“Being Tumblr”

beign-tumblr

(You can see whole conversation and the green-text which uses the quote here.)

This really made me think. Not just someone describing a person through a social network she uses but everyone else (including me) understands what he meant. Of course you can’t tell exactly what “someone being tumblr” means but most of us have an image about that.


We have some other kind of adjectives close to that like “tumblr girl”, “redditor” and “/b/tards” and we all have images about those adjectives but I guess this is another level. This is not a nickname for someone who uses a website/social network, you’re calling her exactly what she uses/visits. And everyone else understands.


I know some websites creates a subculture around them and gets bigger and bigger with it but this looks different to me. Tumblr is mainly a blogging platform and there are users all around the world and they’re all using Tumblr with different purposes. But they’re just “tumblr users” in this case, they can’t “be tumblr”. You can have a Tumblr account but you can’t be tumblr.

There’s a tumblr persona and you just can’t create an account and be a part of it. You have to transform yourself to be tumblr, if you’re not naturally a tumblr. Wait a minute, how can someone be a natural tumblr?


The more I think about this, I feel like I should dig this more. But right now, this is just a quick note to begin.


UPDATE (5:53pm)

After publishing this post, something flashed in my mind and found this. I strongly recommend you to watch/read it.

At that talk, Jay Springett gives the best explanation so far to “being tumblr”. Stacks, like Facebook and Google, turning more and more into states and we’re getting used to it. Being tumblr turns exactly into “being citizen of a country”. Every country has images in our minds (may call stereotypes if you wish) and when you say “she’s tumblr”, our brains gets this signal similar as “she’s Turkish”.

About the difference between “a tumblr user” and “tumblr”. It definitely fits in that idea too. You can take, for example someone from England goes Italy as a tourist or starts to live there. She never can be “Italian”, she’ll be just a “tourist from England” or “Italy citizen”.


I guess I found the missing piece on “being tumblr” problem but now I have to dig into “Stacks and States” problem. There’ll be lots of fun (I hope).

3 thoughts on ““Being Tumblr”

  1. In this, as so much else, it feels like Tumblr is strikingly similar to what Livejournal was 10-15 years ago. That same thing of platform as metonym and catalyst for a particular (mostly) youth culture.

    Compare to Doctorow’s 2004 novel “Eastern Standard Tribe”. While his timezone conceit seems a bit fanciful now, there’s *something* socially true/accurate beneath it.

    1. Agreed, they have so much in similar. We didn’t had this argument back then but Livejournal can be named as “pre-stacks stack”. Maybe not economically but culturally.

      Also thanks for reminding Doctorow’s amazing “Eastern Standard Tribe”. You really have a good point there, I guess it’s time for a re-read.

      After your comment, I’ll definitely revisit this post, you gave me really good clues to work on. Thanks!

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