The Second Rise of Tumblr

The Tumblr logo, with permission from

Sophia Prichard, Sr. Editor

The social media app Tumblr has a certain nostalgia, reminiscent of other apps like Vine or Vsco that are connected to a specific era of the internet. The original rise of Tumblr was rooted in Fandom culture, connected to TV shows and video games like Doctor Who, Supernatural, or Sherlock. Most of these media’s fans consisted of teenage girls, and their subsequent teen angst. The angst and pain associated with the teen years led to Tumblr being linked to mental illness and romanticization.

Romanticizing mental illness and angst seems to be a mainstay in teenage culture, but something about Tumblr aggravated this issue. Tumblr exists as a sort of pocket in internet culture, untouched by the mainstream, despite being an extremely popular social media site. The app contains a combination of LGBTQ, fandom, and meme cultures that found an overlap. The 2014 alt pop, indie, edgy aesthetic often associated with Tumblr is making a comeback in popular culture, and resulting in what some are calling, the Second Rise of Tumblr. The newer age of Tumblr includes the new “aesthetic” side of the internet, where users cultivate their favorite images to display to others, but the older Tumblr of memes and interests still thrives.

The pocket nature of Tumblr, however, has resulted in a sort of gate-keeping on the app, with older users expressing how their beloved app is being over run by those who don’t understand or get Tumblr culture. The older Tumblr culture of inside jokes and Tumblr-specifc memes, appears to be dying out. This distrust between the new and old users doesn’t seem to be a major issue to some, as a couple of posts have travelled about the app describing how the app has always been big and new users isn’t a bad thing, and some users make fun of the absurdity of the situation.