Tumblr was always fun because you could get both. I could have a feed of all of my interests, not just those some group deemed acceptable. I’m sure there’s some who’s interests fall entirely within the venn diagram of “acceptable”, and for those, it’s still viable. But as you stated, many like both, and many of the creators I think (who are also consumers) had interests in both SFW and NSFW content.
I don’t have any data to back this up either. But I think – and it’s a very certain feeling – that more individuals are into, let’s say, deviant content, than is spoken publicly. And the tech community, which has always skewed the populations of these platforms as opposed to the population whole, influences this. To put it succinctly (and bluntly) as a friend once told me, “the venn diagram of “kink” and “geek” practically overlap.)
I visited Tumblr for it’s digital art community, but also because it was also heavily used by the shibari community, which practices and demos erotic rope bondage.
Photographers, riggers, and models all maintained accounts on there and Instagram (IG). Tumblr was in some cases the preferred (with Instagram accounts forwarding their users over to Tumblr) as it was the more open platform.
There was a huge outcry in this community and others when the shift was announced, with people scrambling to maintain connections and set up alternate platforms. For while IG was (and to some extent still is) popular, many accounts on IG are often deleted due to reports (“female presenting nipples”). Tumblr was a good anchor to reconnect because it was consistent.
Tumblr’s “closing” had many discussing what to do, as IG is becoming increasingly intolerant to even “artistic” adult content. Twitter remains somewhat usable. But to go back to the original point, I asked some of my favorite artists if they didn’t want to consider a platform such as “Ello” (which seemed a natural fit for this content) instead of Instagram or other mass-market platform, which seemed all too likely to follow Tumblr’s path. The answer? “Because I want my work to be seen.”
And I think that’s what the controversy comes down to. The legally questionable content notwithstanding, artists want their work to be seen, to be viewed by new people, and to connect with those who are waiting to find something to inspire them. Our community meets people all of the time who see an image and get drawn to something about it, feel something unlocked inside that they never knew to ask about. Walling this content off into “adult-only” areas is like a segregation of sorts. You may be able to post pictures, but with it comes the implicit labeling that somehow, it’s different, shameful, and isn’t worthy of being grouped with everything else. And this has a chilling effect on people and their interests which different from the mainstream.
So I’m dismayed when I see waves of channels deleted on YouTube, accounts taken down on Instagram, and one more artist I follow declaring that they’re tired of fighting whack-a-mole and head off into one of the secluded boxes in some corner of the internet like bdslr, or FetLife, or others. They essentially “go dark” . This doesn’t bode well for the internet and society at large, for all we’ll have left is the sterile, the “acceptable”, the echo chamber which we find so troublesome today.
P.S.: I didn’t hit upon the tremendous hypocrisy I feel occurs when it seems to pull a hate speech post offline requires hand-wringing or controversy (or god forbid, a shooting), but adult content accounts can be shuttered instantly with no explanation other than a boilerplate. That, I feel, could be an entirely new discussion however.
> To put it succinctly (and bluntly) as a friend once told me, “the venn diagram of “kink” and “geek” practically overlap.)
It's nice to have an outside view on this. I was always of the opinion that my friends just happen to overlap because my interests select people in both worlds. But yeah, there might actually be a strong correlation.