David Karp, announcing his end as CEO of Tumblr:
The internet is at a crossroads of which this team can play a fundamental role in shaping.
By “crossroads,” I assume David’s referring to the battle over whether writers own the platforms upon which their works reside. I’m not convinced we’re at any such sort of crossroads.1 Calling late 2017 a crossroads makes for a nice sentence in a departure letter, but we won’t think back to this era as a critical juncture. Because Donald Trump is president and because people are restless, they like to say this sort of thing, but it holds no water. There will always be a coalition of creatives who are determined to own their online platforms, come what may. There will always be those who are lazy, or don’t care, or are ignorant, who have half-baked ideas that they’re looking to yak abroad, who won’t go through the effort to publish on their own territory, who will post to Facebook or similar. There will always be such a place for such people. And — this is just a guess but it’s a good guess — those people will always be the majority of web users who write online. There might have been a time when this wasn’t the case, but if so, then this crossroads occurred roughly a decade ago, when social media grew mainstream. If what we’re going through right now passes the criteria to be termed a crossroads, then we’d better get used to it, because crossroads are going to be indefinitely recurring in conjunction with the ebb and flow of web behavior.
My compliments to David Karp for making Tumblr’s mission in his absence sound exciting.
- If you’re into wordsmith pedantry, I’m not sure how you shape a crossroads exactly, but that’s an aside. ↩︎