Yuri Chang | I hate you, but I love you
Tumbling through Tufts
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 07:10
Have you ever searched the tag “Tufts” on Tumblr? The results are a portal into the worlds of freshmen who post endearingly about experiencing their first college classes, learning the meaning of the word “recitation” and nervously auditioning for campus groups like Hype and Shir Appeal. That search will also show you the blogs of students at Tufts studying abroad in their junior years and even the alumni who decide to dedicate a post to fondly reflect on their years at their alma mater. As voyeuristic as it may sound to navigate the personal pages of your fellow yet unknown Jumbos, I can’t help but feel connected to these people in a powerful way.
Danah Boyd, author of “Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites” (2009), argues that social media is so alluring not because of the technology itself, but because of the way it connects us to other people. We do not check our Tumblr newsfeeds for the novelty of using an advanced algorithm that collects posts from separate blogs and merges them onto a single page all for our convenience. We use Tumblr and similar platforms to bring us closer to what is going on in the lives of those we care about and feel tied to.
For those of you who are not familiar with how Tumblr works, it is a micro-blogging platform where you can post images, videos, music and texts. Basically, if it is too big to tweet and too short for a substantial blog post, you would post it to your Tumblr. I use Tumblr as a means of keeping up with fashion, music and food, as well as a way of glimpsing into different people’s lives. I enjoy it because it is a visual and easy way of collecting photos as well as searching through tags.
That is not to say that Tumblr is without fault. Tumblr’s concept of liking and reposting easily buries the identities of the creative sources of content and removes the pressure of posting original work.
Essentially, one can simply download a photo and then repost it as his or her own. Some have argued that the rise of social media has led to fewer incentives for people to be creative on their own when it is much easier to go online and consume all that is readily accessible. Why bother to spend the time to sit down and try to express myself when I can just repost a series of photos that I like?
Tumblr can feel like an ambush of filtered vintage photos, of the latest celebrity playlists, of candid photographs of fashionably dressed people. Basically, these blogs become magazines of many separate topics without any of the editorial component.
But seriously, all conflicts aside, I highly recommend that you check out tumblr.com/tagged/tufts. A few days ago a fellow Jumbo had posted an animated gif of Dumbledore dancing, with a caption that read, “GUYS I MADE THE TUFTS COMPETITIVE QUIDDITCH TEAM!!!!!”
But my favorite posts by far are those of high school students who post on Tumblr about how they are anxiously waiting to receive their acceptance letters to Tufts. They remind me of how happy I was when I myself got that letter — the beginning to the journey that has ensued over these past four years. I may not know the name or recognize the face behind whoever’s Tumblr it is that I am reading, yet I connect with that stranger’s excitements and anxieties of being a Jumbo, because we’ve all been there too.
Yuri Chang is a senior majoring in international relations. She can be reached at Yuri.Chang@tufts.edu.