Tumblr revisited

I wrote a post about using Tumblr some time ago, and I thought I would check back in about how that’s going.

In one word, well! There are quite a few writers, journals and online literary magazines on Tumblr, posting interesting snippets of their work, along with book reviews, pictures of books (so many pictures of books) and thoughtful quotes.I also follow two tumblrs centred around women in history, and a few from people posting nice landscapes, hiking and camping, and art:

(Marie Bottineau-Baldwin via Cool Chicks From History)

(Image by Brice Portolano via Fuck Yeah, Hiking! )

(Hardanger Retreat via Juwlzzz)

(image by Neyagi via Bookpaperscissors)


There is also quite an active contingent of the American ‘Alt lit’ community, whose work is hard to quantify, other than it uses multi-media aspects is often self-published, and tends to be quite droll and/or full of ennui. I think of Russian writers of the late nineteenth century, stripped back, more explicit, and with an affection for Gchat and consumables of all kinds. I’ve already talked about Gabby Gabby (another poem of hers here).


I’d like to have a bit more of a conversation with some of these writers, but the downside of Tumblr (as compared to, say, twitter) is that the arrangement really only allows for 1.one person posting 2. second person ‘liking’ this post, possibly reblogging it to express their appreciation. You can send messages or ‘ask’ the person something, but not everyone responds to questions, preferring it seems to let their posts speak for them.


I could see why it would be quite an investment of effort and time to get into Tumblr – unless you are posting purely your own work, like Chris J. Rice, some time is, and must be spent in searching out interesting things to share, unless you’d rather take a solely observational role.


For me, I find it an odd mixture of soothing and stressing; like being in an art gallery whose walls are constantly rotating content, and there are a few unspoken rules on how to respond to the – performance? Game? Institution? – which I am still picking up on. It is just another community/space on the internet, but a little more self-selective than most – so that whenever I go over there, I am placed, for better or worse, in an active, curatorial role. I’ll keep at it for now, and hope that it keeps drawing me towards other writers, other intriguing rooms in the gallery.



Filed under 2012, art, experimental fiction

9 responses to “Tumblr revisited

  1. CJ

    Very good description of the gallery world of Tumblr. When I began posting in November I was so thrilled with the visual display that the feedback limitations seemed truly secondary. Now I wish for more direct feedback loops. We’ll see what happens over the next year. For now I find it an exciting arena a place where writers are actually developing projects. One of interest to me is mydeadparents–a Brooklyn fiction writer exploring her deceased parents lives in prose and pictures.

    And then there are the beautiful pictures from Oh Pioneer.

    • Yes, Oh Pioneer, how could I have forgotten them? I will check out mydeadparents right away, too.

      You are right, Tumblr is still evolving, and is a place of evolution.

  2. First I have to thank you, Helen, for laying out what you like about Tumblr. I’ve had a hard time wrapping my head around it. Though I also can’t quite get into Twitter either, and my Facebook page serves more as a placeholder than anything else.

    I feel like there are so many online places to spend my time — meaning, rabbit holes to go down other that writing my book — that I have to limit myself, lest I never get any real work done. Which of course says way more about me, and my personal limitations, than the technology.

    • Yes, twitter is one of those things that has been helpful for me, but sometimes sets me on edge – too much too much, if you know what I mean. Balance is so hard, isn’t it? I feel like this will be an issue that increases in importance as we communicate more and more online.

      I’ve been using facebook since it came over to my university, in 2004 – early days. It’s how I keep in touch with many of my friends and some family members, though some of them probably have hidden my feed, due to the amount of links I post to here (I have an auto-blog alert setting).

      • I forgot to say how much I love these photos —- I always love the photos here. It’s like getting a writing prompt in images. So I thank you.

        I absolutely see Facebook as a great advantage in many ways, particularly when you live far from your family and/or friends. Confession: I don’t know my father (he left when I was a baby), but his current wife “friended” me and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scoured her photos. I see him through her prism, see the porch he built for her, for their family, see pictures of his siblings (my aunts, uncles) and scan their faces. So see, I have my own issues.

  3. Teri, I’m sorry Facebook is so fraught for you – just seems that technology is completely how we use it, or how it uses us.

  4. Interesting, haven’t tried this one yet. But time! I feel mine is already so eaten into. I don’t even Twitter, I’m not giving up piano to spend more time out there. It seems the old boring and repetitive pursuits have been replaced by this jostling. Makes me want to practise scales just because it serves absolutely no purpose.

    • Twitter is a strange one to get to grips with, I think. I have made a few nice connections on there. I sort of want a hybrid between the two.

      I alas have no piano skills to lose.

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