Creating Communities on Tumblr


The Smithsonian Institution, Fan Studies Network

Skill Set

Photoshop, Prezi, social media, media studies, public speaking, graphic creation


2014 - 2015

As a social media network, Tumblr provides users with the opportunity to post, reblog, and like text posts, photos, videos, and gifs. Tumblr's focus on multimedia allows for more longevity than Snapchat and more visual impact than Twitter. Tumblr has a younger audience than Twitter and Facebook and has attracted a highly engaged fandom audience that follows and discusses their favorite media properties. Users’ high engagement makes Tumblr an ideal platform for cultural institutions to spread knowledge about their collections.

Focusing on the fandom side of Tumblr, I spoke at the 2014 Fan Studies Conference at Regents University in London, England. I explored how media corporations integrate themselves into fannish online spaces. I specifically looked at the official Tumblrs of the popular television shows Teen Wolf (MTV), Doctor Who (BBC), and Hannibal (NBC).

In my presentation, I broke Tumblr actions down to posting, reblogging and liking. These actions are not inherently fannish (as evidenced by the plethora of non-fandom Tumblrs), but each action can be used to promote fannish content like shipping, live blogging, fandom memes, and presenting tags as metadata. The conference provided a great opportunity to share ideas and connect with other fan studies academics. The full presentation Prezi can be found here.

Due to my knowledge of Tumblr, I was asked to present an introductory course to Smithsonian Gardens, Smithsonian Facilities, and the Smithsonian Web Group to familiarize employees with the service. My presentation demystified Tumblr and showed how cultural institutions might use it to connect with their audiences. The full presentation Prezi can be found here.

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