The oddities of Tumblr: Compared to Every Other Social Media Site I’ve used

Over the this Social Technologies course, I’ve used a whole bunch of different Social Media sites, and I’ve blogged about most of them. In particular, I’ve written about how each of them serve a particular purpose in networking, communicating and maintaining my Digital Identity. Some are obvious, LinkedIn is for networking, YouTube is for hosting and discussing videos. Some have a wider purpose – I’ve recently started to become a little less formal and subject focused in my twitter account now that I have a decent number of followers and I’m less scared that I’ll lose all of them as soon as I post something they aren’t interested in. However, one recent addition to my collection of social media site accounts has proven a little harder to pin down when it comes to the point of it all, and how to work with it. And that site is Tumblr.

At first glance, Tumblr seems like a blog site just like this one, if a little less word orientated. But why would I need two blogs? (Actually that would be three blogs, though I haven’t ever done much with One day though!) But after a discussion with my lecturer about how cute animals pictures frequently do well on the internet, I decided to create a tumblr account for my pet, or more specifically my rabbit. I also created a cat video, because, to according to this Tech Hive article and this one from Mashable, the internet loves cat, and no-one knows why. Sadly Smokey never made it very big online, but he is now a part of that culture. I did get to use the video again on the tumblr blog thougj=h.

Animals might seem a shallow thing to blog about, but it did make it easy to start with Tumblr, and figure out how it works as a social media platform.

is in some ways quite similar to this blog, although it’s for pet pictures and humour, it has a narrow, focussed field of subjects. It’s only pictures of my pets, and any text posts have a similar feel, since they are written as if from Jazz’s perspective. I expected to find that other tumblr blogs are the same, and some of the ones that I have looked at are. However, the pictures I posted have been reblogged by other users, and many of the blogs I found them on were very different. They were a mash up of short images, comments and other media, much of it reblogged rather than original content. These tumblr accounts are more like public scrapbooks, to showing what the blogger is doing/enjoying at the time, or perhaps an attempt to create a deliberate online persona (something I’ve talked about in the past.)

This was when I realised that my most successful posts, the ones that were getting reblogged, were photo-only. People were taking my pictures and using to them reflect someone of themselves back onto the internet. Also, these were short posts. My friend Rob Kelly has written about how shorter is sometimes better, because people don’t always have a long attention span for your work. Photos are micro-artifacts of Spreadable Media, they don’t take up anyone’s time, so people so more likely to look once and pass them on.

Jazz the Hipster Bunny strikes an accidental pose for Tumblr


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