The site is “chill,” he told me

The site is “chill,” he told me Zeke does not have any active social-media accounts with his full name attached to them, but he is in many Discord servers pertaining to his interests, including art, writing, and KambodЕѕalainen morsiamet science. He spends a lot of time there sharing interesting or funny photos of animals, and he met his longtime boyfriend while Discord-chatting under a pseudonym that is a play on Kermit the Frog. The servers that he likes best have 100 to 200 users, so the conversation is always lively, but it doesn’t get out of control or competitive. Sometimes people anonymously say disgusting things-the worst things he has ever read! (That well-established tendency has contributed to the collapse of anonymous social platforms in the past.) But mostly they just drop cool pictures and funny memes, and discuss or riff on them. “There’s an understanding that, like, you’re not going to kick each other, you’re not going to judge each other,” he said. “You’re not here to represent your identity; you’re just here to chill.” The surprising recent popularity of Discord suggests a nostalgia among members of Gen Z for IRC and forum cultures that existed mostly before they were born. The return to Tumblr reflects a longing for the more recent past-just before the age of the influencer. “I’ve been on Tumblr for about 11 years because I was 11 when I got it,” Maya, an aspiring artist and photographer, told me. She asked to go by her first name only, as she does on Instagram. On Tumblr, where she feels most comfortable, she goes by the username coldstonedreamery-a reference to an episode of This American Life that she heard long ago in her mom’s car. She remains anonymous partly for artistic reasons: Being an enigma is good for world building and creating a mystique around her work, she said. She wants to be known for her point of view, not for her face or even her personality. […]