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curled around these images
just enough to make us dangerous
tumblr...my take on it. 
7th-Jul-2013 10:25 pm
Watch for the plot
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.
7th-Jul-2013 02:40 pm (UTC)
The advertising comes in the form of sponsored blogs; they are inserting posts into your dash every day. If you follow a lot of blogs, you probably don't notice. I have them blocked with Tumblr Savior using a trick I read on tumblr, and most days there are about five sponsored posts.

Otherwise, I agree with you totally about Tumblr. I <3 it. *g*
7th-Jul-2013 03:41 pm (UTC)
Ahh, I can't say I've noticed the sponsored blogs - but that's probably because I sail right on by things I'm not interested in. I'll keep an eye out for them. I figured they have to be making money some how.

I've been meaning to get Savior but I just haven't gotten around to it. It's on my to do list!
7th-Jul-2013 03:15 pm (UTC)
I like Tumblr for the exact reason you stated: you can customize your own 'output style' and create a list of favourite folks to follow. (Which in an odd sense it's like LJ but without the personal connection. It's just shinies.) And I'm a mere reblogger with the tiniest smattering of meta thrown in so I certainly don't qualify as a quality blog which turns out original material. And I'm fine with that! Tumblr is both my happy place for the pretty and a way to keep my Dean/Cas side separate from LJ. (I have quite a few Wincest friends on my list and I don't enjoy drama so I'm content to separate my things.)

Still, nothing compares to LJ. The original and the best. <3
7th-Jul-2013 03:46 pm (UTC)
I figure it must be great for people who don't actually make things to be able to create their own special blog filled with stuff they like. I've heard of others who do things there that they don't do here, in order to limit the - er - drama. Seems like a good plan.

I like the variety of stuff that i get to see. I also like surrounding myself in the stuff I do like to see. And if someone reblogs too much of the stuff I don't like then that ignore option is really handy. ;)
7th-Jul-2013 03:19 pm (UTC)
You know, my biggest Tumblr issue has been a technical one on my end. My internet speed was so slow that it took forever it to load anything and it became practically useless for me to even try to go there. Your post reminded me that hey, I recently upgraded my internet speed, and it does make a huge difference in terms of using the site,especially since it is so graphic heavy.

As for the etiquette - well, I figure if I play nice then no harm no foul.

I find this to be the case pretty much anywhere I go. That, and I tend to avoid the people who seem to be itching for an argument. Plenty of people all over the internet (whether I agree with them or not) just seem to be more confrontational about their opinions on everything. and tend to leave them alone and hang with the folks willing to discuss things.
7th-Jul-2013 03:50 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah - internet speed would be massively important for tumblr. Also, my phone often has trouble with it - I don't often look it on there for that reason.

And yes definitely re avoiding those who are itching for an argument. Sometimes you can just hear it in their tone - it triggers the flight or fight response I reckon. Flight usually being the better option...;)
7th-Jul-2013 03:24 pm (UTC)
Heh, I just created my own tumblr account yesterday, just for the heck of it, and I rather enjoy it so far. I really like the new art-forms and gifs that are created at tumblr and they're hard to download since you can only ever dl one gif at a time and thus lose the artist's formatting. Having a tumblr account allows me to use it as my very own online treasure box. :)
7th-Jul-2013 03:55 pm (UTC)
Oh hey cool! I'm enjoying seeing the way people put images together. It's very inspiring and often makes me want to experiment with ideas. I used to think the gifs came as one big block and you could copy it out. I soon realised (well, after a lot of playing) that you create the gifs set designs when uploading (though some clever peeps can make them one solid image).

And it's exactly like a treasure box! :)
7th-Jul-2013 03:27 pm (UTC)
Wait, if you can only either 'heart" or reblog, what is a "note," then? (To me, a note is, well -- a written comment. So, "note" apparently means something else on tumblr?)

I won't deny that some beautiful things have popped up there, and once I finally figured out how to filter out the loud-and-crazies, my dash became a more tolerable place and kept me from deleting the darn thing entirely, but still, tumblr just . . . doesn't hold much of a draw for me. YMM-obviously-V. :D

/has a tumblr
/visits it maybe once a month
/or when someone else points out something cool
7th-Jul-2013 05:11 pm (UTC)
Fellow dinosaur! :D
I do tumblr in spurts, too. I forget about it for long stretches of time and then get lost on it for hours.

7th-Jul-2013 03:45 pm (UTC)
I don't know who on lj started the 'adding captions is wrong' rumor but it's simply not true and reading it again and again makes me so exasperated because people love comments, just like on lj.

The etiquette is just that you have to be mindful of the consequences when adding a caption for two reasons

1) your opinion might be spread to a degree you are not comfortable with, so you should be aware that many more people might see it than when you tag (though of course someone might still decide to immortalize them in the post body but that is a different question.)

2) Added captions appear on the original poster's dashboard which might be important in the following two scenarios:
a) Not all content that you reblog is sourced by a fandom participant. Are you comfortable with a random photographer or non-fandom blogger seeing your shipper squee on their dash (the less notes a post has the likelier this is). Do you feel like you need to introduce them to fandom? In those cases keeping your fannish reading to the tags is often the more polite solution imo.
b) Sometimes people feel like they don't want to pick a fight or needlessly alieniate a creator so if they strongly disagree with something or have wanky thoughts inspired by a gifset that have nothing to do with the gifset itself they might add that to the tags so that their followers will see it but not the creator.

But adding a caption to fandom-sourced art or giftsets or to comment on meta? Nobody will mind, seriously. In the case of meta adding to the post body is actually preferable to most.

Removing the original's posters caption, like an artist's notes on their work, on the other hand is usually considered rude and shouldn't be done unless they say they're okay with it. Tumblr allows you to do it but basically it's like you are editing someone's blog post instead of only adding to it.

edit: Basically what you need to understand about caption vs tagging is that on tumblr the general culture is that tags are the space for more ephemeral commentary because a chain of 'omg so great!!!' that piled up is not considered so 'valuable' content by most that they want to reblog it. (Of course people still do that and no one will come after you). Adding commentary as a caption is a much stronger action than tagging.

Edited at 2013-07-07 03:51 pm (UTC)
7th-Jul-2013 05:53 pm (UTC)
oh thank god. it made no sense to me that someone would be annoyed that i'd commented on their post. the delineations you lay out here make sense to me.
7th-Jul-2013 03:57 pm (UTC)
I agree with everything you said about tumblr and that's the full reason I'm there. I will never leave LJ for it, this is still my primary place. But tumblr has a lot of pretties and for me Spartacus fandom on LJ is not enough to get my fill. ;)
8th-Jul-2013 02:08 am (UTC)
Oh Spartacus is SO pretty over there!! Yes yes - there's nothing here so one has to go searching where it exists. :)

Did you see this? I'm sure you did, but just in case:

7th-Jul-2013 05:25 pm (UTC)
In my self-intro I say, "Tumblr is my balm for the abrasions of life," and aside from some socio-religious and political content, that's true. Not having to use the words I sometimes can't find is very freeing. Being primarily visual is very freeing. Curating beauty found on the Tumblrs I follow, selecting and reblogging both to share and to keep, is completely different than opining verbally.

I do occasionally make a text post when I have words. I also occasionally post my own photographs. I've found photos that spark a connection with poetry or prose, and posted them together. I love tracking tags for depth into a subject for a day--depth of subject rather than breadth of subjects. I comment when I reblog, often, "for the comments"! because sometimes a string of comments hilariously amplifies the original post.

I don't automatically follow back, which irritates some people who expect it, and they fall away. I don't cultivate my garden of followers--they're there for whatever reasons of their own, and every once in a while I turn around and wonder, who are you all, and why are you following me? I don't even really keep track, or post love notes, or run quizzes.

Tumblr's for my own delight and edification, and probably the least socially involved of any online place I frequent. I will exchange opinions, or post encouragement or sympathy, but hate and wank? I don't see it--or I manage to avoid it.

There are things which LJ is that Tumbler is not. And if LJ changes too much, I'm going to miss what LJ has been. But I love Tumblr too. One of the things I love most about it is how easily my focus there can change, how deeply or shallowly I can pursue a new interest, or revive an old one. And finally, how primarily visual, not textual, it is. Not for everyone, but I enjoy it.

Eek, sorry for the hijack! Want me to cut it?
8th-Jul-2013 07:17 am (UTC)
Can I just say what you have written here is as beautiful as your tumblr? You have written about tumblr in a way that I don't often seen written - poetically. I think it can be a sanctuary for some people and it's definitely freeing. For me I love LJ for the deep connections, which have been made over the years. Over there I have no idea who the people are who are following me (other than the ones I recognised from LJ) and it doesn't really matter. I like making connections but it would be just too hard and take too long over there (bit like YT for me). If someone contacts me I'll always be friendly, but I'm not going out of my way to contact others and become friends.

I'm often lost for word (hee...believe it or not!) so I like being able to just think - WOW! and reblog or heart something.

And there's no such thing as hijacking or being too long on my journal! Especially when it's as beautifully stated as this. <33

Thanks so much for sharing this.

7th-Jul-2013 08:39 pm (UTC)
I used to like tumblr, but the more I'm on it the less I like it. Unlike on LJ, I can't seem to make a dent over there. I post caps, fanart, con photos and rarely do they get even 20 or 30 hearts and reblogs, much less a thousand. I ask for questions in my in-box and get nothing. Maybe I pissed people off some how? I don't know. Don't know what I could have done.

The only thing that keeps me from leaving is the eye candy. I love all the pictures and how visual Tumblr is. But compared to my home here on LJ, tumblr is a sad and lonely place for me. :(
8th-Jul-2013 07:26 am (UTC)
Hi hun. Thanks for sharing this. I think making that dent is actually really hard. There is just SO much stuff on there I think it's easy to get missed or passed over. I can't say I've made a dent at all - and that did worry for me for a bit. I've since realised that if I enjoy making what I do and I'm still learning then I'm ok with it. It can be disheartening at times - especially when I feel like I've put a lot of work into something, but I know it's not personal and with all the really REALLY pretty over there I can't even compete. Still, I like playing and each time I post something I think...maybe this will be the one that takes off. :)) (though I find it amusing that a gif I made in exactly 2 mins has now got over 12,000 notes. Simply because of my caption. Total surprise to me I have to say).

I'm sorry it's a sad and lonely place for you. It does take the shine off it.

7th-Jul-2013 09:07 pm (UTC)
Commenting in the tags and having them disappear when something is reblogged-- I can see why people like it, but to me it means people taking less responsibility for their words. I don't care for it, but maybe that's why it's popular with much younger fans.
8th-Jul-2013 07:29 am (UTC)
I think there IS less responsibility for the words that are said - but I'd say that there are also many who are responsible and enjoy having their say without it being reblogged. salty_catfish's explanation really makes a lot of sense to me on that matter. I also think people like to say what they think and it only be fleeting - which is ok I suppose if it's not purely about stirring up trouble for the sake of it.
7th-Jul-2013 11:12 pm (UTC)
I LOVE tumblr!!
I make SPN edit's and it's a way for me to share with lots of fans. Sometimes i get hundreds of reblogs/likes sometimes i get none :)

eg my Reasons i love Jared series

I find i enjoy it as long as i have no expectations, if i post to get recognition then i am sad if i don't. If i post to get followers and that doesn't happen then that sucks as well..so i make it just for me, not to please anyone else then if i get followers/reblogs then yay, if not then at least i like it..heh!

It took me a while but i have made connections there, it's just a matter of sending messages and starting up conversations. Some popular bloggers never reply but some always do..you soon learn the difference.

But yes, it is a massive time waster

I also LOVE LJ, as it is easier to get to know someone and to keep up with SPN news and especially fan fiction. LJ users seem to be older too, which is good for me :)
8th-Jul-2013 12:17 pm (UTC)
I love the Jared series! I AGREE WITH IT ALL! :))

And yes. I've discovered that just posting (and making) stuff for myself is hugely satisfying. It's nice when things take off, but it's no big deal if they don't. It's a bit more disheartening when it happens to a vid because they take so long, but gifs are lovely and quick so I'm not too bothered if they don't get much attention.

And *nods* massive time waster....;))
7th-Jul-2013 11:31 pm (UTC)
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.

It is. What's also great is the lower language barrier since so much of Tumblr is visual and actually discourages long stretches of text or the need to say anything in response. That's pretty handy for international fandoms.

I love having comments posted on something of mine that's reblogged (even though apparently that's a no no)

Interesting. Even though I'm rarely on the site, I've come across quite a few reblog w/comments so I'd no idea that's frowned upon. (In fact some posts had 3 or more layers of comments!)

Though commenting in the tags means there's no hassle with reblogging - they disappear when you reblog

That's apparently caused quite a few problems since it turns posts into a game of telephone with those down the line having no context for the original post. I can see the purpose in allowing tags to change since this spreads content past its original "community" which may have been less interested in it than others elsewhere. But it can also be a problem in tracking back to creators.

Interesting post though! I was curious about your insights.

8th-Jul-2013 12:21 pm (UTC)
I often see the layers off comments and wondered what that was all about. It seems to be the only way to have a conversation (I think).

But it can also be a problem in tracking back to creators.

I like when there is a source link. Sometimes they appear in the top right hand corner, but not always. Hmmmm...that makes me wonder why not.

I've enjoyed the other insights here. I've learned even more about the place! :))
8th-Jul-2013 08:10 am (UTC)
Hey, great post.

I think you know me and my Tumblr by now, I love it some days, hate it some days, can't be arsed with it on others. I actually have 2 Tumblrs - one is my fandom space and the other is a personal one I post photos to.

The thing for me though it's what I want it to be, I have only a handful of followers and I do what the hell I like! No one's come over and shouted at me - heck, the place is bloody massive! No one notices if your like me and not bothered about winning a popularity contest. There are an awful lot of preconceptions about Tumblr and I admit I went in with a lot of them in my head. None of them I've found so far are absolutely true, You can see what you want to see and if there's someone blogging things you don't like or agree with, as you said, there's so many ways to avoid it. I heard it's all "destiel" over there - not true, I'm only interested in "brother" stuff and I'm overwhelmed by it. There's tons of Sam love, Dean love and Cas love - you soon find a comfort zone.

One huge advantage Tumblr has with it's visual medium is there is no language barrier, L/J is pretty impossible fandom wise if English is not your first/main language and it's pretty much impossible to step into fandom spaces here without a good grasp of the written language if you want to engage without having to apologise all the time. Tumblr though? No one would notice - it's a sort of fandom leveller in many ways for visual output.

I actually did an experiment, someone (not of l/j) was saying "only destiel gets reblogged, don't bother with anything else, destiel crowds reblog any shit" I disagreed, as I've said, there's tons of Winchester posts. So, I had to prove my point and I posted an old Dean - Castiel vid, tagged it with destiel, Cas - (first 5 tags are your important ones on new post as far as I can tell). And sat back. 2 notes. I win! I'd say to anyone - try it, for those days when you just can't face another discussion or everything is getting you down, take half an hour and browse some of the photography tags, or the kitty tags, or the wildlife tags. It's breathtaking and beautiful and kind of charges up your batteries for another day.

Biggest problem for me is there's just not enough time - I follow quite a lot of blogs, but don't have the time to see everything, I find I have to time myself and then turn off. I'm worried about getting spoilt though now SPN is getting back to filming. I'll have to see how it goes, I'd like to stay spoiler free as much as I can for next year - I think it's going to be pretty impossible, so I'll put my fandom one on hiatus probably.
8th-Jul-2013 12:29 pm (UTC)
Hey! Thanks. I've really enjoyed the other insights that people have shared. I always figured that everyone would have their own experience of the place.

I like that it's a fandom leveler - language not being an issue.

I sometimes forget how much other stuff is on tumblr. My daughter is on there and she has a few thousand followers. She has a beach theme and...that's it. I'm not sure she that active atm, but when she first started she worked hard to get a following.

I have decided that I will never be able to see everything I'd like to see there. I just don't have that sort of time either. And spoilers over there are a real problem Once the cons start I think they'll be quite a few....

24th-Oct-2013 03:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the insight! I was thinking about starting to participate on tumblr...but it scares me. haha
25th-Oct-2013 05:22 am (UTC)
It's scary!! You just have to be careful who you follow. If you don't what crap on your dash either don't follow or "ignore" someone who'd posting stuff you don't want to see. There is a way of filtering posts also.

It's full of pretty most of the time though. :)
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