Typically when someone signs up for a new social media account, they don’t do a lot of research while doing it. They have heard of their friends and peers using a site and want to be a part of the connectivity. Me on the other hand, created a Tumblr account solely for the purpose of research for my assignment. While I did enjoy what I was doing on the site, I treated my “new comer” experience like a critic. I examined the site, found research by real site critics, Tumblr itself and through in class reading assignments and scholarly articles. My comparisons of Tumblr and the research I found on it is projected below.
The first comparison I thought about was the reading I did for my COMM 335 class written by José Van Dijck & Thomas Poell, “Understanding Media Logic”. When they break down what Media Logic is and talk about the strategies that make up mass media they mention,
“the tendency of mass media is to present themselves as neutral platforms that fairly represent different public voices and opinions, whereas in fact they operate as filters through which some people get more exposure than others.” (Van Dijck & Poell 2013)
I do believe this statement is true for Tumblr, on the home page made up of my specific interests and on the trending page of all Tumblr posts. The things that are the most reblogged and most liked are what you see at the top of your feed. Although it is the users making things popular, it is still shown at the beginning of your home or trending tab, which is exactly how Van Dijck & Poell describe it.
Another comparison from research to the Tumblr site comes from a scholarly article written by two pediatricians, that focuses around the thoughts of children and social media site and whether or not they should be monitored or allowed to use them at all. The reason I chose to use this article was because of the “complaints” that the site receives about explicit content and foul language.
They mention in their article that a recent poll found that over 22% of teenagers log into their favorite social media sites more than 10 times a day and that over half of adolescents log in at least once a day. (O’Keeffe, Clarke-Pearson, 2011) My thoughts on this is that for the 22% of teens that log on 10 or more times within a day, the parents are likely not around for each of those log ins. Also, many parents may not be around when the half of adolescents log in even once a day.
This leads to my agreement with the authors of “The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families”, that teens and adolescents should not have as much access to social media as some are allowed. A site like Tumblr should not be responsible if a 13 year old sees a sexually explicit gif on their site. It should be the responsibility of the parent to monitor or not allow their child on certain sites.
Although I believe that younger people need to be monitored on social media, including Tumblr, I can understand the attraction to the site. “It (Tumblr) is reported to be the most popular social site among young generation, as half of Tumblr’s visitor are under 25 years old.” (Chang, Insgaki, Liu & Tang, 2014) This grouping of young people can be a big attraction for those under 18. They look up to older siblings and friends and want to be a part of the next “big thing”.