¸.·´  ¸   `·.¸.·´)
: © ):´;      ¸  {
 `·.¸ `·  ¸.·´\`·¸)


Surprise! I can't microdose Tumblr

I've been off Twitter, which was the last social media website I was using, for about 2 years now. About 10 years ago, though, the website du jour for me was Tumblr. I hadn't touched Tumblr since probably around 2017.

Cut to a little over a year ago. I started posting on my Tumblr art blog again to archive things for myself (and because I have absolutely no desire to deal with hosting an art blog on my own server). For a while, I managed to commit to only opening it with the express purpose of uploading an image before leaving. It was fine! Until it wasn't.

Alas, the siren song of social media is hard to resist. I convinced myself that I could look at my feed again, in short bursts. I would just have to limit myself to only following accounts that posted art or animal photos. Thus, I would be able to experience the joy of content without all the baggage of discourse. This, too, was fine.... until it wasn't.

I never cared much for social media engagement and fake internet numbers. When I used Twitter, my account was private. My deadly sin isn't pride or envy, but wrath: I am a serial hatereader. I love to hateread things. I say I don't get mad at them, but I kind of do - why else would I do it?

I kicked Twitter because I found it incredibly hard to stop myself from 1. actively seeking out discourse and 2. going down the rabbit hole once I got there. This wasn't a vanity thing, nor was it an excuse to get into arguments - I never engaged with the posters or participated in quote tweet dunking. I just read, got mad, and maybe fired the link off to a friend so they could get mad too.

It will come as no surprise to you that this is not a good way to live, and I was wasting a lot of time scrolling through Twitter and making myself mad for no reason when I could be, like, painting or learning interpretive dance or touching grass or literally anything else. I logged out of Twitter on all of my devices to force myself to stop using it, then ended up deleting my account for good. Twitter is dead. Long live Twitter.

My social-media-less quality of life was fantastic. I was moisturized. In my lane. Thriving. I was so in my lane that I was sure I could handle microdosing Tumblr. I was a changed man! I could curate my online experience in a way that was productive and healthy and-- oh god how did I end up on my 30th hot take of the day.

As it happens, my master plan of limiting the users I followed didn't work out as I hoped. Inevitably, some people I had followed for art or animal pictures participated in discourse, and instead of blocking and moving on, I fell back into the discourse rabbit hole just as easily as I had before quitting Twitter. I was a little (a lot) delusional about how well I was handling this for a while (a really long while), and I allowed this to continue on the order of months before I finally decided to cut myself off. I logged out of Tumblr on all my devices sometime this February, and I haven't been back on since. Tumblr is dead. Long live Tumblr.

I'm once again moisturized, in my lane, and thriving, and I've accepted that I can't as much as microdose on social media of any flavor. No, not even the so-called "good" ones like Mastodon that are getting popular nowadays. Easy access to discourse is an intrinsic feature of any website that allows you to easily read the thoughts of strangers (regardless of character limits, engagement counters, or video length), especially if said website allows people to spread other people's thoughts around for them.

Interestingly, I get the sense that a subset of people on every social media platform think Their website isn't like the other ones, and everyone who uses those other websites is a lame tool who is addicted to the internet, can't think critically, etc. This was pretty prevalent on Tumblr, where anti-Twitter "refugee" (I don't particularly like this word choice, especially when used in this context) and anti-Tiktok sentiment were all over the place. But all of these websites are the same! You're all clowns in the same circus!

To account for me sounding a bit like a boomer here, I don't think social media is an incorrigible blight on society that is responsible for every problem nowadays. Internet trolling or stupid petty discourse isn't unique to social media: there were plenty of """""small web""""" """""""indie"""""" spaces (as they'd be called now) with equally, if not more, toxic content. I also still think better platforms are worth trying to make, if only to chip away at the megacorporation monopoly that exists right now. My addiction to hatereading is, to some extent, a personal thing that I should take responsibility for.

Even then, discourse brain is a feature and not a bug in the commercial social media model. Social media companies knew exactly what they were doing by encouraging people to get into arguments for fake internet points. No new website or changes to existing ones can put that toothpaste back into the tube.

I haven't learned interpretive dance or gotten any painting done since I kicked Tumblr (or Twitter, for that matter). I've moved on to new equally unproductive distractions like sudoku and making spreadsheets for video games, but I do find that my mental state is much better when I'm not looking for things to get mad at.

P.S. because I have to preempt any misinterpretations of this simple reflection about my relationship with social media: "Discourse" isn't referring to discussion about the actual tangible problems of marginalized groups. Talking about racism or transphobia isn't discourse. I am talking about trivial terminally online arguments about, like, cartoons. If you thought I was talking about the former, go step on some legos for me.


Back to list

Hate mail to k [at] kalechips [dot] net