The one where Tumblr deactivated my account

For the last year or so I’ve been following the idea that it’s better to take your writing to potential readers, rather than try to bring them to your writing. With that in mind, I created mirrors of my personal blog at WordPress and Tumblr and cross posted entries into them.

I thought better of it a few days ago – and put up a message on both platforms that I was taking a step back for a while. I had been struggling with writing anyway, so it seemed like the right thing to do.

This morning I pulled the dust sheets back off both WordPress and Tumblr, and brought them both up to date – back-filling the last few days private posts.

And then suddenly the Tumblr blog wasn’t there any more. Or rather, I was suddenly logged out, and couldn’t log back in. After a little digging, I discovered the message “this blog has been terminated – contact support for further information”. I of course contacted support, but I don’t hold out much hope. Terminations tend to be very final.

I had been a member of Tumblr on-and-off since 2007. While not the place it once was, I had never quite summoned the courage to remove myself entirely – I had too many friends there. Too many memories. Back in the day – when David Karp was in charge – Tumblr had made a real difference to the world-wide-web community. It was always a bit scrappy, and a bit broken, but it was somehow better than the sum of it’s parts.

Of course I’ve lost the list of people that I used to follow. They vanished with the account. I’m going to miss them enormously. Strangers for the most part – but strangers sharing moments of their lives – much as I had. I *knew* so many of them – or at least felt like I did. And now they are gone.

I’m resisting the temptation to rail against walled gardens once again – and this time it would be valid. It will not surprise you to learn that I’ve spent the hours since it happened backing up every piece of writing I have shared. Having copies of everything you’ve posted since 2003 doesn’t sound quite so stupid when a place they were published suddenly vanishes, does it.

My concern now is that WordPress will go the same way. I have been publishing writing to WordPress for even longer – since the mid 2000s. WordPress and Tumblr are both owned by Automattic. The robot that undoubtedly pulled the rug from my Tumblr account could do the same to WordPress at any moment – and there will be no way of finding out why.

Substack has become a lifeboat of sorts. The list of email subscribers has become an escape route from the walled gardens that choose who, what, when, and where we can post excerpts of our lives.

I suppose if anything, this morning has re-affirmed that I am doing the right thing – trying to find a way outside of the walled gardens.

Back up your writing, folks. You never know what tomorrow may bring.

8 replies on “The one where Tumblr deactivated my account”

Jonathan, this is infuriating so I started googling and found this: “Does Tumblr delete inactive blogs? If you haven’t logged into your account for more than a year, the service will send you a reminder that your username is going to expire. After a certain period, your username will be released for other people to use. However, this doesn’t mean that your account will be deleted.” This quote is from Dec 2022.

To reactivate you need to fill in forms. Here:'ve%20misplaced%20your,of%20the%20blog%20in%20question.

As for WordPress going the same way, I have not seen any emails about that yet. Gmail certainly has sent them around but not WP yet as far as I know. The point here is indeed to back up your posts. I never exclusively write in the control panel. Nit in the least because I hate the block editor. I write in Word on my desktop, save it to my computer, and then copy & paste to WP.

I hope this gets resolved and maybe, keep us all posted as you cannot be the only one facing this.

Liked by 2 people

Same thing here. Used the share post function on my WordPress site on all old posts so I could get the links onto tumblr. This was only 12 shares and I got deactivated for spamming. I was considering migrating from self hosted WordPress to but because of this I’m considering what to do more carefully.

Liked by 1 person

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