Yes, this is yet ANOTHER piece about tumblr and what it’s done.
Wellllllll, it’s not actually. Oh yea, it’s about tumblr, but I am not going to bang on about how them banning porn, for whatever reason (everything to do, as everyone knows, with Apple kicking them off the App Store), is the end of everything online.
I have my tumblr bookmarks, and no, they are not porn ones. I use tumblr to feed my creative inspiration and is why I recently restarted my feed – so I could easily collect what I see and like. That’s not to say that at various points in time I have not digressed, I have, no shame in that — it was there and easy to access. But it was not the reason I had, or still have, an interest in tumblr.
Not being a powertumblr (tumblee?), I did not hear about the decision until I started to see comments and articles all over the place. I read a few and the common theme was 1. it’s the end of tumblr and 2. banning porn from tumblr, regardless of the reason, is an infringement on free speech, an affront on fringe gender groups and any number of other things that can be filed under ‘it’s just not right’.
Call me a capitalist pig, insensitive, uncaring or, or, or… whatever. My view on the whole thing is different. Regardless of whatever goes on behind the scenes internally, it can not be denied that for years and years, tumblr has been there for everyone to use, FOR FREE. As far as I can tell, monetising it has not been a thing and if it was, not a strong priority. I have not been pushed to upgrade, buy advertising, promotions, nothing. For years anyone could have an account and post whatever they want that was, for all intents and purposes, unrestricted in nature. And this was a good thing for all but, as it now transpires, a bad one for the company.
But here’s the kicker. While it was, and still is, free for all to use as they please (almost), there’s still a company behind it. A company with people to pay, systems to keep running, all that ‘business’ type stuff. As such, because it’s a company and tumblr its product, they can do whatever the hell they want with it.
And that’s it.
So if they woke up on Wednesday morning and decided no ‘more porn on our platform’, then, no more porn. Complain, protest, whine all you like. You weren’t forking out money for it, so you have no claim. You’ve had a very good run but now you have to go find the next free platform to do what you want.
And that’s the thing these days, I call it ‘digital entitlement’. It’s the idea that everyone has the right to use this stuff, endlessly, for free. And if company X decides they are going to change the plan? Then it’s everyone’s right to protest and complain that they are being done an injustice. Well it’s not and the they aren’t. If these platforms were run by government, using tax payer’s money, then yes, everyone has every right to get bent out of shape. But we are talking private companies providing platforms for people to use for FREE. It’s like Flickr now saying that accounts with over 1,000 photos will have to pay a small price for more storage. Shit, really? You are going to complain that you have to pay a pittance for bottomless storage? You do realise someone has to pay for it and if Flickr aint advertising, just where is the money coming from? Or the shock and outrage that Zuckerturd is quietly trying to sell the only true asset it Facebook has, your data, on the sly? Yes, he’s a shit for brains for doing it the way he did, or that he did it at all (and it seems still trying), but he’s given everyone a very large, expensive, platform to use for free for many years, and I am guessing he’s not covering costs with advertising.
All these platforms are commercial enterprises, mostly with shareholders who want returns, and while we were all living in the goldilocks zone for the past decade, where it was all sparkles and ice-cream and no one paid anything to use them, reality is starting to come home to roost and the old adage — nothing is free, is finally raising its head.
I pay $5 a month to use Medium. It’s less than most people spend on coffee in one day. For that $5 I get my account (which I could have for free) but also access to articles I otherwise would not have. Does not mean I read them (I mostly don’t) but I’d like to think that the $5 keeps advertising out of Medium and they have a more realistic, and sustainable, platform for me to vent on. Given the choice, I’d do the same with the other platforms I use — pay a small yearly fee and be happy knowing that that said fee affords a certain amount of fiscal freedom so the company in question can pursue their original intent (though I think Zuckerturd’s original intent was to always to screw everyone).
But I am not most people. I am not ‘digitally entitled’ and I believe in user pays systems. Many people do not — would the people complaining pay a yearly fee for an adult content driven ‘social media’ site I wonder…? Probably not.
Tumblr killing porn (or *ahem* ‘adult content’) is not an issue because it was never an issue to begin with. It’s become one because a lot of people, who paid nothing, are affronted that the owners of the park have closed the gates. If tumblr collapses because people can no longer access free porn and they all leave, then that is more an indictment on the state and attitudes of online communities more than it is about a company’s decision of how people can interact with its product.