Autistic Future
January 2nd, 2019

What Tumblr Was

Cor­rec­tion: A quote from an arti­cle by Julia Bas­com was orig­i­nal­ly mis­atributed to non­sense­wake­supthe­brain­cellz, the Tum­blr user who quot­ed it.

Tum­blr, the quirky, con­tro­ver­sial, noto­ri­ous­ly unprof­itable social media plat­form, may final­ly dis­ap­pear. Ver­i­zon’s deci­sion to clear the site of adult con­tent has gone over bad­ly with users, in part because Tum­blr has always housed sig­nif­i­cant amounts of adult con­tent, in part because hap­haz­ard enforce­ment of the new rule has affect­ed SFW blogs. A sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of users have already decid­ed to leave. It is pos­si­ble, though by no means cer­tain, that Tum­blr could sur­vive with­out peo­ple who use Tum­blr as a source of adult con­tent, but many believe the depar­ture of fan­doms is a fatal blow to the social net­work. Users are back­ing up their con­tent and gath­er­ing oth­er con­tact infor­ma­tion for their friends, even if they intend to main­tain their accounts if pos­si­ble, because of wide­spread pre­dic­tions of Tum­blr’s demise.

Since Ver­i­zon announced the new rule, peo­ple who have used, loved, and hat­ed Tum­blr have been eulo­giz­ing it. In the com­men­tary on the social net­work, its past, and its like­ly-lim­it­ed future, autism comes up as a theme among crit­ics and mourn­ers alike. Some of the tweets are by peo­ple who have iden­ti­fied them­selves as Autis­tic:

 

 


A Twitter user self-described as 'Lilo the autistic queer (they/them)' with the handle @A_Silent_Child said "To everyone fleeing Tumblr: welcome to our humble abode. Would you like some tea? Cookies? Please, make yourself at home.' A user self-described as 'AutisticGamerChick' with the handle @ChickAutistic said "I moved from Tumblr to here. I don't know if that's an improvement." A user self-described as 'was @AsexualConnor' with the handle @AutisticConnors said "I'm mostly worried abt tumblr accidentally deleting my blog or tumblr itself going under after all this mess tbh". These statements were all tweeted on December 4th, 2018.

Twit­ter users who iden­ti­fy them­selves as Autis­tic dis­cuss the mass-pull­out 

 

 

Oth­ers are ableist and undig­ni­fied uses of autism as an insult:

 

 


A user self-described as 'Mike Schonewolf' with the handle @TheLoneMaverick tweeted "Tumblr really has become an autistic playpen." on December 4th, 2018.

Like Tum­blr mourn­ers, the social net­work’s detrac­tors asso­ciate it with autism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The asso­ci­a­tion of Tum­blr and Autis­tic peo­ple is not just a mat­ter of coin­ci­dence or insult. For years, Tum­blr has been home to a large, robust Autis­tic com­mu­ni­ty which has played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the Neu­ro­di­ver­si­ty Move­ment. Now, its is in doubt. Some very notable par­tic­i­pants have already announced their depar­ture.

 

 


Sudden Changes to Black Autist due to New Tumblr rule Greetings everyone,  Due to the new Tumblr rule and its implications, Black Autist will move to another blogspace in January. More than likely, it will move to WordPress or Weebly. E-mail me at blackautist@gmail.com if you have suggestions for blog sites to try out. I will also consider changing the direction of the Black Autist a little bit, while keeping the primary focus of the blog. I will explain later when I move the blog.   In the meantime, follow Black Autist content on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter (all are under “The Black Autist”). I apologize for the sudden news.   Thank you all for the support on Tumblr over the years! Without you all, I don’t know if this blog wouldn’t have been this popular among the autistic community.  Thank you,   Timotheus

A pro­lif­ic activist who has explored the inter­sec­tion of dis­abil­i­ty, race, and sex­u­al­i­ty has left Tum­blr

 

 

This com­mu­ni­ty, known as Autis­tic Tum­blr, is not the old­est online gath­er­ing place for Autis­tic peo­ple, but it is dis­tin­guished in its diver­si­ty, acces­si­ble entry-point to the com­mu­ni­ty, organ­i­cal­ly pro-neu­ro­di­ver­si­ty pos­ture, and suc­cess as a start­ing point for younger Mil­len­ni­al activists. Whether or not it con­tin­ues to exist, what hap­pened there will rip­ple through, at least, the Eng­lish-speak­ing Autis­tic com­mu­ni­ty for years to come.

Autis­tic Tum­blr became a small but dis­cernible com­mu­ni­ty in the very ear­ly 2010s. It start­ed on tags like #asperg­ers and #autism. The pop­u­la­tion might well have fit in a high school class­room with­out feel­ing too cramped. Tum­blr, then a grow­ing social net­work drew in new mem­bers rapid­ly. Most were in their teens or twen­ties. Some hap­pened to be Autis­tic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penguin on a blue background captioned 'Have to hand back assignments. Don't know who anyone is.'  
Memes such as the pop­u­lar Social­ly Awk­ward Pen­guin were preva­lent ear­ly on

Autis­tic Tum­blr hap­pened organ­i­cal­ly. The social net­work’s flex­i­ble for­mat may have helped the fledg­ling group grow and align with the Neu­ro­di­ver­si­ty Move­ment. Tum­blr facil­i­tat­ed con­tent rang­ing from long, seri­ous essays on dis­abil­i­ty rights, dis­abil­i­ty jus­tice, and cur­rent events to memes.

If Tum­blr had mate­ri­al­ized at a dif­fer­ent moment in Autis­tic his­to­ry, it might have retained a light­heart­ed char­ac­ter. How­ev­er, it became pop­u­lar around the time of the infa­mous Ran­som Note Cam­paign, just as the Neu­ro­di­ver­si­ty Move­ment reached full strength. At that time, there were two major nar­ra­tives of autism and what its future should be. One, which could be termed a cure or eugen­ics nar­ra­tive, favored the erad­i­ca­tion of autism. The oth­er, hold­ing that autism is a nat­ur­al part of human diver­si­ty to be accept­ed and accom­mo­dat­ed, could be called the neu­ro­di­ver­si­ty par­a­digm. These com­pet­ing ideas were locked in an exis­ten­tial con­flict. In the late 2000s-ear­ly 2010s, this strug­gle that was play­ing out in shout­ing match­es, boy­cotts, social media sham­ing, strained or sev­ered fam­i­ly ties, protests, fundrais­ing, and innu­mer­able oth­er pub­lic and pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions. Peo­ple in Autis­tic Tum­blr were aware of that dis­pute. Tum­blr, con­ducive to text posts, was a nat­ur­al loca­tion for in-depth dis­cus­sion of issues that con­cerned Autis­tic peo­ple there at the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A user called 'aspergersissues' said "Does this sound paranoid? You state that autism “does not seem like something that would cause that pressure to form” .. really? Are you aware that there’s material out there comparing autism to cancer, saying how an autistic child will ruin your life and your marriage (!?) and throwing terms like “soulless” around and that this is coming from “the World’s largest autism advocacy organisation” for goodness sake. You really think this wouldn’t have a distorting impact on people’s reproductive decisions, really?"  
asperg­er­sis­sues dis­cussing pre­na­tal screen­ing in June of 2011

Autis­tic Tum­blr’s pop­u­la­tion had the same con­sen­sus about the con­flict­ing nar­ra­tives of autism as the wider Autis­tic com­mu­ni­ty. The neu­ro­di­ver­si­ty par­a­digm was wide­ly favored, and the idea of a future with­out Autis­tic peo­ple was viewed with hor­ror. In the face of a high­ly-vis­i­ble, well-fund­ed, wide­ly sup­port­ed move­ment to wipe out autism, the Autis­tic adults who opposed it took one of two basic pos­tures. Some despaired. Oth­ers were out­raged. Ulti­mate­ly, out­rage won out in Autis­tic Tum­blr, part­ly because there was lit­tle to be lost in try­ing, part­ly through inspi­ra­tion from the wider Neu­ro­di­ver­si­ty Move­ment and oth­er groups advo­cat­ing for social jus­tice on Tum­blr. Harass­ment may also have been a con­tribut­ing fac­tor in the politi­ciza­tion of Autis­tic Tum­blr.

While adher­ents to each nar­ra­tive of autism grap­pled over whether Autis­tic peo­ple ought to exist, it was dif­fi­cult for any activ­i­ty among Autis­tic adults to be mere­ly social. Autis­tic youth and adults spend­ing time togeth­er of their own accord, with­out neu­rotyp­i­cal lead­er­ship, enjoy­ing each oth­er, shar­ing advice, and cel­e­brat­ing com­mon expe­ri­ence chal­lenged the idea that an Autis­tic life is inher­ent­ly sub­stan­dard, iso­lat­ed, and devoid of agency. Tum­blr users who sub­scribed to the cure nar­ra­tive stum­bled across Autis­tic Tum­blr through tags like #autism and #asperg­ers. Often, they react­ed to what they found by try­ing to shout it out of exis­tence. The prob­lem was so per­va­sive that the com­mu­ni­ty dis­cussed aban­don­ing #autism, and pos­si­bly Tum­blr, itself, in Novem­ber of 2011. These prob­lems were solved through #actu­allyautis­tic and its vari­ants.*

 

 

 

 

 

 

If my child could write a blog post like this, I would consider him cured. Fascinating. Have you taught him how? Have you given him the time, tools, technology, and accommodations he would need to do so? Have you exposed him to the ideas this blog post runs on, or has he been sheltered and infantilized? Has he been given an accessible, for him as well as his audience, means of communication? Remember, behavior is communication, that’s Best Practice. Have multiple literacies been facilitated? Remember, everyone reads, everyone writes, everyone has something to say is the current forward-thinking in special education, especially for children with complex access needs. But you’re an advocate for your child, of course you must know that. Silly me, I apologize.
non­sense­wake­supthe­brain­cellz quot­ing Julia Bas­com’s Dear Autism Par­ents by way of com­ment­ing on the result­ing argu­ments in Octo­ber of 2011

Strangers who bad­gered com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers did not win many con­verts to their per­spec­tive. If any­thing, this behav­ior moved peo­ple who were despair­ing or unde­cid­ed into the out­raged camp. Peo­ple who might nev­er have tak­en up activism became angry enough to do so.

With most peo­ple in agree­ment on the broad out­lines of which nar­ra­tive of autism to adopt, debate shift­ed to fin­er points of ter­mi­nol­o­gy and ide­ol­o­gy. Tum­blr has been one of the more wel­com­ing social net­works for mar­gin­al­ized peo­ple, so Autis­tic peo­ple of var­ied back­grounds and per­spec­tives weighed in. The dis­course was var­ied and rich. Some of the most inter­est­ing top­ics were what suc­cess should look like for the Neu­ro­di­ver­si­ty Move­ment, Autis­tics’ oblig­a­tion to each oth­er, and whether Autis­tic peo­ple had a moral oblig­a­tion to engage in any kind of advo­ca­cy.

Of all the personal stories about neurodiversity on Tumblr, I find family ones the most heartwrenching.  I watched another parents vs. individuals issue play out here last week wondering if the child will become a teen, find an Internet connection, and call into unknown space hoping for a reply.  Will there be something like Wrong Planet ca. 2007 waiting for him?  If we retreat into increasingly obscure, semi-private spaces, will kids like that find community?  What is our responsibility to their future?

iamthethun­der com­ment­ing on the impor­tance of main­tain­ing a vis­i­ble com­mu­ni­ty in Jan­u­ary of 2012

We need diversity of tactics.  We need the people who are scrappy, who can’t not fight when they see injustice, who bite back when harassed. We need people who will scream and make noise when allistic people do something that oppresses us.  We also need the people who will engage with “autism parents” and other allistic people. We need people who are willing to educate those who are willing to learn*, if nothing else for the sake of the next generation of autistic people.  There is no need for people who prefer the second tactic to infight and preach against those who prefer the first.

TAL9000 dis­cussing tac­tics in Feb­ru­ary of 2012

A num­ber of younger mil­len­ni­al activists first engaged with the ideas of dis­abil­i­ty rights and dis­abil­i­ty jus­tice in this fer­tile envi­ron­ment. Autis­tic Tum­blr in the ear­ly 2011s was a place where young peo­ple could make impor­tant con­nec­tions, and, more impor­tant­ly, dis­cov­er their capac­i­ty to lead. A num­ber of peo­ple who have since tak­en on pro­fes­sion­al roles in dis­abil­i­ty advo­ca­cy would have been rec­og­nized as among the more promi­nent voic­es in the Autis­tic Tum­blr of 2011–2015. As its mem­bers tried to learn more about oth­ers’ work on dis­abil­i­ty issues, Autis­tic Tum­blr became increas­ing­ly aware of and engaged with the glob­al dis­abil­i­ty rights and dis­abil­i­ty jus­tice com­mu­ni­ty.

A user with a Star Trek themed avatar used the ask box to say "Hey, dunno if you saw, but I did a thing for BADD. If yall want it. [/awkward shrug]"

cap­tains-log-of-mad-scrib­bles describ­ing her cel­e­bra­tion of Blog­ging Against Dis­ableism Day in May of 2012

Mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ty also began to look for ways to sup­port the Neu­ro­di­ver­si­ty Move­ment.

So I thought of something.  Is there any way anyone wanted to make a video with me of what us autistics actually think about autism/Asperger’s and how damaging Autism Speaks is? Maybe a mixture of quotes and anyone who wanted to be involved talking about it?  I’m angry about how much power they have, and how many people think they’re actually doing a good thing when they’re not.  I don’t know - I just feel the need to do something about them.

holy­moth­ero­foba­ma dis­cussing a pro-neu­ro­di­ver­si­ty, anti-Autism Speaks project in March of 2012

This took the form of writ­ing, real-world pub­lic speak­ing, videos, par­tic­i­pa­tion in boy­cotts, cam­pus advo­ca­cy, pro­vid­ing advice and sup­port to new­er com­mu­ni­ty-mem­bers and their neu­rotyp­i­cal loved ones, and try­ing to deter dona­tions to dis­fa­vored orga­ni­za­tions, either through con­ver­sa­tions with indi­vid­ual donors or the care­ful­ly-coor­di­nat­ed social media sham­ing of large, cor­po­rate donors.

Slowly but surely, I am doing what I can to have the Disability Awareness Program at my college be the best it can be.  Hell, if need be, I’ll set aside the time that it is and come back into town for it. There’s just so much that I feel needs to be said that a lot of (able-bodied) people just don’t get.

itty­git­ty­did­dy­na­tor dis­cussing cam­pus advo­ca­cy in June of 2012

Timing tends to matter. Being stubborn helps, except when it doesn’t. They respond to criticism on blogs of a certain readership I have no clue what that readership is, just that they have been on mine & Liz Ditz’s and maybe Zoe’s or Julia’s-not sure? They respond on twitter. Sometimes. But not to me, anymore.

sher­locks­flataf­fect dis­cussing social media tac­tics in June of 2012

 

I’m tweeting at the Washington Post… for this article  see more on how to contact the Washington Post: http://iamthethunder.tumblr.com/post/93118043150/abuse-and-awful-washington-post-article  and this is why: http://k-pagination.tumblr.com/post/93034330509/complicit-narratives  They are @WashingtonPost

k‑pagination ask­ing Autis­tic Tum­blr to express dis­plea­sure about a Wash­ing­ton Post arti­cle many viewed as jus­ti­fy­ing the abuse of dis­abled peo­ple in July of 2014

Hey, autists! I have an opportunity to talk to a major Utah news station about autism from an autistic view, and I want you guys to tell me the main issues you think need to be talked about. ABA, Autism $peaks, steryotypes, low diagnosis of females, all of it.  Utah spectrum folks, anyone willing to talk to her should message me so I can connect her with you for details.  If we don’t speak, we get spoken over. Any opinions you guys have are AWESOME.

autis­tictalk prepar­ing to speak on local news in March of 2015

In the ear­ly- to mid-2010s, many efforts to reduce fund­ing for eugen­ics were planned in Autis­tic Tum­blr and car­ried out on oth­er social media plat­forms or offline. Out­reach to young Autis­tic peo­ple and to par­ents open to the neu­ro­di­ver­si­ty par­a­digm also took place. Autis­tic Tum­blr was a seem­ing­ly bot­tom­less pool of vol­un­teers for the work of Neu­ro­di­ver­si­ty.

In 2014, the col­lec­tive efforts of the Neu­ro­di­ver­si­ty Move­ment paid off in events that were extra­or­di­nar­i­ly vis­i­ble to ordi­nary Autis­tics in late 2013. Autism Speaks pub­lished a let­ter writ­ten by one of its founders describ­ing autism in hyper­bol­ic terms which were wide­ly con­sid­ered offen­sive.** A large con­tin­gent of par­ents, most­ly moth­ers, joined Autis­tic adults in denounc­ing the let­ter, demand­ing less dam­ag­ing rhetoric around autism, and, in many cas­es, reject­ing the orga­ni­za­tion as too ableist to be sal­vage­able. Describ­ing autism as an utter­ly wretched, hope­less sit­u­a­tion was no longer an effec­tive way to appeal to large num­bers of neu­rotyp­i­cal par­ents of Autis­tic peo­ple. Autis­tics who iden­ti­fied with the Neu­ro­di­ver­si­ty Move­ment were over­joyed, and those who con­tributed their time, mon­ey, or effort to the cause, how­ev­er much or lit­tle, felt very much a part of the vic­to­ry. Autis­tic Tum­blr was par­tic­u­lar­ly ecsta­t­ic.

iamthethunder said Autism Speaks is still a colossus of ableism and a problem for autistics. Too often, they are the dominant voice explaining autism to society. That may not be true much longer. When Karla called for some fun with their new policy agenda, the announcement thereof, or whatever that awful thing…  autistic-sestra responded: Yes yes YES. My gratitude to everyone who has been fighting their asses off for years to bring more and more of us into the fold, who laid the groundwork for a tipping point. If anyone reading this has not yet joined the many voices condemning Autism Speaks, and has some spoons to spare, now is a great time to spread the word and to voice your support for the Autistic community. Send an email or a tweet, tell a friend, reblog something - every little bit of pressure we can put on this organization right now is crucial.

Two Tum­blr users cel­e­brat­ing this devel­op­ment in Novem­ber of 2013

These events re-ener­gized sea­soned activists and engaged new­com­ers. Autis­tic Tum­blr sup­plied a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of peo­ple to efforts like Boy­cott Autism Speaks and an effort to pun­ish Google for par­tic­i­pat­ing in cure research in the months that fol­lowed.

Although its con­tri­bu­tions to Autis­tic cul­ture and advo­ca­cy were sub­stan­tial, Autis­tic Tum­blr was flawed. The wider Autis­tic com­mu­ni­ty will suf­fer from its fail­ings for years to come. The same intense debate and unyield­ing spir­it that pushed a com­mu­ni­ty where many of the ear­li­est users believed autism’s demise was inevitable to the front lines of the Neu­ro­di­ver­si­ty Move­ment could be harsh and unfor­giv­ing. Too many of the activists who had effec­tive­ly weaponized social media for com­mu­ni­ty defense read­i­ly turned it on each oth­er over slight ide­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences or even per­son­al dis­putes. Many thought­ful, com­mit­ted peo­ple were dri­ven out of Autis­tic Tum­blr in this way, and many more were so dis­gust­ed with such events that they left even though they were not direct­ly tar­get­ed. Some remained in oth­er parts of the Autis­tic com­mu­ni­ty. Oth­ers left alto­geth­er.

We clearly need to figure something out, as a community. When the Autistic community has scared a good amount of Autistic people into not being able to say things, what has it become? I was one of them, for a while. I’m not going into direct confrontations on Facebook (I don’t have spoons to deal with the arguing that would happen), but I’m writing this post.  The goal of a community is to not echo-chamber itself into only allowing certain ideas and viewpoints into it, which, frankly, has been a lot of what I’m seeing. People are attracted to the ideal that explosive, sometimes abusive behavior is okay when you’re part of an oppressed group. We as a community have dealt with a lot of pain. We’ve lost a lot of children, teenagers and adults to caretakers, and we’ve been abused in the name of therapy. I would not deny this community anger at things that have been done and are still being done.

k‑pagination describ­ing this prob­lem in the con­text of offline events in Octo­ber of 2014

Autis­tic Tum­blr only reached its present size because it grew fast enough to over­come con­stant attri­tion.

This dynam­ic was not unique to Autis­tic Tum­blr. Indeed, it has plagued almost every Autis­tic space on the inter­net and many offline. How­ev­er, the prob­lem was unusu­al­ly pro­nounced in Autis­tic Tum­blr. Mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ty with large fol­low­ings could get peo­ple who offend­ed them shunned by large seg­ments of the com­mu­ni­ty or forced out alto­geth­er. A shame­ful num­ber were quick to do so. The peo­ple who left rep­re­sent a loss of omis­sion, real but inde­ter­mi­nate in scope. What they might have said and done, what roles they might have grown into, and how many would have made an effort to men­tor younger Autis­tics or raise their own chil­dren in the Autis­tic com­mu­ni­ty is unknow­able. This hole in what might have been is prob­a­bly impos­si­ble to repair. Although a num­ber of peo­ple spoke out about this con­cern, Autis­tic Tum­blr did not reach an effec­tive solu­tion dur­ing its most pro­duc­tive years. Tum­blr’s cre­ative and destruc­tive ten­den­cies seemed like two sides of the same coin.  Both final­ly dimin­ished as Autism Speaks and the cure or eugenic nar­ra­tive of autism weak­ened and the sense of a loom­ing, exis­ten­tial threat dimin­ished.

In 2014–2015, Autis­tic Tum­blr began to change again. over time, it became more social and less polit­i­cal.*** The con­tents of the typ­i­cal post moved away from advo­ca­cy and toward cama­raderie or advice.

Support autistic people who aren’t geniuses Support autistic people who haven’t made huge, groundbreaking achievements Support autistic people who can’t make a career out of their special interests Support autistic people who don’t do well academically Support autistic people who aren’t interested in maths or science Support autistic adults who don’t fit a cute ‘child prodigy’ image Support autistic people who are struggling to hold down a minimum-wage job Support autistic people who can’t get a job Support autistic people who don’t lend themselves to ‘inspirational’ anecdotes about accomplishment in the face of disability

cap­tainclick­y­cat dis­cussing a more neb­u­lous Autis­tic sol­i­dar­i­ty in May of 2015

 

ok i need EMERGENCY ADVICE, i have to write this essay about like. literacy & communication issues. and like my WHOLE LIFE is one big communication issue & i can’t think of anything else remotely meaningful to write about, but like. do i really want to out myself as autistic for an assignment?

unnonex­is­tence ask­ing the com­mu­ni­ty for advice in Sep­tem­ber of 2016

 
Con­ver­sa­tions about ide­ol­o­gy and pol­i­cy large­ly moved on.
 
Some of the activists who were active on Tum­blr before 2015 left, too. Some stepped back from social jus­tice work. Oth­ers found paid or vol­un­teer posi­tions with­in the for­mal struc­tures of orga­ni­za­tions work­ing for dis­abil­i­ty rights and dis­abil­i­ty jus­tice. Some are doing well, but under­em­ploy­ment and an inad­e­quate social safe­ty net plague the dis­abil­i­ty com­mu­ni­ty in the Unit­ed States and most oth­er coun­tries. Many peo­ple who gave their young adult­hoods to the Neu­ro­di­ver­si­ty Move­ment live in pover­ty. Peo­ple whose home on the inter­net is or was Autis­tic Tum­blr are no excep­tion. Iso­la­tion, frac­tured rela­tion­ships, and loss of com­mu­ni­ty may be ongo­ing prob­lems for vic­tims of the internecine squab­bling that went on for years.
 
Mean­while, a qui­eter, more friend­ly Autis­tic Tum­blr con­tin­ued to attract new­com­ers. Although it is no longer on the cut­ting edge of cul­ture or advo­ca­cy, it has nev­er been more pop­u­lar. It is hard to count users on more anony­mous social media plat­forms, but it is not uncom­mon these days for pop­u­lar posts to be liked and reblogged sev­er­al thou­sand times. Peo­ple are help­ing each oth­er, laugh­ing, com­mis­er­at­ing, and mak­ing friends.
 
You don’t have to reach a certain level of productivity to be allowed to feel worn out.  it’s okay to have different energy levels, please allow yourself to rest.

neu­ro-pos­i­tiv­i­ty post­ing an affir­ma­tion in Novem­ber of 2018

It shouldn’t be a surprise or a miracle when a doctor actually listens to you.

stim­my­work­in­progress on doc­tors in Decem­ber of 2018

Whether this will con­tin­ue through and after 2019 is unclear. That depends on whether the amount of user base Tum­blr has alien­at­ed is sur­viv­able. What­ev­er Ver­i­zon has planned for Tum­blr could shrink, shift the demo­graph­ics of, or even expand Autis­tic Tum­blr. By now, most com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers have con­sid­ered, if not select­ed, a new inter­net home base. Some had already estab­lished oth­er places to store and pub­lish their work, ame­lio­rat­ing con­cerns about the whims of Tum­blr mod­er­a­tors and Ver­i­zon share­hold­ers. Oth­ers backed up their blogs in response to Tum­blr’s recent trou­bles. How­ev­er, these efforts are high­ly indi­vid­ual. If Tum­blr’s servers go dark, it is like­ly that some con­tent that was sig­nif­i­cant to the Neu­ro­di­ver­si­ty Move­ment will dis­ap­pear. If Autis­tic Tum­blr has a final les­son for the Autis­tic Com­mu­ni­ty, it may be the impor­tance of preser­va­tion. All of the Autis­tic his­to­ry that tran­spired on the inter­net, espe­cial­ly every­thing that only exists on social media, is vul­ner­a­ble to the inter­net’s ephemer­al nature. What is not delib­er­ate­ly pre­served will be lost.

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