In Loving Memeory: Tumblr CEO David Karp steps down

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: David Karp of Tumblr speaks onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 at The Manhattan Center on May 1, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for TechCrunch) *** Local Caption *** David Karp

In Loving Memeory is a series that pays tribute to memes that are no longer with us. They may be gone, but they should never be forgotten.

It’s a sad day for Tumblr users still living in 2012.

Founder and CEO David Karp is resigning from the company, marking the end of an era for the social blogging platform.

Karp’s resignation is particularly dispiriting when considering the strange and sometimes wonderful impact he had on Tumblr’s users over the years. So here’s three moments we’ll never forget about David Karp, CEO of Tumblr.

The Tumblr Daddy

Back before calling someone “daddy” was an internet-wide phenomenon (around 2012 or so), Tumblr users got super creepy and suggested everyone on the site refer to Karp as “The Tumblr Daddy” or “Daddy Karp” or just “daddy” in general.

Usually, these users were the same ones who reblogged rules like “if the Tumblr creator shows up on your dash, you must reblog!”

The term “daddy” became so widespread — and so uncomfortable — that Karp was asked questions about it in interviews. He didn’t like it.

Helming the platform’s worst updates

Usually when a platform releases updates, it experiences some backlash before users realise they actually like the change. But Tumblr updates under Karp were just plain terrible.

The company turned a perfectly good audio player into something no one ever uses. It removed replies — and after intense criticism finally brought them back. It made editing others’ captions impossible after someone made it look like the author John Green was really into men (okay, maybe this was smart, but way to be a buzzkill).

Obviously, not all of this was Karp’s fault. But when he thought he was making a platform for artists and found it used in varieties of other manners, Karp tried to force Tumblr back into what he wanted rather than guiding it towards what it was naturally becoming.

But, hey, at least the useless updates gave users a meme that brought them together against one common enemy.

Creating a platform hated by 4Chan

One of Tumblr’s biggest strengths is how it brings minority groups together, allowing people from all walks of life to find each other and connect in ways other platforms hadn’t mastered. And that really pissed off some bigots — so much so that they created a viral fake quote of the creator himself.

The quote, only found in an image of Karp, reads thus:

If I could go back and do it all over again, I would do a lot of things differently. I’m all for free speech, but I wanted my site to be a place to share fresh, bold ideas about the world. Instead, it’s become a place for angry, sexually repressed women to complain about men like me. I gave them the tool to complain, which I guess is the tragic part. Everyone knows the old Oppenheimer quote ‘I am become death, destroyer of worlds’. Well, tumblr’s slogan (sic) at this point should be ‘I am become angst, destroyer of fun’ (laughter).

Oh, David Karp. We will always remember you as the man who created the site that angered a lot of sad, misogynistic 4Chan users. Thank you. May you not-CEO in peace.

Let us know in the comments if there’s a peak David Karp moment that you will cherish forever (or for, like, at least a week).

Read more: In Loving Memeory: Afro Circus

Feature image: TechCrunch via Flickr (CC BY 2.0, resized)



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