Perhaps it might strike you as a surprise why I’m on WordPress. Wasn’t my blog just on Tumblr a while back? Or maybe a better question would be, why was I even blogging on Tumblr to begin with? This isn’t 2015 – nobody uses Tumblr!
To that I might argue: Well, actually, plenty of people use Tumblr. The K-Pop GIF editors and fanfiction writers seem to be quite a merry bunch, Neil Gaiman sometimes pops up to answer questions from his loving fans, and there is a Goth guy I follow that shows up maybe once every 3 months, bombarding the timeline with 100 deadly pictures of occult, bones and death each time. I don’t know why I follow him.
Of course, Tumblr isn’t nearly as popular as it used to be back in the day. Half the population migrated to Twitter in 2018 when Tumblr enacted it’s pornography ban, and the remaining folk have dwindled even more. Now it’s mostly fandom posts, struggling artists and writers (hey, that’s me!) and meme blogs that screenshot all their content from other sites.
But nobody I know uses Tumblr. This is particularly stressful when “people I know” is my intended audience, for many posts came into being as a result of my interactions with them. I’d pour my heart out writing and the posts would then be unlikeable, uncommentable and the blog un-subscribe-able by anyone who didn’t already have a Tumblr account. Okay, maybe “pour my heart our” is an exaggeration, I probably wrote like 5 things, but still… After 8 months of running the blog, I had 36 followers, 18 likes on the most popular post, and a website that looked like shit on mobile browser.
At this point I’m getting anxious and jittery. The emotional side of my brain is telling me that it’s fine, that I can stick to “good old Tumblr” because it’s so familiar, has infinite versatile and customizable FREE theme options and can upload thousands of types of media. The rational side of my brain is screeching that I was just in denial that other platforms like WordPress and Medium could do that too, plus a crap ton more. Also, didn’t Automattic (parent company of WordPress) literally acquire Tumblr in 2019? Wouldn’t that mean it’s better to just move to WordPress anyway?
Thinking about why it took me so long to move, I think it’s because sometimes we just get to attached to things we find familiar. We cling onto remnants of the past, to the way “things have always worked” even when it’s clear that they don’t work anymore. Maybe it’s an emotional connection – I’ve used Tumblr since 2014, I love that place and and my fondness of it is still trying to convince me it’s working out. Maybe it’s because we’re afraid – afraid of change, afraid of learning the “newer ways” again from scratch, afraid of things we don’t understand. We would rather be mediocre and safe than take big risks on the chance of progress.
This isn’t just about Tumblr vs. WordPress. It’s about other things too, like why I shy away from technology related stuff. “I’m not that tech savvy, and I don’t need to be.” I try to laugh it off, pushing myself away from Computer Science, from Artificial Intelligence, from Cybersecurity. In actuality, these things will probably dominate our future. They’re the new WordPresses, and I’m stuck on Tumblr, trying to sound like I’m having a good time. “Yeah, I’m thriving over here. No need for upgrades or nothing, doing great just as it is,” I try to convince myself, but it really feels like I’m on an iceberg that’s slowly melting. Then when my life falls apart as a result of me being a tech noob, I will be forced to pick the newer solution, just like I’m doing now, only then the consequences will be much worse than having to transfer a few posts.
This is a bad habit. It ties you down and hampers your progress. So long as you are complacent with what already works, you will bypass opportunities to do better.
I’m trying very hard to break this habit, and have already crossed the first hurdle by choosing to transfer my blog over here. I spent the whole afternoon trying to figure WordPress out, muttering “Holyfuckholyfuckholyfuckholyfuckholyfuck” the entire time. I am absolutely terrified of computers, but I did it. I’m still a complete noob at WordPress site-building, but I did it. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t fun, but I did it.
The thing is, trying to break a bad habit is hard and scary. Especially so if it happens to involve stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something you don’t like very much. Transferring my blog from Tumblr to WordPress was hard and scary, but when I attempt to familiarize myself with STEM-related knowledge, it will be even harder and scarier. I am petrified. I want to scream, shout and hide under a table. But then I will try to do it anyway.
“Being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t scared. Being brave means you are scared, really scared, badly scared, and you do the right thing anyway.”― Neil Gaiman, Coraline