Sunday, 18 November 2012

Tumblr: Follow the World's Creators

For artists, writers, and the rest of the creative population the Internet is becoming a very interesting place to be.  With sites like RedBubble, DeviantART and Society6 individuals are being given the opportunity to get out there and be seen.  Yet one of the most interesting places on the net at the minute is Tumblr, all you have to do is go to the homepage and see the words ‘follow the world’s creators’ to know that you have found something that isn’t going to generate the general sarcasm and rolling of the eyes that Facebook can on a day to day basis.

Tumblr combines the things I love in one place: art, fandom and community. Tumblr is a microblogging platform that goes beyond Twitter, it goes a little bit deeper than that, it enables users to post images, videos, music without the emphasis on it being a social network.  You don’t comment on posts, you reblog them and manipulate them to your own view; you add your ideas or you add your emotional reaction (usually by a GIF of David Tennant crying in the rain).  You don’t have friends, you have followers, although a follower on Tumblr often has a greater kinship with you than a follower on Twitter might, and you don’t even send messages, you ask questions.  Tumblr is where the interesting and the intelligent get to meet and be creative.

It’s also a place of discovery.  Tumblr is not based upon who you’re friends with or celebrities, it’s about your interests, the things you love, and because of that you are able to build on that because you’re connecting with people who love them too.  I have read books that I never would have thought to read because someone has posted a quote from them on their Tumblr.  

It’s also an incredible platform for getting yourself out there and known, especially if you want to get into the creative industries.  The features of tracked tags and reblogging creates a chain of people seeing and further passing on your ideas and images, enabling any individual to get their work out there with ease.  I really wouldn’t be surprised if the idea was not originally generated by the idea of chain mail, but with an actual gain for all involved.

An average day on Tumblr can see someone post quotes from Sylvia Plath, their latest oil painting and then five minutes later GIFs of foxes bouncing on a trampoline.  It’s a very funny, strange corner of the Internet, but it’s where exciting things are happening and I would have it over Facebook and Twitter any day.


  1. I am not personally a user of Tumblr but I have friends and housemates who are. They are the friend sitting in the corner sniggering repeatedly and occasionally bursting with the effort of containing their laughter. After five minutes this becomes unbearable and you are forced by curiosity to inquire ‘what could be so gut-bustingly funny?!’ They turn the screen around and it’s a picture of a dog in a hat. Again.

    This occurs on so regular a basis that we have banned this particular friend from showing anything that she would not consider an ‘8 or higher’ on the funny scale. She occasionally shows us an interesting piece of art or an interesting fact backed up by nothing but the likes of other followers at which point we congratulate her on finding something worth looking at.

    I understand the appeal only too well – if you think Facebook is too difficult to ignore when you have a million and one jobs to do, avoid Tumblr like the plague because I cannot personally think of anything so life ruining. Instead of trawling link after link trying to learn something new or interesting, on Tumblr you are bombarded by the interests of others, seeing GIFs that the average-Joe will only learn about eight months later. This suits me just fine – in this case I am happy to be ‘outside the loop’. This site is so addictive and so full of information that it benefits me to have the best and most interesting posts shown to me by a friend rather than ever setting up an account of my own.

  2. I used to be an avid user of Tumblr for all of the same reasons. For me, it was a place where I was introduced to new bands, some of which now dominate my iTunes library. My favourite rock club shut down a few months after I started my Tumblr account and so this social network became my place of solidatiry where my love for alternative music was welcomed and developed.

    Unfortunately, Tumblr doesn't seem to like my laptop which means I can no longer be an avid user. I've updated my flash and java a million times over, but nothing seems to help. The problem specifically arises due to the never ending scrolling function that Tumblr provides. I assume that there is a problem with using Tumblr in certain browsers, yet my problem goes one step further, connecting to Tumblr compromises my ability to connect to the internet. That's right, it just gets cut off completely.

    Tumblr is great by means of providing a fantastic community where you can connect with people on the other side of the globe to compare interests, however, in terms of it's ability to run smoothly, a problem may lie in that there is just far too much going on.

  3. I'd heard of Tumblr but never properly known what it was until now. Having read more about it, I can see why so many people prefer it to Facebook. It seems much less negative and more based on a community of people who have shared interests, rather than a group that indulges the nosy, judgemental side of human nature. Don't get me wrong, I love Facebook, but when you step back and look at what it's really doing to us all, I'm not sure it's such a positive thing. The idea of not needing 'likes' to validate my actions is pretty appealing. I might have to check it out :)


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