Forgive me, dear readers, if I take the opportunity and exploit the heightened awareness of Guylty’s presence on WordPress to bring you a non-RA-related post. FanstRA has been great in bringing the A___ fandom together, I think. I have heard from good authority that this year’s web fan event brought a lot more tumblr-bloggers into the fold than before. While heightening the awareness for different blogging platforms, this also proved to pose some problems for the participants in FanstRA as the conventional blogworld and the tumblr universe are different in a number of ways. On a practical level that kept some conventional bloggers from commenting on tumblr-blogs – and possibly vice versa.
My first home in the A___ fan world was a tumblr blog and over the 11 months of my more or less public participation in the fandom I have come to understand the pros and cons of the various platforms that are being used for communication in the fandom. I have a presence on most of the platforms – I am on tumblr at guylty.tumblr.com. There is my wordpress presence at guylty.wordpress.com, and I also have a dedicated RA twitter @GuyltyPleasure. I am active daily on my tumblr account. My wordpress blog has only been activated temprarily for my stint during FanstRA. You will usually find me with a weekly post on the fabulous me+richard, where I publish an *ooof* a week. Twitter is largely lying idle – just like Richard “I simply don’t get it”. (I do, of course, also do Facebook. And in all honesty that is my preferred channel of communication. However, as Facebook insists on real names, I am not using my account there for much RA-ing. My friends would probably unfriend me if I did.)
Now, the reason I am so shamelessly plugging myself here is to make you see that I am fairly familiar with the three platforms most commonly used by RA fans. Before I joined tumblr, I was firmly ensconced in the world of conventional blogs. (I still am as I blog for a living in various genres spanning topics from photography (of course!), travel, crafting and interior design, to expat life.)
However, I quickly found that tumblr was the right platform for visual people: tumblr is designed for easy re-blogging of content. It has extra-easy, intuitive settings for sharing photos, links, videos and text, and most importantly, also enables gif-sharing. Posts on tumblr are generally public – for members and non-members – while also offering private settings, if needed. Tumblr also relies heavily on tagging – all posts can be tagged with the appropriate keywords to enable quick and easy search for
saucy pictures of RA the relevant material.
However, for me as a very wordy, and text-loving person, tumblr also has a downside. Commenting is not particularly clear and communication friendly. First of all, commenting is only open to those who have an account on tumblr. If you have one of those and you want to add your two cents’ worth on someone else’s post, you do so mainly by re-blogging the other person’s post and writing your comment underneath.
Previous comments will be marked so that a chronology of commments is visible. However, this is not really conducive to proper exchange, as the constantly re-blogged content shows up on your public tumblr site and looks like a constant rehashing of the same picture over and over again. Some content can be commented on via a little speech bubble icon. Again, this is only open to tumblr members and it only gives you limited character space. Private messaging is also possible, but tumblr has a very annoying habit of not saving outgoing messages – so you can’t go back to read over what you have written before. With all that in mind you can see how tumblr is perfect for visual communication – sharing beautiful pictures and gifs of RA. That is what goes on mostly in the RArmy on tumblr. It is fast-paced and news get spread very quickly, similar to Twitter.
For those who are looking for a more text-reliant way of communicating, conventional blogs on portals such as WordPress or Blogger are the go-to place. While it is not as quick and easy to draft and publish a post on those platforms as it is with tumblr’s two-clicks , they are the places where you can start interacting more extensively. The commenting that is enabled on blogs is much more conducive to proper exchange, as different strands of a discussion will be separated while still open for everyone to read and to butt into. However, you do not see your reach quite as easily as on tumblr, where posts are clearly labelled with the amount of “likes” and “re-blogs” they have collected. And your readers do not necessarily cross the threshold from passive lurking into active participation (by liking or commenting) as easily as on tumblr. Chances are your blog posts are seen and appreciated by many more people than the number of comments. (The stats give you a little insight.) But blogs are much more personal than the fast-moving and slightly more anonymous tumblr, where you pick up “followers” (people who have signed up to receive your original posts and your re-blogs) at
a posting of a juicy RA peaches pic the drop of a hat.
By and large it could be said that tumblr is where the “young lot” is. I regularly “tumble” with A___ fans who are teenagers. The average age is probably under 30. And yes – as a self-confessed “cryptkeeper” (credit to Abby of playazindaback.tumblr.com for coining this lovely moniker) I sometimes feel slightly out of place. But then it also makes me feel young and “up-to-date” to be mingling there… The blog world, however, holds much attraction for a rambler like me, especially as this is the appropriate place for extensive interaction. That is why I was more than happy to follow Servetus when she approached me in October 2012 and suggested a collaboration. The decision to post my *ooof*s on her platform has been the best I could’ve made and I will be eternally grateful to her. I would be stubborn enough to post my *ooof*s on tumblr for*ever*, whether they were appreciated or not, but (for me) the point of *any* creative endeavour is to add knowledge to something, to entertain and especially to initiate discussion. I like people, I like being personal, and I like getting a glimpse into other people’s minds. But I also like the quick satisfaction of ogling, and so I will remain a wanderer between the two worlds of tumblr and conventional blogs. They do not exclude each other but complement each other. And ultimately they work together to spread the word about the wonderful foil that is Mr A, his craft and – admittedly – his beautiful form.
This post was actually suggested to me by Nat of Armitagefanblog. Thank you, Nat, for getting in touch with me – I hope I have been able to shed some light on the mysteries of tumblr. Give it a go – you can always sign up and then just leave it lying idle 😉