Tumblr: A Platform for Self-Representation and Engagement with Social Realities

Alejandro Hincapie

I began my semester project by wanting to take media aggregating sites like Tumblr and Pinterest and look for connections that could be made between them and our extensive course readings. I immediately thought that notions of self-representation, the role of imagery in crafting identity, and the power of the publicity image would be viable topics to synthesis with Tumblr and Pinterest.

Th initial plan was to interview Tumblr and Pinterest users in order to gain a better understanding of people’s experiences with these sites.  Images of their profiles would be featured in a slide show that would be informed with insightful quotes provided both by interviewees and course readings. As I conversed with various Tumblr and Pinterest users, it became clear that a slide show would not be a viable route for this project because I was being provided  by my interviewees with really great commentary of considerable length . I decided that an essay with images would be a better, less-complicated way to present my findings.

Ultimately, I decided to focus solely on Tumblr because it was the Tumblr users that were providing me with the most interesting insights about their experiences that I could better synthesize with course readings. The end result is a brief, but succinct look at this topic.







You can view and download my full paper here.


 “About.” Tumblr.com. http://www.tumblr.com/about (Accessed April 20, 2014)

Blakley, Johanna. “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).

“Dance, Sex, Art, Pop.” Tumblr. http://dancesexxxartpop.tumblr.com/. (Accessed throughout March – April 2014).

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

Douglas, Susan Jeanne. “Introduction,” in Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female in with the Mass Media. (New York: Times Books, 1994).

Flint, Joe. “FCC media ownership survey reveals lacks of diversity.” Los Angeles Times. Published November 12, 2014. Web. http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/14/entertainment/la-et-ct-fcc-diversity-20121114.

“Fuck Yeah, David Agbodji.” Tumblr. http://fuckyeahdavidagbodji.tumblr.com/ (Accessed throughout March – April 2014).

G.F. “What is Tumblr?” The Economist. Online Edition. May 20, 2013. http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/05/economist-explains-what-tumblr-yahoo (Accessed April 16, 2014).

“I Am Selectric.” Tumblr. http://iamselectric.tumblr.com/ (Accessed throughout March – April 2014).

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).

Personal Interviews with Select Tumblr Users. Rutgers University, conducted March through Aprul 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,” inPractices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 10-43.


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