we have literally created our own dialogue? language? here on tumblr and i think that is the most amazing thing ever
please disregard my shitty editing skills
Every web community develops customs but not every web community develops a pidgin. Web pidgins usually emerge from a mix of isolation from authority (nobody is policing speech or grammar) and an unbounded sense of identity (people feel free to experiment with new and novel forms of communication.)
Most of the elements of Tumblr’s pidgin were developed and flourished elsewhere (LiveJournal, 4chan, slashdot, email, IM, MMOs, etc.) Once here, they mutated to better fit both the expanded space and new constraints of the platform (tumblr tags are longer than Twitter hashtags, emoticons became reaction gifs.) Eventually, their “important” features bared little resemblance to their predecessors and the resulting collection was seen to be Tumblr’s “own”.
So the question I’m interested in is: what happens from here?
As a user, my hope is that the culture continues inviting new language and behaviors and continues evolving.
But self-awareness (as seen in the screenshots above) sometimes leads to an urge to protect the culture that’s visible. And that protection easily devolves into elitism and power and authority (see Digg, reddit, 4chan).
And if that happens — if people can’t find isolation from authority and an unbounded sense of identity — they’ll move on.
Funny how that works.