hatebox.

cry harder pls cry harder pls 5/17/14 9:32 pm

find one popular hateful and sickening post from someone on tumblr that doesn’t have hundreds of people reblogging it and telling the op they’re stupid and maybe sending them anon hate.

here’s the thing, you can’t. you know why? because the hurt feelings brigade(like the guy who wrote this article) aren’t used to having the thoughts and ideas they’re used to confronted in any way(whether the complaints being made at them are valid or not).

#### boy if some stuff that people say on what’s at best 2-3% of the internet offends you then go somewhere else. you can pretend that tumblr is getting unpopular but in truth it’s still appealing to one of the many niches that hold the internet together.

a 7 million user drop in the span of a few months? that’s too abnormal on it’s own to just cite one reason why it happened. the writer is most likely stretching some things.

Clearly you are not suited to tumblr
Try livejournal, you seem to have a lot of nothing to cry about.

btw, not a single social justice blogger has ever told me I should be raped or to kill myself or harassed me simply because they could. anti social justice is a different story.

You have tunnel vision, then. There are plenty of horror stories and screen captures out there of (miscarriage of) social justice advocates harassing people or telling them to kill themselves for the pettiest of things.

tumblrsuxpassiton tumblrsuxpassiton 5/17/14 9:56 pm

why does it not surprise me that you’re a white guy

I’m not surprised that the SJWs on tumblr are giving the site as a whole a bad name. While a lot of them are well meaning, they get ridiculously volatile and reactive to the point that it drives people off or just makes people angry.

For example, the time tumblr users sent hate messages (including invalidating her identity as a woman) and death threats to a Japanese transwoman for saying that, from a Japanese viewpoint, a particular Japanese fictional character wasn’t a transgender person. Or when Conchita Wurst confirmed that while her onstage persona was a woman, off stage he was a cisgender homosexual man and didn’t identify as a transfemale, suddenly people were accusing him of being racist and transphobic, even when he was very respectful of another performer who IS a transgender person. And yes, I have seen people being told to commit suicide over SJ issues, though to be fair, this is rare and often perpetuated by people who appropriate social justice for their own ridiculous purposes.

It’s not so much the SJW movement (which, imo, is a positive thing) as it is how the loudest people on tumblr handle it, jumping to conclusions and trying to shout people down instead of opening discourse.  Plus, the fact that finding and sharing posts is so easy makes it just as easy to encourage and perpetuate toxic behavior. TBH, I’ve learned a lot about LBGT issues through tumblr, but the fact that that one vocal minority of tumblr SJWs that’s incredibly toxic and volatile has become the face of the site is really unfortunate.

How white are you?

These responses only help further cement that your article is sound. It looks like some of those “Social Justice” bloggers found this and decided to whine in your comments section! How predictable.

I have seen this so many times it’s disgusting.  People keep claiming “no its not like that ive never seen it” but just because you don’t see it on your safe little part of tumblr doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.  I was so happy when people posted about real world problems seeing as I’m part of the LGBT community, but then people took things to extremes and legit bully anyone who doesn’t agree with them into deleting their blogs.

People are leaving the site by the millions to get away from you obnoxious shitheads, and all you can do is come up with blatantly obvious strawmen to explain it away.  That’s just ####### adorable.

lol. I like how this article is just trying to blame the area of Tumblr they don’t like when they could easily point the finger at the actual nazis on the site, or the fandom bloggers, or the obnoxious porn/fetish blogs.

delete your blog delete your blog 5/21/14 2:58 pm

delete your blog

I like how some people here are like ‘’ people in the comments disagree with you, it must mean they are SJW and you are right!’’ which is especially funny because this ‘‘article’’ is actually nothing more than a rant. You haven’t provided anyone with evidence that Tumblr’s traffic and userbase are dramatically dwindling: the only source I’ve found is this Forbes article that states it’s not growing, but not that it has diminished tremendously : http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2014/01/21/yahoos-next-problem-tumblrs-traffic-isnt-growing/

the next thing you have not proven is that it has anything to do with the social justice sphere when it could be competition from other platforms.

Sounds like nothing more than a personal drudge that you’re trying to pass as factual information.

ThirteenthLetter ThirteenthLetter 5/22/14 12:50 am

The worst part of all this is, I can’t tell if you’re being serious or not.

??????????????? ??????????????? 5/22/14 9:04 pm

There are litteral neo-nazis on tumblr and you’re gonna blame the free fall on SJWs???????????????? Like???? ?????

Go Back To Tumblr Go Back To Tumblr 5/23/14 9:43 pm

I’ve been on Tumblr for nearly three years now. I’ve seen maybe three or four neo-nazis, tops. But you know how many SJWs I’ve seen? It’s hard NOT to find SJW garbage. In fact, “social justice” is responsible for tearing about communities on Tumblr. I’ve seen this first hand.

No, these people aren’t in the minority, and no, they aren’t well-meaning. Anyone who was even remotely well-meaning is gone now, replaced with this vile, disgusting, violent, hypocritical, delusional little brats who would be chased off the internet if they weren’t so “quaint”. They talk real tough, but when you stand up to them, they hide behind their guady blogs that look like they were designed by a 5 year old girl and scream “Harassment!” and “Stalking!” while getting their followers to send you death and rape threats. They act like proud grown-up feminists, but instantly hide behind their age and gender (and by the way, the only guys I’ve seen are textbook white knights) whenever anyone challenges them.

And all this is lost on you because you’re one of them. You have no shame or decency whatsoever. A lot of people would make excuses for that, blame the other side of the isle, but the fact of the matter is that peope in this country have it so easily that we’ve created a generation of spoiled brats who have no comprehension of humility or actual hardship. You kids know NOTHING of the struggles of everyone who created this comfortable little world you’re taking advantage of, and nothing short of harsh reality collapsing on your head will wake you up.

You know something.

I read a lot of these comments putting this article down, but being a tumblr user myself, I know exactly what this guy means. A lot of the users that left may not have gone for this exact problem, but I know a lot of people did leave to esacpe the exact bullcrap the writer of this article is talking about. I have seen anon hate. I have seen posts telling cis people to die just for being born. I don’t know about what anyone else thinks, but I just believe tumblr has really developed into a different place over the years.

You can all put my comment down as nothing, but you know what?

I think this article explains this darker side of tumblr pretty well. That’s an opinion. If you hate on me for my own opinion, then you are no better than petty trolls and haters, stalking other peoples comments and putting them down to make youraelf feel better or smarter.

Demi-Fiend Demi-Fiend 5/24/14 4:28 pm

I’ve seen suicide, I’ve seen male victims of rape told they were lying about it, I’ve seen someone demand that a five-six year old white girl has her private information leaked for wearing a kimono, I’ve seen bloggers get called whitey and cis even when they were neither in those situations, and I’ve seen trans people admit to being scared of coming out as trans because of the #### that happens on tumblr.

No, it’s not “waaah people are mad at me for calling black people the n word ;_;” if you think that’s what it is, you are in so much denial it’s not funny.

‘How white are you?’
Ah yes, the dying cry of SJWs unable to accept defeat after every other argument they try is thoroughly dismantled by logic.

‘Digo, the proper response to an SJW attempting to play that card is “not nearly as white as you.”

A common observation of SJWs is that many of them are themselves white. Which makes it all the more disgusting how they think they have authority to speak for groups of all kinds, with a patronizing “I know what’s best for you” attitude.

““Then you might find the “Fat Acceptance” movement.”“
yeah how radical. those dang tumblrs. how dare they accept fat people and not just dismiss them as disgusting just for how they look. im offended

sltri-cartwright sltri-cartwright 6/6/14 10:42 pm

It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that Social Justice Warriors are giving Tumblr a bad rap. People are like “omg there are literal neo-nazis here but u talk about social jsutice w arriors >:000”. But isn’t what Social Justice bloggers should be doing? Fighting the ACTUAL scum of the earth as opposed to attacking innocent people who say something that SJ bloggers deem problematic for not coddling trans/non-Caucasian (PoC gets on my nerves SO MUCH)/enby special snowflakes.

Look at all these mad social justice bloggers in the comments lmfao.

Nice strawman.

Miranda Miranda 6/10/14 9:08 pm

14 year old social justice warriors are the reason I backlist the hell outta everything social justice related, and follow only 300 people. You guys are ridiculous.

topkekman topkekman 6/13/14 8:39 pm

haha, this article got <a href=“http://thathomestar.tumblr.com/post/85976008712/wow-tumblr-is-losing-its-####-all-thanks-to-a”>popular on tumblr</a> and got SUBSEQUENTLY flooded by the essJays, who would’ve thought?!

The random commenteers here can try to flood this article with statistics that say “oh it’s not BAD” or “the decline you’re saying is false, stop lying!!” or “Tumblr’s only a little dirty/slimy/airborne, but it’s still good, it’s still good!”, but it can’t be denied how bad it’s gotten over the past 2 years.

Mr. Ariel, given the fact that Gearlive has seemingly allowed you to publish this article, however, I can assume that your job and identity is hopefully safe and secure. And all we can hope for now is that this causticity gets resolved within 2 years, either through people waking up or by Yahoo! starting the culling.

Oh, and:

“It’s not so much the SJW movement (which, imo, is a positive thing)”

M, I know you’re trying to play the middle man and trying to find a compromise between what you perceive to be “two extreme sides”, but trust me: it’s not gonna work. I’ve been there myself, last year, and you don’t know how deep the rabbit hole goes. It’s not the “loudest users”, but the whole movement. Think about this: do you think actual social justice activists would call themselves “social justice warriors”, a name so childish it could only be thought of by childish people?

Do what I did: detach yourself completely from Tumblr and ask yourself why they encourage this extremity. Why do they “advocate” their positions in such a harsh way? Once you overcome Tumblritis, you shall be free.

“In fact, ‘social justice’ is responsible for tearing about communities on Tumblr.”

This is sadly true. There are reasons why it’s a common saying now to say that “all fandoms are terrible”, and this is one of them.

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...and here in the comment section is where the oversensitive, self-diagnosed, nounself, 13-year olds lurk. ready to attack anyone who thinks differently than them, they are truly an interesting species.

Thank you. Sjw are doing more damage to the groups they say they are for than help. I trust a bigot more than a sjw because I expect the bigot to be against me. I can plan my fight for rights against them. With sjw’s, I can’t. Now a days, I am spending less time fighting against people who are against me, an more time righting the damage sjws have done. I have had people, when I came out, outright say they cant talk to me because they dont want to have to deal with being told to die. They are pushing the work of rights workers backwards, and when important issues that dont pertain to them pop up, and is an actual sj issue? Not a ####### word from them, ever.

These comments tho

Only proving the article more right.

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How white are you?

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SJWs Gonna SJW SJWs Gonna SJW 8/9/14 1:34 am

And there it is again. Raj, in an irrational tantrum, cries out “How white are you?!?!” in response to legitimate criticism of Tumblr’s excessively toxic culture.

It’s interesting how “white,” “cishet,” and “male” have become akin to racial slurs among Tumblr’s SJWs. Even more interesting when you realize that Raj is, like many Tumblr users, is probably as white as chalk.

A toilet calling the china white, if you will.

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