We’re not entirely sure when it happened, but somehow, in the final months of 2017, we found ourselves obsessed with a seemingly inconsequential post on TikTok. The post, ‘Robert Pattinson Batman Tumblr’, was met with such backlash from the Twittersphere that it eventually led to the account’s permanent suspension. Of course, now that the world knows what is considered ‘holy writ’ on social media, it’s opened the door for other content creators to challenge the status quo.

Old Tumblr, New Purpose

TikTok, which was originally known as ‘Tikgram’, launched back in September 2013. At the time, the platform was seen as a potential successor to the wildly popular Pinterest. While it never quite reached the levels of popularity that its elder rival did, it has maintained a strong following over the years, largely thanks to its ever-changing formula for success.

With each new update, the app has either added features or changed the way users experience the platform entirely. Most notably, TikTok introduced the ability to ‘reblog’ content from other users in May 2017. Before then, the only way for users to engage with content on the platform was to ‘like’ it or leave a comment. The feature was quickly adopted by users and within a few weeks, ‘reblogging’ became one of the most popular activities on the app. Since then, the practice has become so commonplace that it’s almost impossible to have a conversation on TikTok without at least one person replying with a ‘reblog’.

A Platform For All Ages

Since its inception, TikTok has been populated by millennials and Generation Z, with 44% using the app. While younger generations have adopted it en masse, the platform appeals to all ages, especially those who grew up with the World Wide Web. For those who remember the early days of the web, before it was dominated by banner ads and pop-ups, the nostalgic experience of poking around a pre-web version of TikTok is enough to get anyone to log on. For others, the fact that TikTok is now available on all major mobile platforms (iOS, Android, and, most recently, the Apple Watch) makes the app accessible to a much wider audience. In fact, according to TikTok, 80.4% of users play on all three platforms.

The Rise Of TikTok In The West

While TikTok now has over 500 million monthly active users, only a small handful of these users are found in the West. As of December 2017, the app has 450 million monthly active users globally and more than 300 million of these users are located in Asia. The remaining 150 million users are scattered across North America, Europe, and Oceania. According to TikTok, the platform is “suitable for everyone, from Gen Z to millennials to Boomers,” and 80% of its users are Gen Z or millennials. With each new update, creators hope to broaden the audience for their content, giving them a greater chance at attracting an entirely new audience.

Why Are People Angry About Robert Pattinson Batman Tumblr?

The backlash to the ‘Robert Pattinson Batman Tumblr’ is the result of a combination of factors. For one, the post is pretty representative of what one would expect to find on a now-defunct ‘90s-era blogging platform. Remember those? Back in the day, you would log in, pick a topic you were interested in, and then simply write a few blogs about your interests. The blogs themselves were usually short and to the point, often consisting of links to news articles and other web content that was relevant to the topic at hand. As the name would suggest, these kinds of platforms are designed to be fairly simplistic, requiring minimal effort from the user. They also tend to be relatively unfriendly, designed more to allow for easy engagement than to nurture long-lasting relationships.

These platforms were originally quite popular, especially among teens and young adults. Think about it: back in the day, when most people were using desktops and laptops instead of mobile phones, going online meant you were online for a long time. The internet wasn’t something that you did in between phone calls or while you were on the move; it was something that you did during the hours that you were awake. And so, a lot of kid-friendly blogging platforms experienced a boom in user activity, which in turn led to heightened security concerns.

The second factor that likely contributed to the backlash was the fact that the post had been reblogged over 1.8 million times, many of these reblogs coming from accounts that were obviously not created with malicious intent. The third factor is time: it took over four hours for the first comment to appear on ‘Robert Pattinson Batman Tumblr’, meaning that the person who originally posted the content had to wait a while to have their comment actually appear on the page. These combined factors resulted in an awful lot of angry comments and retweets.

It’s important to note that in the grand scheme of things, the number of comments and shares attached to ‘Robert Pattinson Batman Tumblr’ was pretty small. The page only has 64 comments and, as of this writing, the post has over 1.8 million views (which is pretty low for a post that was originally published in August 2017). Based on these metrics, it would appear that a significant portion of the population is aware of what the rest are talking about, but for some reason, they decided to weigh in anyway.

A Historical Comparison

There are plenty of reasons why ‘Robert Pattinson Batman Tumblr’ and its ilk were unpopular back in the day. For one, the platform didn’t exist in a vacuum; it was published on the same day that Instagram launched its now-familiar ‘Grammys’ hashtag. As the year before had seen the explosion of social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, people were on the lookout for new trends and behaviors, looking for ways to engage with brand ambassadors and other A-list celebs on their own terms. When ‘Grammys’ suddenly became a trending topic a few months later, it only made sense that people would want to participate in the conversation.

In other words, there wasn’t just one ‘Robert Pattinson Batman Tumblr’, there were hundreds of them, with each one trying to be the most interesting, relevant, and engaging in the grand scheme of things. While the goal of each individual blog is to captivate and interest its target audience, these platforms were never intended to be long-term relationships between creators and audiences, especially not when you consider how unfriendly they are towards brand ambassadors seeking to promote their products.

What Does This Mean For Future Of Creativity?

While ‘Robert Pattinson Batman Tumblr’ and its ilk were unpopular back in the day, the backlash they received is actually quite a good thing. In the end, it served as a call to action for creators, encouraging them to find new ways to engage with audiences. It also means that the old ways of creating content – the ones that were so popular before the advent of the internet – are still quite relevant, if not more so. For those who grew up with the World Wide Web, creating pages to share content with friends and family is still considered ‘viral’ marketing (assuming you want to keep your friends, of course).

Even for those who weren’t around when the World Wide Web was new, old methods of sharing content still work quite well. For those seeking to learn more about digital marketing and social media, look no further than the many blogs, case studies, and tutorials that cover these topics in painstaking detail. While much has changed in the way we communicate, interact, and engage with content, these ‘baby-boomer’ platforms still allow for casual connections, interesting discussions, and plenty of sharing.