"Learning from History: How TikTok Can Thrive and Evade the Fate of Tumblr"


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 09, 2023

4 min read


"Learning from History: How TikTok Can Thrive and Evade the Fate of Tumblr"


In the ever-evolving landscape of social media, platforms rise and fall, each with its unique set of challenges and successes. Tumblr, once a thriving blogging platform, met a slow demise due to various reasons. As TikTok continues to dominate the social media world, it is crucial to examine the lessons from Tumblr's downfall and explore how TikTok can avoid a similar fate.

1. Embracing the Power of Video Content:

One significant factor that contributed to Tumblr's decline was its failure to adapt to the growing preference for video content. While Tumblr allowed users to post videos, its platform did not provide a suitable environment for video consumption. Users preferred platforms like Vine and YouTube for video content, leading to a lack of development of true Tumblr personalities. TikTok, on the other hand, has perfectly tapped into the love for video content, offering short, engaging videos that capture the attention of users scrolling through their feeds.

2. Aligning with Changing Societal Trends:

Tumblr's downfall can also be attributed to a disconnect between its atmosphere and the direction in which society was heading. Unlike other social media platforms, Tumblr focused more on curating content and mood boards rather than fostering personal connections and enabling users to become influencers. As society became more focused on self-presentation and sharing edited versions of oneself, Tumblr's directionality towards content rather than the user hindered its growth. TikTok, with its emphasis on organic, face-to-face interaction and algorithmic learning, allows users to build empires beyond the app, aligning with the current trends of the social media landscape.

3. Regulating Niche Interests and Anonymity:

Tumblr's central culture revolved around niche interests and anonymous accounts, providing a platform for open discussions on topics that users may not want to broadcast publicly. However, the lack of sufficient regulation led to negative repercussions, including harmful content and toxic interactions. TikTok can learn from this by establishing a clear policy on harmful content and offering support to users struggling with mental health. Additionally, TikTok should recognize and value creators who focus on consensual, educational sex content, ensuring that they are not unjustly affected by any adult content bans.

The Importance of Understanding the History of Psychology:

In a different context, the importance of history in defining who we are and understanding our present situation cannot be overstated. This principle applies to the field of psychology as well. By delving into the history of psychology, we gain valuable insights into its evolution and the factors that shaped its current state. Preceding American psychology, philosophers like John Locke and Thomas Reid promoted the idea that knowledge comes from experience. Simultaneously, physiological investigations of the sensory systems furthered the understanding of the mind-body relationship. The work of Wilhelm Wundt and his students demonstrated that the mind could be measured and studied scientifically, leading to the establishment of experimental psychology and the formation of the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1892.


As TikTok continues to dominate the social media landscape, it is crucial to learn from the mistakes and successes of platforms that came before. By embracing the power of video content, aligning with changing societal trends, and regulating niche interests and anonymity, TikTok can avoid the fate that befell Tumblr. The platform's success lies in its ability to provide engaging, short-form video content while fostering genuine connections and prioritizing user experience. Let us remember that history serves as a valuable guide, and by understanding the past, we can shape a brighter future for TikTok and the realm of social media as a whole.

Three Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Continuously innovate and adapt to changing user preferences. Keep a close eye on emerging trends and technologies, and ensure that TikTok remains at the forefront of the social media landscape.
  • 2. Foster a positive and supportive community. Establish clear guidelines for content and interactions, prioritizing the well-being of users. Offer resources and support for mental health struggles, promoting a safe and inclusive environment.
  • 3. Encourage and value diverse creators. Recognize the importance of niche interests and provide a platform for creators to share educational and consensual content. Avoid unjust bans or restrictions that may negatively impact creators who contribute positively to the platform.

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