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Art Tumblr in 2024: What’s it like?

Posting art online can be pretty rough. The culture surrounding art on social media is a mixed bag: your ability to post your work and reach thousands of people is spectacular, but the nature of social media also encourages people to just scroll by and not really engage with the art that they see. It also really depends on where you post your art, and in my experience, most really aren’t great. Tags are overflowing with unrelated posts; art theft is rampant; AI art becomes more of a plague every day online. I have used Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), Artfight, Artfol, Pixiv, and many others—some are better, but I struggle to say that any of them are great in particular. When raising this issue with some friends, though, they had a suggestion that I never saw coming: use Tumblr. In 2024. I didn’t know much about the site, but what I did know was it had fallen from grace after encountering controversy after controversy since its heyday in the 2010s. I had no idea it was still even up and running, to be honest. But, with little other options, I figured that I could give it a shot.

So, what was it like? Well, for one, the actual UI for once doesn’t feel actively hostile to artists. It’s a bit confusing, especially the ability to reblog: basically a repost, but you can add tags or text to the original post. Sometimes it’s a bit hard to tell if you should use this reblog feature or just comment under a post, but it’s also not too much of a deal and nothing most users pay that much attention to. Beyond that, the tagging system is really good. For one, unlike other social media apps, the etiquette on Tumblr isn’t to just shove every tag imaginable for the most amount of outreach; instead, people get quite specific and weird with tags. People also add hashtags to reblogs, which are often used to compliment the artist without leaving an actual comment.

Speaking of people’s reblog tags, Tumblr users are so nice. Beyond anything I was expecting. Personal art got more attention than I had ever received, fandom art even more so. (Of course, fandom art still seems more popular than personal art on Tumblr, but I think that’s more of an issue with art on social media in general and, while mildly discouraging, is understandable). I can’t exactly pinpoint why people are particularly kind to artists on Tumblr, but I do think it has to do with the aforementioned tagging system. Unlike commenting, it feels a little less anxiety-inducing because there is a layer of separation between the artist and the commentor, sort of like reposting something on your Instagram story. However, with reblogs, you’re encouraged to add a tag to have your blog sorted neatly; and while you’re typing, you might as well add a nice comment in the reblog that the original poster can see. Thus, you can leave something nice for the artist to read without having to go through the hassle of leaving a full comment or the potential anxiety of being annoying or intrusive.

So, if you’re sick of posting art in your usual spots, I can’t recommend Tumblr more to try out. It might not seem like it, but it’s truly worth a second glance, even all the way in 2024.

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