Social Media

Finding Joy in Tumblr

Social media can be vicious and a lot to wade through. Between political posts on Facebook, animal face filters on Snapchat, and arguments with strangers on Twitter, it’s hard to find a break. Personally, my social media refuge is Tumblr.

I (re)started over on Tumblr over a year ago, with a fresh blog that I swore would only contain images and quotes that truly made me happy or inspired, or that sparked something in me. I highly recommend setting similar “boundaries” for your own blog. Not necessarily hard and fast rules, but at least a theme. (And if you find yourself with a multitude of themes you want to dive into, there’s always the option to add blogs to your main account,)

What makes Tumblr a haven for me? First of all, it’s easy to choose blogs to follow (and unfollow as needed) without the drama of “how many followers do I have.” Yes, there are certain sects of the site that are heavy on this topic, but you don’t have to be. Even I follow some of these people, but it’s easy to scroll past their networking posts.

The second reason I love Tumblr is because of the lack of hate. I am by no means saying it doesn’t exist, but if you choose the right blogs, you can avoid negativity. I’d say that 98% of the text/asks posts I see on Tumblr are positive, generally quotes or notes of encouragement. So far, the only hate I’ve seen are on fitness blogs, but the bloggers themselves are great at staying positive and letting insults roll off their back.

Third, it’s incredibly relaxing to scroll through and find images to reblog. I love being on the couch with my tablet or laptop, looking at pictures, videos, and text posts. It can be thought-provoking, or it can be inspiring, or happiness inducing. Again, you have the ability to choose what you want to see on your dashboard. While this is true for all social media, it feels especially true on Tumblr. (Ex. on Twitter, I follow people whose tweets I enjoy, but sometimes certain topics they’re passionate about just make me mad. On Tumblr, people tend to blog in themes, making it less likely I’ll stumble into rage.)

Finally, my all time favorite part of Tumblr is the visual representation of the self you create. It’s like constantly adding art to a museum of images you love, and then letting the world visit that museum. As the curator, the visitors get a glimpse of what inspires you, what speaks to you, but even then, it’s just a layer. You know why that picture of the girl lying in bed called your name; your anonymous museum visitors can’t get to that layer of you.

Ultimately, that’s the beauty of Tumblr for me–the creativity and personal discovery that becomes possible. It can be so much more than a roll of pictures and quotes, videos and gifs.

Recently, I opened up my older Tumblr (from a few years ago) in archive mode, and just started scrolling. The aesthetic wasn’t entirely different, but there were distinct changes in what I reblogged and even the frequency. The dominant color was pink, whereas the dominant color in my current Tumblr is probably closest to white/cream. It was fascinating to see which pictures I had chosen to add to my Tumblr, what represented how I was feeling or what I wanted in life. It was only three years ago, but it felt like I was looking at the blog of a person I no longer knew. I’ve grown since then, and my tastes have changed. Yet those archive posts are like a snapshot of that young woman, and I can go back and rediscover her at any time.

Like any platform, Tumblr has its pros and cons. With the right tweaks, however, it can be a creative sanctuary and a comforting place to paint a picture of yourself.

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