“Everyday I’m Tumblr-ing”: Tumblr as a Gatewatcher

I was in year nine when I made the bold decision to create a Tumblr blog. At this time, Tumblr was quite new to the social networking scene at my school, and being the ‘cool’ fifteen year old I thought I was, having an account was an absolute must. Little did I know then that my account would be alongside 420 million other users globally.

Tumblr is the perfect embodiment of a distributed network, allowing a many to many interaction whilst facilitating a free flowing form of content curation and aggregation. Users act as gatewatchers, as Axel Bruns explains they “observe the gates of a wide range of information sources for useful and relevant materials that they think should be brought to the attention of the wider community.

The following infographic explores Tumblr as a ‘gatewatcher network’ in further depth.

Tumblr & Gatewatching



13 thoughts on ““Everyday I’m Tumblr-ing”: Tumblr as a Gatewatcher

  1. I found your blog post very interesting in the way it solely concentrated on the case study of Tumblr. I also utilised this social media platform as the basis of my blog this week as not only is it a great example of gatewatching, but also plays a prime position as an aggregator of content where users have all the control. When you think about it, Tumblr wouldn’t even function without users constantly posting, reblogging, sharing and favouriting. Although we may not think about it at the time, our contributions to Tumblr are the reasons for its continuous success and that’s an immense contribution. I like the way you’ve linked your argument to what Bruns said how gatewatchers function, observing the gates of a wide range of information sources. Your infographic explained things very clearly for me. Overall your blog articulated your point successfully, well done. ☺

  2. Really good use of the hyperlinks, you have supplied the reader with lots of background info to work on and investigate further. I found your blog interesting because you used yourself as an example in the beginning to draw myself in. However that wasn’t the only thing that caught my eye, I am not a tumblr user myself yet how you write I found it really fascinating for the use in how you used ‘Gate Watchers.’ Plus the infograph really simplified the information. Good work I really enjoyed your blog.

  3. Boy was I behind the times with Tumblr, I only found out about it in my first year of uni…

    Your blog really successfully communicated the idea of gatewatchers in a way I hadn’t considered. I wonder about the ways in which Tumblr as a site tries to aggregate content on its own, particularly through the Tags system where content can be ordered according to popularity. Ultimately, the system doesn’t work as well, because it doesn’t tailor its results to the individual like your dash is set up to do. For example, if you type Pokemon into the search bar and order the results by most popular, you’ll get some of the cool fanart that you might be interested in, but you’ll also get things you weren’t looking for, from fine and dandy stuff like insightful story analysis to the not so dandy stuff like super weird and creepy pokemon porn.

    I have to keep reminding myself, that when it comes to gatewatching, not matter how well it seems to work and how many people are helping it to be achieved, there is always an element of doubt as to whether the content you’re receiving, which has been deemed valuable by the gatewatchers en masse, is the same thing you’d pick out as valuable if you could manage to sift through that impossible amount of content on your own. Maybe participation in the aggregation system, in the form of choosing which blogs to follow in this case, is only way to gain back some of that control.

    • Thank you for your insightful comment! I am glad you felt that my blog demonstrated the notion of gatewatchers in an understandable way.
      I know exactly what you mean with your pokemon example, I was obsessed with One Direction in the past and found some pretty out-there stuff made by fans.
      I also wonder whether the content we are receiving from gatewatchers is the same as the content we might find ourselves, I personally don’t think it would be but as you said it would take a very long time to sift through all that aggregated content.
      I appreciate your feedback and your thoughts on this topic!

  4. I have always found Tumblr to be very interesting, but have never really gone out of way to be an active user. Props to you having an account all the way back in Year 9, I didn’t even know what Tumblr was until Year 12, wasn’t really the ‘thing’ at my school. Very interesting blog though, I enjoyed that you solely focused on Tumblr. Your infographic is also very well made and offered some great statistic and information I was not aware of.

  5. Hi Melissa,

    I like that you have used Tumblr as an example this week, personally when I first created an account I was confused by the purpose of this platform.

    Your infographic is very informative! To me Tumblr is just a messy version of WordPress. The following link is a piece on WordPress vs Tumblr.

    Overall WordPress is more advantageous if you plan to build some sort of application out of your blog. If you plan on strictly blogging then Tumblr is also a very viable option. Keep up the great work.

  6. Surprisingly, when the civil unrest in Ferguson reached boiling point, it wasn’t Twitter or Facebook that I first heard about it, it was Tumblr. People often dismiss Tumblr as one of those ‘frontline’ social media reporting platforms, but really I would say it has the quickest method of distributing this kind of information, particularly the photos. It takes less than a second to reblog a post on Tumblr, and its capability to spread fast is so much greater than Facebook and Twitter because of that. And also the type of content that is transported. I saw much more of the bigger picture on Tumblr than any other social site, hundreds of photos of what was going on it was almost overwhelming, Tumblr, during social crises like these, tends to halt whatever regular posting is happening as people focus in on an event like this, and it will be all you see- and spreads like wildfire.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more. When I logged into Tumblr I was similarly exposed to the posts on Ferguson and found these posts much more informative than any other platform. Also, I found that news channels took far longer to report on the issue than Tumblr did (I mean, literally like a few weeks). Thanks for the comment!

  7. I like how you have related gatewatchers to the activities you had done while you’re fifteen. Your infographic on Tumblr has definitely equipped me with the information I need on this topic. However for my example, I had illustrated the recent affair that was held in Malaysia where most Msians were engaged with having a clean government and were using social media to project their ideologies.

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