All around the world, teens are addicted to Tumblr (including pretty much the entire TP staff). The addict’s main priority, it is all consuming, leaving schoolwork and sleep in its wake. For those who have yet to join Tumblr, the service is a website where users create their own blog. There, they post original content or “reblog” things—essentially recycling text, photos, or videos created by other users so that the post appears on their own blog. Tumblr is a hugely popular space for visual art, so-called “hipster blogs,” and fandoms. It’s catapulted the popularity of the GIF and been the source of a few books. And for no good reason, it is insanely addicting. Just about every Tumblr user will have an experience in which they glance at the clock and realize that they’ve spent the past three hours looking at hilariously dumb text posts. Believe me, it happens to the best of us.
Considering Tumblr’s time-sucking nature, it’s no surprise that many users have a love–hate relationship with the site. How many afternoons have I wasted on Tumblr, spurred on by the voice in my head saying “Just fifteen more minutes”? (Too many). Tumblr’s iPhone app is also, unfortunately, extremely usable, rendering any attempt to escape its clutches essentially futile. Once on the Dashboard (essentially Tumblr’s Newsfeed), posts keep appearing as you scroll down. They range from heated rants about social issues, to pictures of a bunny with things on its head, to GIFs of the latest Catching Fire trailers. All of it is useless in its own way, but addicting nonetheless. Tumblr almost promotes a sense of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)—users want, no, need to see every item that shows up on the Dash. The cycle continues endlessly.
The best way to avoid the grasp of Tumblr is simply to not make one. Seriously. Don’t do it. Although the concept is wonderful at first—who wouldn’t want to look at all those gorgeous photos for hours at a time?—limiting yourself is notoriously difficult. Plus, as you follow more and more blogs, you have more and more posts on your Dashboard. It’s a vicious cycle, one that’s most easily prevented by never creating a Tumblr.
If you’ve already fallen under the spell, I have two words for you. Self Control. No, this isn’t referring to willpower (which is probably already lacking). Self Control is a free app for your Mac that lets you block websites for a certain period of time. And it’s totally permanent. Closing or deleting the software, restarting your computer—none of it will unblock the website. If you’re not using a Mac, Self Restraint is basically the same application built for Windows. Self Control has proven to be especially useful when writing papers or doing something else that requires use of a computer. And if you don’t need your computer, move away from it! Tumblr will always be there to kill your focus.
Another way to cut down on blogging is to delete the mobile app if you already have it, for it does nothing but suck time away when you could be interacting with other people. Tumblr’s mobile website is basically useless, so you’ll essentially be blog–free when you don’t have a computer. In all seriousness, this is a liberating feeling.
If none of these treatments work for you, the best solution may be the most severe: delete. Though you may be unable to imagine your life without Tumblr, trust me, it exists. Soon you’ll wonder why you even bothered with the site in the first place. Though there are undoubtedly other ways to distract yourself, deleting a blog is certainly not a bad way to start being more productive.
Tumblr isn’t all evil. It’s opened my eyes to new ways of thinking, beautiful places, and awesome people. But limiting yourself is easier said than done. Unless you have an iron will, intent alone simply won’t cut it. There are tools to combat this addiction and lead a more productive life, so give them a try. Trust me, the real world is just as great as any of those pictures would lead you to think.