Tumblr Teens


If my parents ever found out what I did on tumblr I think I’d be forced to go to therapy. It’s a relatively quick-witted comment with some significantly dark undertones, especially coming from an adolescent. I remember recently coming across this particular quote on my Tumblr dashboard while endlessly scrolling down the posts contributed by those I followed. Through a few clicks I managed to track down the original source blog for this post and found its owner to be none other than “Rawring Popcorn.” What really interested me more about this post after reading the first few chapters of Danah Boyd’s It’s Complicated was the 1,356 notes this post procured in just a matter of days. The very last reblogger for this post, user name jul221b also added a comment, “I think this applies to all of us” which signals back at Boyd’s argument that adult surveillance “shapes teens’ understanding of––and experience with––privacy.” (74) A majority of teens on Tumblr seem to find refuge and sanctuary on this microblogging platform and create together a social networking community that includes sub-communities within it. These Tumblr teens have found their way to assert agency in achieving privacy.

However, it is undeniable that a popularized quote like this suggests that these teen users still feel undermined and almost threatened by the ominous presence of the adult parental figure on Tumblr. They choose to post with the acknowledgement that they are risking to be exposed. Some users agree with this post half laughing while others, who utilize Tumblr as their safe haven for advice and emotional expression take the notion much more seriously. Along with this post is attached some tags that include, fanfiction tumblr phanfiction phan shevine ianthony superhusbands shoey smut gay im going to hell destiel johnlock. Not being an avid follower of this particular blog, I’m really not sure what half these tags are referring to. However, when Googling this post, the results I find include a majority of Tumblr blogs dedicated towards troubled teens whether it related to dealing with sexuality, body image, or even abortion. It is disheartening to hear that there are teen users out there who would rather trust a fellow Tumblr user who they’ve never met about such personal issues than their own parents, but its definitely something I empathize with.

Although I am not as “addicted” to Tumblr as I had used to be, I still understand the ever shifting communities that exist on this platform. Personally if my parents found out about my Tumblr, I wouldn’t be too concerned about it besides a few questionable re-posts. Unlike some teenage users, I utilize my Tumblr more as a mood board for my design work rather than a very personal diary. However, I think this particular quote is definitely a loaded statement that speaks for a number of teen users, specifically, 1,356 and perhaps even more.

One thought on “Tumblr Teens

  1. mbmistler

    I used to have a tumblr that I would mainly use for interacting with friends that had similar music tastes. Some of these friends I made online, but a lot I also knew in person. I understand the attraction of tumblr and why so many teens use it, although it is interesting to see how youth’s personal expression has evolved over time. Like you mentioned, a lot of people use tumblr as an outlet for their personal diary, but unlike actual diaries, which are private, these are obviously online and public. Of course, identity can be hidden on tumblr and other sites like these, I find it interesting that there is something in the human condition that wants our deepest, darkest secrets to be heard.

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