Here is where I lose all credibility, all the momentum from my previous post about Bookbub. A lot of my posts are hit or miss. I won’t apologize.
Now, as a writer, I cater to the young adult/millennial age group. If you want absolutely nothing to do with this audience, feel free to scroll past this post. I don’t think it’s for you.
For I will be talking about one of the best and worst places on the Internet.
I can’t imagine all the different ways you could’ve come across Tumblr. In fact, I can’t even remember when I first heard about it. I just know I signed up for it last summer.
A lot of people know of Tumblr without having been to it. If you search for an image of anything relating to pop culture, you’ll come across Tumblr posts like fan art, screenshots, and GIFs. Or maybe a friend of yours on Facebook shares stuff from ‘Best of Tumblr.’ That argument over the blue or gold dress that almost broke the Internet? That came from a Tumblr post.
People think of it as a wasteland, where all the best and worst of things converge to form one little blue hell-hole that reveals too much and yet nothing at all. It’s a place overrun by smart-mouthed teens and sad adults. The Dismaland of the Internet.
(actually… “1+3 chan” is the void to avoid, and I won’t dare get into that)
But here is something people don’t seem think to about when it comes to Tumblr.
You ‘Follow’ people on Tumblr the same way you follow anyone on any site—Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat (haven’t used this one yet), Vine (this one neither). Anything thing these people post will show up on your Feed.
Side note → Please let me know if the link worked and you were able to see and hear the Vine video. For future reference.
Sometimes it’s the greatest, but sometimes it’s not. If you don’t like what someone posts → Unfollow or Block them.
Why write about Tumblr of all things?
I don’t know much about social networking on the Internet. I wasn’t on it in time to have a MySpace (remember that?). It wasn’t until 2010 that I had anything to do with the Internet, and that was Facebook.
I’m still learning, though. And what I’ve learned about Tumblr is that it’s hit or miss. Some sign up for an account and immediately delete it. Nothing holds them to it. Just what is Tumblr even for??
I’ve come to think of Tumblr as WordPress’s kid brother. Because, while I think adults and businesses use Wordpress—everyone else seems to use Tumblr.
I found this great article by Elspeth Reeve, Senior Editor of New Republic. It’s called “The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens” and is really incredible. It’s also a long read, but entertaining and informative… like a funny Tumblr history lecture. You will not believe some of the posts I’ve found–academic journal-style essays–that explain the history memes.
Tumblr has histories. It has had wars. I’m still considerably new to the site, and so far all I know of is the Chocolate Bird meme war (warning: lanugage). It’s a long post, but a detailed one worthy of textbooks. More on its history here.
How I found Reeve’s article:
Reeve dug into the world of Tumblr and explains what Tumblr is, what it’s like, and why it’s successful as a site. She interviewed actual Tumblr staffers, even 2 teens that found monetary success through Tumblr.
I believe this statement supports my ‘kid brother’ idea of Tumblr:
Tumblr is the social network that, based on my reporting, is seen by teens as the most uncool. A telling post from 2014: “I picked joining Tumblr and staying active on here because: 1. I’m not attractive enough to be a Youtuber 2. Not popular enough for twitter 3. Facebook is dumb.” You don’t tell people your Tumblr URL, you aren’t logging the banalities of your day—you aren’t even you. On Tumblr, you can revel in anonymity, say whatever you want without fear of it going on your permanent record. You can start as many Tumblrs as you like, one for each slice of your personality
So it can be an escape for some people who want to hide behind a username because that’s the only way they feel safe enough to reveal their true selves.
Maybe you can sort of see why I gravitate to this audience. I mean, Saffron Grey isn’t my real name and yet I use it for just about everything I do online. I considered it my online identity. I believe this name goes better with my idea of self than my given name.
And, really, every person at some point in their lives has had that moment of ‘Who am I?’ It’s an abstract sort of ‘who’ that is also a ‘What am I?’ and ‘How am I?’ and ‘Why am I?’
Tumblr is just the place where everyone posts things like “I love posting about my personal life and then deleting it” or “Life would be so much more [bearable] if we were working towards a relatively carefree, blissful childhood rather than away from it.” You know… fun stuff.
Reeve’s article explains Tumblr much better than I ever could. Again, it’s a really long read, and it visuals a little taxing on the eyes at first, but great if you have a lot of time to kill. It makes me think of those YouTube rabbit-holes you fall through… click on one video about a normal thing, and then a couple of videos later you’re watching videos on how to make your own mascara or something.
More than an online journal
Tumblr’s also an entertainment site… and a fan site… sometimes a self-promotional site too. I’ve found a lot of like-minded individuals with similar interests.
An example is Lorna George (or neenorroar), self-published author of The Redwood Rebel. If you’re a fan of fantasy, she also has a WordPress site! I’ll review her novel once I’ve finished it (no time for fun-reading right now) but I only found out about her because I decided to follow her Tumblr.
There are many Tumblr users who also reblog amazing original or fan art.
I will not get into the fandoms of Tumblr. That is literally a website all on its own. Oh, wait. It’s Tumblr.
So… why Tumblr?
I’ve had a good experience with Tumblr, and I wanted to share that.
When I had a free book promotion last December, I primarily shared it on Tumblr–and 32 people got their hands on a Kindle copy of my book the first day. For me, that is a big number, and I’m happy about that.
Lorna George reblogged my little ad thing on her Tumblr page, and her followers most likely took up the offer. Although… no one has actually left a review of my book–but that’s besides the point.
To me, Little Brother Tumblr is like a Facebook page for strangers… with people who want a safe haven like you do and share things (mostly) without judgment.
Sure, a lot of them might be teenagers, but the internet is full of them. They’re learning how to figure out the best way to express themselves. It’s slow going, but this is the generation I feel the need to look after. They are going through their teen years in a very confusing and changing world.
My Tumblr blog, saffrongrey.tumblr.com, is where I often do casual blogging… reblogging things I like, sharing things I think, laughing at funny quips and posts. If you don’t have an account, all you’ll see if you click on the above link is my Tumblr website. You’ll miss out on the dashboard part, your news feed, the fun part.
To find other people with similar interests like yours, an account is free and you’ve already got a friend there. Me!
Thank you for your time.