Recently when speaking with a group of teens from across the US, I asked them “what were some recent trends they had seen recently with teens?” In the course of the conversation we began talking about websites and one teen mentioned that when they got home from school they went right on tumblr. I thought this was random, that one teen had gotten into blogging and found tumblr as a space to do this. I thought this since I knew tumblr mainly as a blog site used by adults. In fact, I tried to start a tumblr page at one time showcasing the different restaurants I visited while traveling and provide brief reviews.
But soon about half the teens I was speaking with acknowledged they had a tumblr page or they at least knew other teens who had recently created a tumblr page. I looked into it and found out that in fact the percentage of teens using tumblr in the last year has gone up(recently it was listed at 2% recently by Pew Internet). That may not be much, but when a site goes from little to no teen use to some teen use in a short period of time and has teens talking, I see that as a website to keep an eye on and learn more about.
So what is tumblr? According to it’s website, “Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything. Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos, from your browser, phone, desktop, email, or wherever you happen to be.” So it can be blogging but it can also be sharing your life experiences. In fact when I asked teens about why and how they used tumblr, that is exactly the response I received.
One teen said , “It (tumblr) is a recollection of my past shows/music/photos/events/everything else in the form of a photo. You customize it to your own needs and put whatever you want on it. Tumblr is whatever you make it to be.” Another teens summed it up saying, ”If teens are like me, we use it to relate to other people through pictures.” The consensus of the teens I spoke with agreed that it captures their life in the form of pictures and quotes.
I am not saying that this is the next big thing or that every teen is using tumblr or will be using tumblr in the near future. But I am hearing some buzz around it lately from teens and those who work with teens. Which to me means as a youth worker, it is a site to be familiar with and understand. In fact, I encourage you to ask teens that you know or work with if they use tumblr and ask them if you can view their page.