Midterm Project Update: TUBMLR & PINTEREST – Online Curation and Relevant Issues

Alejandro Hincapie

For my semester project, I want to examine sites like Tumblr and Pinterest where users aggregate or “curate” found material from around the web in the space of their own profiles. Specifically, I want to explore how the popularity of these sites are informed by the ideas we’ve discussed class, such as self-representation, the effect of images have on crafting identity, and the power of the publicity image to dictate and play to consumer’s desires.

Examples of Tumblr blogs and Pinterest profiles of relevance to this project are:



In my research so far, I have found a number of articles critically examining the phenomenon that are these websites. They range from scholarly texts framing these sites in  issues of gender representation, to journalistic features that explore people’s motivations for aggregating content on said websites. One text even discusses the potential for Pinterest to be used in design education, allowing this project to perhaps take  on a broader focus. Class readings by John Berger, Marita Sturken, and Lisa Cartwright about the power of imagery will be use in tandem with these sources.

I plan on using the range of insight available in these texts to form questions that I will directly ask Tumblr and Pinterest users. These questions will address users ultimate intentions for using Tumblr and Pinterest as they relate to specific ideas of the power of publicity, self-representation, and idenity through imagery Some quiestions may include:

Do you think the images you’ve compiled in your profile are essentially the advertisement images that have “worked” on you?

 How much do societal pressures about the qualities that constitute your identity influence the media you curate on your blog / profile?

Is your blog / profile an arena for you to go agaisnt those pressures and expectations? 

The final form my project will take will be a slideshow presenting the blogs and profiles of users interviewed with their most interesting quotes informing the images, as well as relevant insight from the researched texts.


Johanna Blakley, “Media in Our Image.”  Women’s Studies Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 1/2, VIRAL (SPRING/SUMMER 2012) , pp. 341-350. The Feminist Press at the City University of New York. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23333465

Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. London: British Broadcasting Corp., 1973. Video.

Bergen, John.  “Chapter 7,” in Ways of Seeing. (London: Penguin Books, 1972.) 129-135.

Chocano, “Carina. Pinterest, Tumblr, and the Trouble With ‘Curation’.” The New York Times, Magazine edition July 20, 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/magazine/pinterest-tumblr-and-the-trouble-with-curation.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (accessed March 15, 2014).

Davies, Russells. “The rise of curation platforms has great potential for brands.” Brand Republic.  February 16, 2012. http://www.brandrepublic.com/opinion/1117290/

Meltzer, Marisa. 2010. “The Curated Web.” American Prospect 21, no. 3: 43-45. OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost . https://login.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/login?url=

http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ofm&AN=511007297&site=eds-live (accessed March 15, 2014).

Sturken, Marita and Lisa Cartwright. “Viewers Make Meaning,” in Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 45-71.

Sturken, Marita and Lisa Cartwright. “Practices of Looking: Images, Power, and Politics,” in Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 10-43.


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