Back in my Tumblr heyday, well before the website was purchased by Yahoo and became the phenomenon it is (or was, depending on your point of view), I posted on my personal Tumblr page with regularity. It was a smaller community back then, and I’m not afraid to say that I had a fairly decent following. I was younger then, and partied often. I would document my exploits regularly, I had a lot more of a mid-20s braggadocio, and was also kind of a jerk.
All this being said, I had a pretty decent idea of what my “voice” was.
Nowadays, Tumblr is a very different beast. It’s noisier. I still use it from time-to-time, but not to the extent that I used to.
If there’s an app that I use frequently, I’d say that it’s Twitter. It’s my go-to for my hip-check reactions to whatever I’m doing, whether it’s watching wrestling, or sports, or just the weird moments in my day. Then there’s Instagram and Facebook—but, I’ve never felt like my voice is as well-defined as it was back in the old Tumblr days.
Things changed, naturally. I got married, I moved away from Southern California, I settled down on my partying ways, I stopped getting drunk so much, I stopped publicizing/exploiting my personal dramas and demons—some of this stuff just stopped being cute. Plus, rather than focusing on myself, I wanted to focus on my family life, my wife and my dog.
Now, I find myself writing more, and I’m trying to find my voice again. While it seems a little difficult at times, I have to remind myself that it’s something that just comes naturally with more writing and more honest expression.
My Twitter can seem like it’s all over the place, but it’s a collection of my genuine thoughts and reactions into the things I love. I don’t think that I’ll be able to find my voice if I’m not completely comfortable with sharing those thoughts or allowing myself to be vulnerable enough to open myself up.
My writing inspirations used to be pretty limited and rather toxic. I used to think that Tucker Max’s exploits were hilarious. I thought irony was a fantastic social currency. I was under the impression that my drunk-self was the most fun and appealing version of myself. As bad as all of that could be, and as much as that kind of content made up a decent portion of my Tumblr posts, there was also a lot of good stuff that contributed to my voice on the platform.
I always loved analyzing things in pop culture, whether it was unpacking my favorite music videos, or going on semi-deep dives into new music that was coming out, or finding new movies to talk about—those were the foundations that helped me find some decent internet friends.
I don’t know if I’ll have the same sense of internet community that I did with old Tumblr, but I am grateful for the place it had in helping me find my voice. It’s something that I can look back upon and see the good things to keep, and some of the bad habits to watch out for if I haven’t already dropped them.
Since I’m doing most, if not all, of my blogging from here, I can’t ignore the fact that my website doesn’t exactly have the same built-in audience that my Tumblr used to have. That isn’t really a bad thing because now I’m really writing for me, and not so much to impress an audience. Now, having and audience and not shouting into the digital void is nice, so I’ll have to work pretty hard to figure out how to convince people to come here—but it’s ultimately a good thing to be writing for me and my own development.