Today’s scholarly reaction to the Tumblrpocalypse comes from Katherine E. Morrissey, who is an Assistant Professor at San Francisco State University. It’s from a Twitter thread, reposted with permission.
“Some fans are using Tumblr’s new content restrictions as a call for a fandom created platform. I love & hate the idea. I also question if that level of organization is possible in an era where fandom is so distributed & dependent on the tenuous social ties Tumblr constructs.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: forming OTW was a pivotal moment in media fandoms. Not just because fans organized systems to protect them but also because the archive separates fannish content from fannish socializing.
The fannish gift economy needs those social ties. Simultaneously, the commercial market began to make room for the types of content which were previously more exclusively fandom. Content creators were gaining alternatives for remuneration beyond social capital.
The media fandom networks constructing OTW/AO3 are very different from those shaping fan experiences today. Different modes of distribution, diff content needs, diff expectations. OTW was a necessary step & also a point of loss. The death of one fandom & birth of another.
Or, maybe I should say, the transition from one fannish ecosystem to another.”