Tumblr is a blogging platform that allows users to share text, photos, videos, links, music, and conversations with people who are following you. Posts of people you’re following show up in your dashboard, or your “homepage.” The dashboard has a very fluid and simple design that allows users to quickly scroll through various posts. Although Tumblr can be used by people of all ages, there are two specific audiences that Tumblr caters to.
User A: The Turbulent Teenager
Teenagers filled with angst release their pent up emotions on Tumblr and blog about several issues. Some posts are quite depressing and are often very personal. Typical topics of discussion amongst teens on Tumblr include depression, suicide, self-mutilation, and body image issues. Users express their concerns towards others and themselves regarding these problems. Tumblr has quickly become an online forum for people who need help or someone to listen to.
The other teenage side of Tumblr is quite the opposite. In fact, it’s filled with humor. Internet memes such as socially awkward penguin, first world problems girl, and paranoid parrot are all very familiar to Tumblr users. The memes poke fun at awkward situations and create common bonds between users. The Tumblr community is very tight knit and can often relate to others’ memes and awkward situation.
The newest craze to hit Syracuse University students recently is a Facebook page filled with Syracuse memes. These memes are no stranger to Tumblr. Many Tumblr users have created their own memes and uploaded them to the Facebook page. The page currently has nearly 4,000 likes.
Other popular posts for teens include piercings, tattoos, sex, and discussion about relationship problems. There are no boundaries for the Tumblr community, and users take full advantage of that.
User B: The Growing Professional
Internet bloggers have quickly adapted to the Tumblr format to express their ideas. Technologists, educationalists, cooks, photographers, and other professionals are turning to Tumblr to share their ideas. I personally run my own technology Tumblr to create a community with people who are interested in similar values as myself. Other students on this campus also use Tumblr to discuss their ideas.
“I started my education Tumblr because I wanted a place to keep a weekly journal of my experiences at my internship.” says Norling. “While I was keeping my Tumblr, I would also interject random thoughts about education. I needed an outlet for my thoughts on education reform.”
Upon asking her about the benefits of keeping and maintaining her Tumblr, Norling stated, ” I’ve made a lot of personal and professional connections. I developed a good relationship with fellow Tumblrs and wanted to keep up those relationships. I’ve also been recruited for positions for education technology companies that I’ve really loved and I’ve gotten cool opportunities becoming a columnist elsewhere.”
Besides being recognized on the web and being offered amazing opportunities, Norling has also learned Internet (and life) lessons when it comes to communication with people. “First and foremost: mean what you say and say what you mean. When it comes to touchy topics, people pay attention to what you say and it’s public. You have to know what you’re talking about, believe in it, and stand up for it.”
Norling and I further discussed the tight knit community among professionals on Tumblr, similar to what teenagers experience. The casual tone of Tumblr and the small inside jokes allow for a professional community that doesn’t seem overbearing. Norling commented that she does insert an occasional lolcat into her posts.
Another interesting Tumblr to follow is The Next Web. The Next Web recently moved onto Twitter after running a successful website and Twitter account. The website publishes blog posts about the latest news, products, and thoughts in the information field. Although the new Tumblr publishes the same context as their website and Twitter, it creates a community that allows users to easily comment and share ideas with one another.
Whether you’re a hormonal teenager or a professional trying to get your opinion out there, Tumblr really does have something for everyone. It’s easy to have multiple pages which allow you to post content for different audiences. The close community on Tumblr is rewarding and gives you a place to feel at home while on the Internet. Despite the interest, Tumblr has a place for everyone.