Why I’m “leaving” tumblr; Why The Kindle Monologues will be returning, albeit in a different guise and on a different platform [Wordpress] and some thoughts on why this was inevitable really.
Do I expect anyone to read this? Not really. Do I care? Again, not really. But given the amount of time, energy and honesty that I’ve pored into tumblr, across four blogs [this one, The Kindle Monologues, £10 a week challenge, and a private one that focuses on my treatment and recovery from a serious illness]?
It just feels “right” to let it all out of the bag.
I joined tumblr on October 7th, 2009 [907 days ago]. I’d read about tumblr prior to that - the site / platform has, after all, been around since 2007. Initially I had no real inclination to join up, however two of my friends from the Geekscape forums - Chris & Katherine [Two unbelievably awesome people, who’ve put up with my crap for all these years] had both been using the system since the year before, so I decided to create an account / blog, primarily to follow their content¹
A quick look through my archive for that first month seems to suggest that initially my personal blog reflected my personality rather well. There were also foreshadows of endeavours to come - as this post from October 9th shows.
Within a few days, I’d posted my first review - of the BBC4 programme “Micro Men” a programme co-starring a certain Martin Freeman, whom I’m sure most of tumblr are now aware of.
Speaking of Chris - there were also references of what would eventually happen with this very blog, given the following quote:
Hiro, Hiro, Hiro. Singlehandedly destroying databases since FOREVER.
[Hiro was part of my username on the Geekscape forums - HiroProtagonist was the full name, a pseudonym plucked from the Neal Stephenson novel, Snow Crash.]
Between then and now, my original blog - i.e. the one you’re reading now, continued to grow - according to the stats on my Dashboard, this’ll be post #1907 from my “main” blog. In that time I’ve “liked” 1467 posts - not bad given that the largest number of blogs I’ve followed during that time was 26.
For those of you wondering - my first post that was kinda related to eBooks? That’d be this post here, written after Borders [UK] went into administration.
During the time I’ve been using tumblr I’ve experienced a few setbacks - some decidely minor, some significantly more major - being told to prepare a will when you’re in your mid 20s is, to put it blunty, something that fucks with your head.
Fortunately, I’m still here - well, not “Here” here, obviously as this’ll be my last post, but I’m still around, as ‘twere.
Also during the time I’ve been using tumblr, it has exploded in popularity. I believe tumblr is now the second biggest “social network” / “blog”-esque site on the internet, behind Facebook. If it isn’t already, it will be pretty soon - tumblr recently surpassed 20.5 BILLION posts. That’s 20,500,000,000 posts, split across around 51M blogs [How many of those are spam posts, one wonders?]
In short, tumblr is expanding in almost every way possible - new users, new content, new investment - and more importantly, new features. Tumblr has recently announced much, much closer integration with Facebook - an excellent facility imo. The platform itself is also significantly more stable than a few years ago - notice any 24hr outages recently? Or even a 1hr outage?
All excellent - and proof that tumblr is “the platform of choice”.
So why am I leaving?
Unfortunately it’s because the very aspect of tumblr that has made it such a success - the “community” is also one of its biggest detriments.
Let’s cut to the chase - the number of times I’ve been called a “Cunt” or “a fascist” [I have, btw, no fucking idea how supporting Amazon makes you a fascist.] or have been told that I [and I alone] am responsible for the demise not only of Borders bookstore, but also independant bookstores - hell even the demise in the number of new books.
That’s right - I was once told my little Kindle / eBook blog, which has never had more than 500 “followers”, was responsible for soo many things.
That’s perfectly fine - what isn’t, is the way tumblr staff handle this.
The last time I received a PM - from a registered user btw [said person is still active], calling me a “stupid cunt”? I forwarded that onto tumblr support.
Said post was eventually removed, though the person is still active. [at least as of the typing of this]
I’m going to go “off rail” a little here, and quote some parts of the tumblr Community Guidelines - it’s my last post, I’m allowed to take a Tarrantino-esque approach to the narative!
From the tumblr Community Guidelines - admittedly the recently revised version², but - after all, everyone has to adhere to these guidelines:
As a global platform for creativity and self-expression, Tumblr is deeply committed to supporting and protecting freedom of speech. At the same time, we draw lines around a few narrowly-defined but deeply important categories of content and behavior that jeopardize our users, threaten our infrastructure, or damage our community.
I’ve seen that interpreted to mean that you shouldn’t criticise people when they post content - if someone posts something saying “eKindles are liek sooo stupid” and adds 20 tags? In the eyes of some, you’re supposed to merely roll your eyes, and leave it at that.
Personally? I interpret that to state that you can’t harass someone based on their comments. To some, the re-blogging and replying to content counts as harassment - to me, it’s not. I’m a firm believer that if you put something “out there” on the internet, you should be prepared to defend it.
Also from the Community Guidelines:
[I emphasised the last part.]
Part of what makes tumblr unique, is the tagging system. Interested in Books? Then search for it, and “track” the tag by pinning it to your Dashboard - you’ll then be able to at a quick glance, see posts that relate to books.
To run The Kindle Monologues I tracked numerous tags relating to eBooks, books, and the book & publishing industry. Those tags were in addition to tags that I “tracked” or “followed” for my own personal interests.
I’ve just looked through the Block settings on my account - I’ve blocked almost 200 accounts. At least 80% of those are spam accounts - accounts that constantly post garbage, to popular tags.
Every account I find spamming the tags? I report them to tumblr for spam. At most, 10% get removed. That hardly fits with “Spam doesn’t belong on tumblr”.
Impersonation, Stalking, or Harassment. Treat the community the way you’d like to be treated. Don’t attempt to circumvent the Block feature. If you want to parody or ridicule a public figure (and who doesn’t?), don’t try to trick readers into thinking you are actually that public figure.
A few weeks ago I was accused of “bullying” people. Suffice to say, I don’t appreciate being called a “bully” and you can find my response the accusations by clicking this link, which lists all the parts. Messaging someone to call them a “cunt” - I’d argue that qualifies as harassment.
Re-blogging a persons’ post - a post they’ve published onto a public platform, and tagged, and using logic and common sense to point out a different perspective…
Is that bullying? If the teenagers / young adults on tumblr think that’s “bullying” - I really, really think you’re in for a shock when you leave your insulated little bubbles, and have to live in the real world. Based on that logic, I’d be sent to jail for some of the project critiques I’ve written in the past. In the real world? I was commended for it, and got paid.
Now, I’d like to move onto what for me, is an interesting part of the Terms of Service - namely the part I violated [according to tumblr, and the person[s] who submitted the initial ticket] - the Privacy part:
Privacy Violations. Don’t use Tumblr to deceptively obtain personal information. Don’t post content that violates anyone’s privacy, including personally identifying or confidential information like credit card numbers, social security numbers, unlisted contact information, or private photos of your ex’s junk (no matter how attractive).
The post that caused me run afowl of the tumblr staff, was a print screen of a comment I’d received on one of my posts. It showed the persons quite frankly absurd comment, as well as their email address and IP address.
Anyways, that’s all, to an extent, beside the point.
No, the primary reason I’m “moving on” - the “tumblr” community has changed over the last year. And with respect of what I wanted to do with The Kindle Monologues?
It’s not been a positive change.
My “Dashboard” experience has always been a positive one. I’ve never embraced the “Follow me, I’ll follow you” mindset some people have - If someone choses to “follow” my blog? That’s nice, but I feel no obligation to “follow back”. If you count the maximum number of followers to both The Kindle Monologues and my personal account [not including people who “followed” both?] - Almost 700 followers. As I said at the start of this post, the number of blogs I’ve followed? 26.
Which isn’t to say there aren’t other blogs I read. A quick look through my browser history shows that I read the blogs of:
To name but seven. Undoubtedly there are more, but those spring to mind for various reasons.
But at most? I’ve only ever “Followed” 26 blogs. For the simple fact that I don’t like having a cluttered dashboard - and because I enjoy reading peoples content.
Which brings me to the point: I currently have 314 “followers” over on The Kindle Monologues. Four people have messaged me, following my “final” post.
Now don’t get me wrong - I’m not particularly obsessed with “Follower” numbers. I can tell from the number of notes / likes my posts get, that not everyone reads them - though I’m still not sure why you’d follow an account you’re seemingly not interested in?
But the community aspect of tumblr - followers, tags etc, etc, are partially what I’ve become annoyed with.
I know that anything over 1000 words is unlikely to be read by as little as 10% of the people who “follow” TKM [And at 1902 words so far, this qualifies!]. Which causes the dilemna. On the one hand - I honestly don’t care. The blog is supposed to be for me, and for my own self-gratification. It’s about using my brain for something different - to the extent that I contemplated creating an “Anti” eReader blog, just to argue a different perspective - possibly with myself :)
I guess my problem was - who am I writing for. Me, the people I’ve known for years, or the “Followers”?
The other problem was the change in focus from original content, to taking others and using that as a platform to offer my own suggestions. And ultimately it’s that that has caused the problems.
I’ve been accused of “Stalking” peoples blogs - “How would you feel if someone came onto your blog and posted hateful comments about you?” was how one idiot put it [I’m leaving - fuck you, I’ll say what I want, and address people accordingly.]. Nothing could be further from the truth.
ALL “TUMBLRSPHERE” CONTENT RE-BLOGGED OVER ON THE KINDLE MONOLOGUES, WAS SOURCED FROM THE TAGS.
Are we clear on that? Your precious “I’m a real booklover, Kindles are for fucktards because of these reasons which anyone with a brain can tell you are usually wrong” posts? They all come via the tags.
At no point do I stalk peoples accounts - for one, how is that even possible? How would I find the accounts in the first place?
Nope, I’d simply browse the tags, and if I found a post that interested me? I’d re-blog it in full and offer up my opinion.
And now I’m going to rant against two “feminists” here on tumblr. I won’t dignify them by mentioning their tumblr urls, but I’m going to address a point they raised.
A few months ago I tore apart an “Anti Kindle” post that I found whilst browsing the tags. There was no profanity, at no point did I call the poster stupid or anything similarly disparaging - I simply took their content, and systematically tore it apart.
I expected my response to be re-blogged, and for a rebuttal of sorts. That’s been the overriding goal of TKM - to get a dialogue started. Instead I was accused to being “a coward who gets off on bullying teenage girls”.
That statement? You could effectively condense this entire post - and the reason why I’m moving on, to it and others like it.
To me, the biggest insult I could offer a person, is to suggest their opinions aren’t valid, due to their gender, their age, or both.
Should I have checked the tumblr blogs of everyone I re-blogged? If so, what should I have looked for? I would hope you see my point - for a professed “Feminist” to claim that I shouldn’t consider content from teenage girls as viable content to re-blog and address? Surely that goes against everything feminism is supposed to represent?
Why the fuck shouldn’t a teenager -of any gender - be expected to “hold their own”. Are we really saying teenagers are dumber than adults?
It honestly boggles my mind.
My belief has always been this: Your gender, age, sexual orientation, nationality, colour? I couldn’t give a fuck either way. On tumblr - and the internet as a whole? I judge people on the content they create / post.
That is, after all, what people my age, who’ve used the ‘net for as long as I have, have celebrated - that you could find an amazing piece of work, and have no clue as to the identity of the person who wrote it - if they wish to remain anonymous.
That doesn’t seem to be the case on tumblr - it seems there’s a presiding view that you’re allowed to post your content, but if someone comes along and uses a bit of logic & common sense to explain why, in their opinion, you’re wrong.
You get called a bully.
I really, really believe the experience I’ve had with supposed “feminists” saying a teenager shouldn’t engage in a debate with an adult; that the teenagers who post their content and cry to the tumblr police when someone takes it apart.
I Really, really hope it’s not indicative of the wider world - I really hope they’re not representative of their generation at large.
Or else we’ll have a lot more to worry about, that what constitutes a “real” fucking book.
¹Which I’ll still do. Tumblr allows you to subscribe to RSS feeds - so even if I never log back into the service after today, I’ll still be able to follow peoples’ content. And, of course, you can just access the blogs as websites [name.tumblr.com]
²Though said latest revision doesn’t really differ that much from the original version, at least not in regards the parts I’m quoting.