So I posted a pimp for a "how to tumblr" recently and it created a little bit of discussion - especially the ideas of "tumblr etiquette". You know me, I love a good discussion so I thought I'd write about my personal views on it.
The thing about tumblr is that it's different to LJ. I know that sounds kinda obvious but, for me, once I accepted that and stopped wanting it to be like LJ it opened my mind to its possibilities.
It doesn't do what LJ does and that's good
. LJ already exists for this
experience so I don't need it to be identical. LJers are used to seeing something and either leaving a comment or posting a link to rec it. On tumblr you see something and you can either "heart" it (leaving a comment without having to come up with the words) or reblog it.
The reblog is interesting to me because it does quite a few things. It tells the creator you REALLY like it (enough to share it with your followers), AND you get to "keep" it. It's just like bookmarking. On top of that it also allows you to create an identity
. What you decide to share allows your followers to know who you are - what you like and whether you share something in common. It also means you can have your very own blog, without having to do an awful lot. For fans who don't actually create stuff themselves this allows them to be part of fandom and create their own identity within it, without necessarily being a writer or artist. I think that's rather great. You can get a pretty good following by just being an active reblogger.
For those who do
make things it's just another way to share it. And wow - what a way to share. People can get thousands of "notes" on something they've made and I have to tell you it's a damn nice feeling. To think that someone liked your stuff enough to put it on their own blog is really satisfying.
For me tumblr is rather freeing. It's easy to just surf and click to like something or a couple of clicks to really
like something (reblog). Having made stuff I know how nice it is to get one of those notes so I freely give them.
I also feel like I can experiment with gifs and ideas without any...er...(personal) pressure because it's all so fleeting. If something I make takes off yay, if it doesn't no biggie.
I used to think the downside to tumblr was not being able to make the connections you can on LJ. I am sure some tumblr users do make great connections but for me I love the connections I have here so that's enough. I think, like anything, you get out of it what you put in. If you take the time I suppose you can really get to know some people (probably?).
I must admit that actually being active (making and posting stuff) has made it a much better experience for me. It's just having another place to express myself. It wouldn't be the place for me without that I don't think.
As for the etiquette - well, I figure if I play nice then no harm no foul. I love having comments posted on something of mine that's reblogged (even though apparently that's a no no), so I won't make a fuss if someone does that. I've only just realised that the reason some people don't like it is because if someone reblogs your reblog, your
comment is also reblogged. My take on that is if you reblog it you can easily remove the comment (as long as you keep the original poster's one). Though commenting in the tags means there's no hassle with reblogging - they disappear when you reblog (it's making a little more sense to me now).
The tumblr experience is often criticised for its hate and shipping wars. I think that's fairly easy to avoid if you chose to. You can follow people and if you find you don't like what they're posting you can either ignore them (I see this as a way of "nicely" de-friending - they don't know) or actually stop following them. Though it amuses me when I get followers whose blog consists of boy bands or something completely unrelated to my likes. The penny dropped when I realised that some people follow in order to get followed back.
To me it seems that the users are molding (or have molded) it into something they want from it. The users seem to have made the rules (created the unwritten etiquette) - not some higher body (no idea if this is true - it just seems that way to me). At the moment there isn't any advertising (that I've seen). It's probably only a matter of time though. Yahoo now own it and I believe there's pressure to increase its value. That can only be done by advertising or charging its users, so I think tumblr is in for many changes. I still have a lot to learn and I'm only there occasionally. I'm sure people who spend a lot of time on it have a different experience of it. For me, at the moment, it's just full of pretty things and it's a nice place to play.
It will never take me away from LJ - there's just too much I enjoy here (especially being able to talk!). I much prefer this forum - but I like that there's another way to experience fandom.