Imgur is an image uploading and hosting site that’s been around since 2009. It used to be a haven for top text bottom text memes and rage comics, and since then, it’s descended into iFunny level of quality.
On opening Imgur, you’re met with what it deems ‘Most Viral’. I can guarantee if you visit Imgur right now, this is what you’ll see: a handful of screenshotted tweets, an outdated meme, a couple of exhale-through-the-nose gifs, and an ‘interesting’ post to click on for an extra hit of dopamine while you’re having a shit.
Oh, and don’t forget:
the vaguely sexual post of a generically attractive woman doing a surprisingly well-done cosplay from your favorite superhero TV show. Imgur has it all!
If it sounds like I’m dissing Imgur, I am!
Honestly, the homepage is a fucking mess of gifs, memes, and pictures of stand-up comedians with something funny they once said plastered alongside them. It feels like a dopamine junkie’s wet dream.
Once you get over the sensory overload experience that is the homepage, you can start clicking around. And once you do, you’ll uncover the biggest load of shit to waste your precious time on.
Want to look at otter memes? Just click the ‘Otter’ tag in the huge tag bar that imposes itself on your screen. What about ‘Aww’ content to distract yourself from your crippling existentialism?
Don’t worry, Imgur has all the photos, videos, and posts you need to feel whole again.
In fact, it seems to be neverending. I saw an estimate that Imgur hosts over 2 billion images, and it certainly feels that way.
But seriously, it is easy to fritter the day away on Imgur. There’s tons of random content to keep doomscrolling away on, with plenty of other users doing the exact same thing. At least there’s a community, right?
Well, there is… but it’s basically Reddit. Hats off to the Imgur team for creating a virtually identical website, fully-featured with upvotes, downvotes, and even awards (God help us all).
And if you’ve ever spent any time on Reddit, you know that wrongthink will get you exiled to the furthest reaches of the comment section, where only the morally objectionable hang out.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a Reddit clone without cringe-inducing awards, available with a paid Imgur membership. Who the fuck spends their hard-earned cash on an Imgur membership?
What permanently-online soul would give a post the ‘Pizza My Heart’ award, complete with an icon of a slice of pizza wearing sunglasses?
Or what about when you enjoy a post so much, you boldly give it the special title ‘Entertaining’?
Now, Imgur used to be a lot more laissez-faire with its content, allowing adult content to be readily searchable. However, typing in ‘big booty latinas’ will yield nothing but disappointment.
Even if you go to your settings and switch on mature content… nothing. I really thought that it was just you need to make an account to view NSFW content. Nope, Imgur seems to have switched this off.
I quote: ‘Sexually explicit content is never allowed to be shared with the Imgur community, even if it's marked as mature’. Boring!
It seems that Imgur has gone the Tumblr route of not allowing anything more than a hint of sexualization in their posts. More power to them, I guess.
But, you can still get around this. Imgur still functions well as a place to upload random images you want to share with people, and it doesn’t seem like the ‘no sexually explicit content’ rule is actively applied.
If you want to share something sexually explicit via Imgur, just make it a private image. That way, no pesky do-gooder will report the porn you just uploaded straight to the ‘new’ feed.
All of this being said, it seems like Imgur users are eager to see some boobies. Go to the homepage right now, and find the nearest post that features an attractive woman. It will probably be a fairly innocent picture.
Now, look at the number of upvotes and views it has compared to the surrounding images. I guarantee it stands out. It probably even has a fucking award.
You hear that Imgur? Your users are THIRSTY. Despite the petabytes of porn that exists online, men will still click the picture endlessly like a cocaine-addicted rat.
So you might be asking, I know Imgur’s shit. But what are the positive features of Imgur? Shouldn’t a review also hit on some of the better points about Imgur? Okay, you’ve got me there…
Imgur, like it or not, has shaped the internet. Reminiscent of Adam Smith’s invisible hand, Imgur has fueled meme culture by simply existing as an easy place to upload photos to share with your buddies. It really was the go-to for quickly uploading a picture and grabbing a link back in the day.
And it’s still fairly simple to use. There really aren’t that many moving parts to Imgur. You look at a funny picture, give it an upvote, and scroll. Repeat until your legs go numb. It’s really difficult to fuck up using Imgur.
While it has turned into another 9gag-style platform, it provides a community for some people. It’s a safe space for people to express themselves, and it’s probably saved a couple of lives by making someone smile.
Despite Imgur being infamous for hosting questionable content, it seems like they’ve cleaned up their act, even if they did go scorched-earth mode. And I can’t knock them for that.
Ultimately, Imgur has turned into another platform that once seemed for the people into something more sanitized, more corporate. But it exists, and for better or for worse, it’s still fucking popular.
Does Imgur have a net-positive effect on society? If you listen to the reviews bitching about it being an Antifa mouthpiece, then no. But I think it’s a lot more complicated than that. Internet culture would’ve never been the same if cesspits like Imgur didn’t exist, and for that I’m grateful.