I joined the Tumblr world in 2010, and I really had no idea what the hell it was. I had heard a few of my friends talking about this platform, but none of them could really explain it to me and it sounded like a fairly niche world.
But, in a technical nutshell, Tumblr is a micro-blogging platform and a particularly good example of convergence. It is a site that allows more than one type of post: text, quote, images, video, audio etc. (DeMers, 2013)
When I say this space is niche, me and any of my friends who have a Tumblr have a kind of unspoken rule– you don’t talk about Tumblr outside of Tumblr. You just don’t do it. It is a space that can only exist within that space. This is because Tumblr is so intricately personal. It’s about blogging and re-blogging other people’s text posts and images. These micro posts all add up and create a certain aesthetic that represents a small part of who we are. The thing with Tumblr, a lot of these images that we post and share, are extremely vague. It could be the colour combination that attracts your eyes, or the clothes someone in the image is wearing. But you reblog that image for a reason, and usually a subconscious one. These all pile together and create something much bigger.
Tumblr is largely community based. It almost has it’s own sense of humour. So many of the posts and memes that are created on this platform don’t really resonate for those who don’t participate. I mean, now, I have seen a lot of Tumblr originated posts shared on Facebook, and I don’t know what it is, but once they’re removed from Tumblr, the edge is gone. They’re not merely as funny. It is such a unique world to be a part of and only once you’re in it, will you understand.
Tumblr isn’t private but it may as well be. You cannot search an individual based on their name, you must know their URL, and unless they give this to you (fairly unlikely), you must count on getting lucky and stumbling across one’s page. People do not ‘ask’ to follow you– they just do. And no one really cares who follows them (unless it’s their mother– that would be disturbing). It’s a world where we all understand the lack of limitations, how free we can be, how freaky we can be. Only because everyone else is too.
Being in this social media space delivers a sense of freedom to its users. This world is very self-expressionist, and everyone within it knows that. We’re all there for a similar reason–to communicate with or without words, and for catharsis.
DeMers, J. (2013). How to Use Tumblr for Your Business |. [online] Social Media Examiner. Available at: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/tumblr-for-business/ [Accessed 16 October. 2016].