Once, not so very long ago, whenever parents in the United States would look into their offspring’s rooms and find them glued to the computer, they would most likely be a) on Facebook, b) playing a video game, or c) chatting with friends. Particularly the first one, as Facebook continues to be a time hole—so many users are losing time over it that schools and universities have forcibly blocked access to the popular social network.
Facebook may still hold the attention of a lot of the age group that goes from from teens to twenties, and is consistently trying to do even more to keep their attention (apparently Facebook has even started a VoIP service to make it even easier for people to connect over the internet), but it is no longer king. Shocking, yes, but another website has taken the crown of Website That’s Got Young People Addicted. And no, it’s not Twitter.
Tumblr: David Karp’s Kingdom
When Tumblr first began, founded by CEO David Karp, it was seen by a lot of social media veterans as a form of Twitter, except with no word-limit on text posts, and a lot of images. But there’s more to the now 20-billion-pageview per month website than just “reblogging”:
And true, there are a lot of images going around Tumblr that come from sources all over the web, posted by its users. In a standard Tumblr “dashboard” (the user’s front page or feed), there are often thousands of images from various blogs that a user may be following. We’re not talking merely Instagrammed photographs (although there are many, which Tumblr users sneeringly refer to as “hipster-filtered”) such as what you do see in Twitter—these images can range from truly artistic photographs to animated gifs that users frequently procure in order to respond to posts. It’s become a badge of pride, the fact that the Tumblr environment accepts usage of animated gifs, compared by its host of Harry Potter fans to portraits in the wizarding world, since they have “moving photos”.
I mentioned Harry Potter. This is one of the major fandoms within the website, and the website itself holds home to hundreds of various fandoms that follow each other’s blogs and reblog related content almost exclusively for many. The Tumblr environment allows you to follow the “tags”, which help you find things you are interested in and reblog content or follow other blogs that do the same. Each fandom in Tumblr has become something of a hivemind, with the massive fandoms creating some real-world shockwaves, especially in media. More than once has a Tumblr fandom compelled its many anonymous users to show support for an online cause and pushed it to its goal.
The thing that makes Tumblr most attractive, however, is that the people here don’t want to be found. Tumblr has become a ground for people who might just want to keep track of a small circle of friends. Identities can be hidden via multiple blogs and users can switch usernames at will (providing what name they want is still available).,You can keep your blog posts away from the world at large, which isn’t something you can really do in Facebook, which broadcasts everything about you.
Tumblr continues to grow strong, a breeding ground for artists, thinkers, hobbyists, and young people who just want to see more of their interests, scrolling by day after day.