The 7 Phases of the Tumblr Life Cycle
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The 7 Phases of the Tumblr Life Cycle

The 7 Phases of the Tumblr Life Cycle

If you've maintained a Tumblr for more than a year, you understand that your blog is a process; a life cycle even. As your thoughts and feelings change, the way you express them online changes with you. It becomes a surprisingly significant representation of your life. If you're like me and have had a Tumblr throughout your entire adolescence, you will definitely relate to these seven stages of the life cycle of your Tumblr.

The Discovery Phase

You're in 8th grade, and your cool older friend just showed you the best website you've ever encountered.You sign up, and spend the entire night being coached through the mysterious, magical world that is 2008 Tumblr. You and your friends now torture each other by going back on each other's early archives and mimicking the aimless text posts like "hey peeps I'm new here! what is this place, I love it xD" and pictures of Zooey Deschanel holding a ukulele. However, at the time, you genuinely thought that spongebob gifs and pictures of the Beatles were the highest and most cathartic form of self-expression.

The "Follow for Follow" Phase

Once you finally figure out how Tumblr functions as a website, the follower thirst gets real. Although you're still reblogging cliché gifsets of That '70s Show, paint samples with bad poems and pictures of funny cats, for some reason- you feel overcome with the desire for people to witness this seemingly profound self-expression. You enter your blog at, join follow trains that never work, and devote at least thirty minutes per day to messaging people "I love your blog! Follow for Follow?". Unfortunately, you end up having nothing in common with these followers, so once you start to develop your style, it starts to feel like performing for a dead audience. However, now that there's the illusion that someone cares about your blog, there's no turning back now.

The Angst Phase

Your best friend just started dating her first boyfriend, your crush rejected you, and My Chemical Romance just released a new album. It's time for the angst phase. The majority of your blog consisted of neon signs that say "We're all mad here" and song lyrics handwritten poorly on notebook paper. That one blurry photo of leaves with the definition of "nostalgia" appeared about 6 times within one month, and sarcastic, self-deprecating text posts were ubiquitous. You overcome this temporary depression by educating yourself to become the obnoxious hipster that transitioned into the Aesthetic Phase.

The Aesthetic Phase

Your description now reads "16, Oregon, pale soft grunge blog. I use band t-shirts as a form of mating call." What makes grunge soft and what was so compelling about reblogging crappy disposable camera photos of ripped up tights and Wes Anderson movie Gifs? The world may never know. The fact that you carefully considered your photo/gif/text post ratio and layout was indicative of how excessively seriously you took yourself at the time. This was probably around the same time that you bragged about knowing certain bands before they were popular and refused to buy clothes that weren't thrifted or from American Apparel.

The Fandom Phase

Whether it was the ambiguously romantic relationship between Louis and Harry from 1D, Benedict Cumberbatch, Orange is the New Black, or the ever-infamous Supernatural fandom, somewhere along the way, you became obsessed with something. Incidentally, Tumblr became the ideal means to express and foster this unhealthy obsession. You replaced all novel-reading with fan fictions and couldn't wait to binge-watch the next season of (insert TV show) for four days straight. Your friends were constantly annoyed by your tendency to find a way to relate everything they said to that one episode of Supernatural where Misha Collins did the thing or that one picture of Harry and Louis almost kissing. Although your superiority complex was completely unwarranted, you still thought you were better than everyone around you for having a Sherlock phone case.

The Aimless Everything Phase

At this point, you've finally overcome the five concrete phases of Tumblr embarrassment and you've lost the motivation to satisfy your followers, maintain a certain aesthetic, or keep any kind of general theme. You stop updating your description and layout, and reblogging posts becomes an automatic process. Due to your earlier days of fandoms, follow for follows, and soft grunge, your dashboard has become a confused, jumbled mess of every type of post that exists.

Luckily, some of those blogs have made the transition with you, and you all stand in solidarity for making it through the mess that was your online lives. Because you're older, your blog begins to get more political, your humor becomes weirder and more advanced, and every once in a while you'll feel the need to reblog that one pretty picture of trees. This is the time that you use your Tumblr as a medium for rage, and write noteless text posts about how much you hate your professor. Tumblr is officially no longer cool, and you understand that you're probably too old to still be using your blog daily. However, it's comforting and familiar, so it becomes your favorite guilty pleasure.

The Fade Away Phase

It's your junior year of college, you've chosen your major, you've finally tied down a committed relationship, and your off-campus apartment is treating you well. You're mature, and although you check your Tumblr once or twice a month just for kicks and giggles, it all starts to seem childish. You have more important things to worry about than the fight between Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus. You've taken five gender studies courses and realize that white Tumblr feminism is highly flawed. All of those previously hilarious text posts have been recycled too many times, and your sophistication highlights the fact that you're on a website filled with mostly children. In fact, you did make your Tumblr when you were 13. However, you can't bring yourself to officially delete your blog. Even when you're 40 and have a family, it will always be satisfying to look back at the stuff you liked and the way you felt throughout your adolescence.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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