What is Tumblr?
As they say themselves, “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.” It is a cross between a social networking site (like Facebook and Twitter) and a blog. It is often described as ‘microblog’ as people usually post short snippets of text and quick snaps as opposed to longer diary style entries found in more traditional blogs.
Tumblr appears to have a younger user demographic in comparison with other social networks. To register for a Tumblr blog, you must be over thirteen years of age.
Currently hosting over 217 million separate blogs with 420 million users, Tumblr has been around since early 2007 and was purchased by Yahoo in 2013 for $1.1 billion.
How do Kids use Tumblr?
The Tumblr ethos is to encourage users to create their own content and to interact with other like-minded souls. Teens are embracing it; they use it to follow their interests and express themselves. It’s easy to set up shared accounts for collaborative postings and it’s also possible to allow other Tumblr users to post to your blog. Tumblr users will tell you, it allows for more creative expression than the other big social networking sites.
Basically, young people create a web page that is a collection of all the things they like. They can post images, music clips, text and also re-blog from other Tumblr feeds they find interesting. They customise the look and feel of their personal page so that it reflects their personality. Most Tumblr users follow and keep up to date with certain topics they are interested in. It’s also very easy to interact with other Tumblr users and to comment on their blogs and share some of their posts on your own profile. All this makes it very appealing to teens who are toying with concepts of identity and trying to connect with like-minded souls.
This is a typical Tumblr page:
What Parents need to know about Tumblr
Seen as being more creative than other forms of social media, Tumblr has been embraced by those interested in expressing their artistic side. This wealth of creative content does have its drawbacks. It is extremely easy to come across hardcore pornography on the site as Tumblr is a totally open and non filtered platform. Tumblr blogs are not screened or moderated in any way by Tumblr HQ, which means that anyone who uses the site could come across unsavoury content, including pornography and other explicit material.
All Tumblr blogs are public by default and once a Tumblr profile is set up, a public blog is automatically generated. However, a second blog can be set up which can be kept private. The creative core of Tumblr encourages users to interact with each other and comment on each others blogs. If this isn’t your cup of tea, it’s possible to block users from interacting with you on Tumblr. But, you can’t stop them from viewing your blog.
Tumblr makes impulse posting easy with a variety of apps available on mobile devices, caution is needed to ensure an impulse post doesn’t have knock on effects in terms of privacy/reputation issues. Tumblr has seen a huge increase in content (images and text) being replicated and shared without copyright agreements being in place. This has potential issues for teachers who might want to use Tumblr in class as a collaborative project.