Sunday, April 1, 2012

I'll Tumble For Ya

I realize this is a daring day to be on the internet, what with it being April Fool's and all. Trust me, there's no pranks amok on my end, but I've seen plenty on the interwebs today. Especially Tumblr. So, in honor of that, and as this Culture Club-inspired title foreshadows, this is a post about Tumblr.

Yes, Tumblr. I realize I've been referring to it and using posts to it but have never exactly explained what it is. I only know of it's existence thanks to my roommate's younger sister who has a hundred and some followers on this site and is part of a generation where somehow they just know everything about what's trending and what's popular in the world of culture while us folk from the early 90s are like, "What the fuck is happening to the world? Does no one remember when Disney channel didn't suck? Does anyone remember The Magic School Bus? DOES ANYONE REMEMBER LISA FRANK?!" Which is perhaps the real reason why siblings fight.

Anyway, Tumblr is super popular with the new high school generation, which are my generations' (and mine, if I had siblings) younger brothers and sisters. But it has also been discovered by adults and college students and, as it's fairly new on the social media spectrum, it's kind of one of those things where, "it's cool and awesome and I love it but how the hell am I supposed to use it?"

According to the website itself, Tumblr:
lets you effortlessly share anything. Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos, from your browser, phone, desktop, email or wherever you happen to be. You can customize everything, from colors to your theme's HTML. 
Today alone, 56,494,555 posts have been made. There are 50,145,272 sites, or blogs as they call them (I'm stuck in the idea of blogs being like this site, so I have have a hard time calling Tumblr pages blogs), and 20,297,707,541 total posts as of 1:19 pm Central time today. For not being entirely clear as to what it is or how to use it, it's gaining incredible popularity.

With this, you can probably begin to see why it's so popular for fandoms.The ability to post pictures, quotes, videos, from anywhere and everywhere at anytime is like a fan's dream come true. When once you had to join clubs and subscribe to magazines, one can now conveniently find anything you want regarding your favorite book or movie on one site from your freaking smartphone (which I now have, by the way. I actually have a smartphone. I seriously didn't think that would happen until about 2017).

So Tumblr is the perfect interface for fandoms - you don't have to reveal your real identity, you can customize everything you want, you can interact with other people who have the same interests as you, see the clever artworks and fan fictions and gifs people make, and stay up to date on recent news events regarding your fandom, which before would have required Facebook, Deviant Art, and Twitter for all of that.

For some fans, Tumblr as become a place where they can share their love for their favorite movies, TV shows, etc without being judged for something that may not be as popular or a cult classic. Sure, The Hunger Games are excessively popular on Tumblr, but movies that are both loved and equally hated (like Twilight) have a fanbase for both (who equally feel they are in the minority). Shows like The L Word, Once Upon a Time, and Doctor Who have a number of blogs, not because they aren't popular but because they aren't as well know or received in American culture and thus Tumblr allows for a place where people can talk about them (where before one felt like the only person in their town who'd heard of said show).

Certainly, Tumblr allows for a lot of creativity, a lot of group support, and a whole new way to think about freedom of expression.

And sometimes, weird things like this happen (Somewhere between the gif of Gollum and the adaption of the "soft kitty" song from The Big Bang Theory, I stopped being able to function, either as a student, fangirl, human being and was stuck at, "Who thought this was okay?"). Fangirls, while they generally mean well and really care about the people/items of interest that they follow, sometimes do some really strange shit. But you already know that.

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