Tumblr: The middle child in the social media family


Recently spending some time updating and refreshing some activity on our various Tumblr blogs, I began to think about Tumblr’s place in the social media community. It is no Facebook, the juggernaut with its own film; nor is it Twitter, the hot new kid on the block that has emerged in the last year, to update everyone what they’re eating or watching. Tumblr, because of its interface is not ideal for individuals to simply socialise on and interact with each other. Tumblr is however perfect for sharing small nuggets; the kind that brighten up an afternoon which is dragging, rather than being that site you have on in the background.

That is not to say that Tumblr cannot be addictive if you’re not careful. One reason for this, is that it is incredibly easy to navigate; maintaining several different blogs and creating and distributing content related to specific audiences (something it shares with Google+). Additionally, this content can vary from text, images, video etc. With customisable backgrounds, your Tumblr can really express you as a person in a way other social media sites cannot.

Tumblr’s other positive is that it collates large amounts of content submitted by many users, on one particular topic very well. It really feels like the most postmodern social network because it encourages the constant altering and touching up of material that already exists, and the facility to share it again through re-blogging. For instance, if I wanted to find a consistently-updated collection of GIFS of Emma Stone, Tumblr would be the best place to find it neatly organised through tags of keywords. By following particular people or accounts, this comes directly to you when you log in and check out your dashboard.

From the perspective of the user, Tumblr allows famous figures and celebrities to share a side of themselves which is not always on show to the public. Twitter is too brief, condensed and puts more emphasis on what is going on at that moment; Tumblr has less expectations puts on it, because compared to Twitter accounts which everyone has their eyes on, Tumblr goes unappreciated unless you are a HUGE fan of something or someone. For example, Mad Men actor Rich Sommer boasts of his secret love of games on his Tumblr blog; a niche interest for a smaller audience but yet he has a huge number of followers. Same with actor Donald Glover, who regularly shares content related to his music side-project Childish Gambino, or Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his collaborative production company, hitRECord.

Tumblr represents what Pinterest is tapping in to now more overtly. While it is a great place to find a lot on one topic, it has the feel of a fifteen-year-old’s bedroom wall or school locker: lots in one place, in your face but clear in its passion, like how said teenager may feel for a musician. Tumblr in that way allows the user to regress a bit.

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