Gema is a 20-year old from Miami, FL. Reads like a maniac. Writes for sanity. It’s a fine line and she loves erasing it.
Let me introduce you to my latest obsession: Tumblr. It’s a social network where you can share anything: text, pictures, quotes, videos, and music. It doesn’t have the 140-character limitation of Twitter or visually dull limitations of Facebook. While those two popular social networks are mostly about the meat of the message, Tumblr has more flare. It’s the space of .gif and Photoshop galore. Creative minds have found an outlet for the little doodles that are inspired by a stray song lyric or a hilarious scene in a television show or anywhere. Following blogs is easy, since they are organized in one place (the “dashboard”) and is read in chronological order. It’s deliciously addicting that way. Whenever I log in for about fifteen minutes, time swallows up the seconds and spits them back out two hours later. All the time is spent scrolling, laughing and reblogging.
In my opinion, reblogging is the most unique feature in Tumblr. Instead of linking posts of interests for friends to maybe click, they are reposted on the dashboard for my followers. It’s in the vein of Twitter’s retweets, except that I don’t have to worry about the character limit. I can add my own comments below them the post as well as anyone that reposts it. It becomes a thread then, with comments and .gifs to express feelings that have no words. Sharing is as fun as creating and posting your own content. Tumblr encourages scavenging other blogs for creative gold. It’s easier to find people with similar interests. When there are thousands of people searching for similar content and reblogging that content and adding comments, they are bound to bump into each other in cyberspace every now and then. I’ve been able to geek out with Harry Potter, Mortal Instrument, and Hunger Games fandom. I’ve met new nerdfighters just by searching the name.
This cyberspace utopia does have its flaws, though. The site goes down every few days for several minutes. If you have my luck, it’ll be just as you reblog or post something. It occurs so often that there’s an ongoing joke about “Tumblr Beasts” (or just Tumbeasts) gnawing through the system because Tumblr forgot to feed it again. So while it goes down often, you can always expect the users to find a humorous spin and a well edited graphic to go along with it.
Another, perhaps more serious, flaw that I’ve encountered should be considered if you have children thirteen or younger. Like in any social network, the things that are found are not always suitable for children. I’ve seen it more on Tumblr than on Twitter or Facebook, but that’s just because it’s such a graphic network. If you type it in the search box, or if someone you follow happens to reblog it, you can find nude pictures, pornographic .gifs. But even then, I don’t think this is as bad as something else I’ve found. Thinspiration. The magic of Tumblr is that you hardly have to click anything unless you want to reblog. If you scroll to the end of a page, the next page unfolds beneath it and all you have to do is scroll for hours. There are a lot of girls that type in things to the like of “weight loss, thinspo, thispiration” and embark on a journey of pictures of skinny girls and graphics that promote not eating and put down those who don’t have the self-control to stop eating. If you scroll down long enough, the pictures and the mantras actually start to sound normal. I’m not sure that’s something that should be blamed solely on Tumblr, though. Just a couple of months ago, there was a Twitter account that promoted the same thing. Tumblr can spread ideas, which is great! But sometimes those ideas are unhealthy, and that in the power of such an addicting site can be dangerous. So if you have a young child, be cautious. Not just with Tumblr, but with every site.