Yesterday was my 3 year tumblr anniversary. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, but I’ve been able to shave my beard and regrow it several times since I started this.
My tumblr beginnings are bittersweet for me to think about. At the time I was dealing with the fact that I had an illness that would prevent me from achieving many of my dreams. I could not leave my house. I had to spend much of the day in bed. My desire to entertain was strong, but my energy was limited. I couldn’t perform stand up for a live audience anymore, so I thought I might try entertaining a virtual one.
I had a giant master plan. It was a year in the making. It was to be a grand comedy website. It had fancy graphics with glowing rollover buttons and an icon for everything. But I never felt I was ready to show it to the world. The project had become so massive that I could not finish it.
I met a fellow by the name of Tru McGowan. We met on a site dedicated to gadget geekery and became fast friends. Through a small chat box we cultivated one of the best friendships I’ve ever had. When my energy was lacking, he inspired me. When my mood was desperate, he lifted my spirits.
I was telling him my frustrations about this bloated comedy website I couldn’t seem to finish. I expressed how I was desperate to start creating content. He told me I should start a tumblr. I was resistant to the idea at first, but he said it could be a temporary place to share my creations while I finished my “real” site. I’m pretty sure he knew at the time if I started a tumblr, I wouldn’t need any other site.
Things moved slow at first. I’m pretty sure I had amassed a dazzling 8 followers in my first few weeks. I began posting my jokes along with funny things I found on the web. Looking back… it was pretty awful. But Tru continued to encourage me and I soon got the hang of it. I had 30 followers. Then 40. I’m pretty sure I did a happy dance when I hit 50. I had entered this community and was accepted with open arms. As each day passed, I thought less and less of my “real” comedy website.
Tru started mentioning that he was having heart problems. He didn’t make a big deal of it. He talked about wearing some kind of monitor on his chest. He was only 24, and he didn’t seem worried, so I didn’t really think it could be serious. But that was not the case. It was very serious. His heart was sick… and he died.
I tried to continue on for a while. But the sadness kept eating at me. Nothing was funny anymore. I stopped posting. And if you look at my archives, the month of September 2009 has nothing in it. I had never experienced loss like this before. I thought the best way to handle it was to curl up in a ball and shut myself off from the world.
That plan was ill-conceived.
I started to think about what Tru would say if he saw me giving up like that. He would have been pissed. I had this crazy dream to dominate the internet and entertain the masses. At the time he was the only one who really thought I could do it. He would be so disappointed in me if I let his death keep me from trying. I had to continue what I started.
I began posting again. Creating things. Growing my audience by leaps and bounds. I got my first post with 100 notes. Back then that was like a million. I broke 300 followers. My tumblarity was through the roof. Big websites started to notice me. They started posting my stuff. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any more ridiculous, amazing things just kept happening. I got interviewed by an Australian radio station. I made the front page of Digg back when it didn’t suck. I made the front page of reddit back when they had less jerks. One day, Steve Martin stopped by my blog and left a comment. And earlier this year I surpassed 100,000 followers. In the month of December, 1.5 million people stopped by my blog.
Tru McGowan tricked me into launching my big comedy website and I didn’t even know it.
There are so many things I am grateful for. My followers, my fans, my friends. This community has allowed me to fulfill my purpose. To entertain the masses. Thank you all for sticking with me these three years.
That is my tumblr story.