After reading the articles about blogging in the first lecture, I started to further look at the question of who blogs?
I blog. I started a blog about my time here in Finland as a way to keep my friends and family back home updated on all of the experiences I was having while I’m here. It was easier than trying to wait for a good time to Skype with them or having to deal with the never ending wait for an e-mail back, or having to send 10 or more people the same e-mail. My grandparents read my blog, my cousins and aunts and uncles read my blog. So do my parents and people that I go to university with, some friends and some just acquaintances. I know a lot of other international students who are also blogging about their time here in Finland as an easy way of updating home that they’re here and having a wonderful experience.
I also know people who blog on blogging sites such as Tumblr. For those not familiar with Tumblr, I recommend checking it out once or twice. A lot of things from Tumblr end up on facebook, so if you don’t want to you’re still probably getting the tumblr experience. Tumblr is a blogging site where people can post pictures and text blog just like everywhere else, but they’re also able to reblog what people they follow are saying. It’s kind of a mix of Twitter and blogging. Most things that get re-blogged are gif images of funny things or the new craze of memes (I’m still not quite sure what memes really are, but they’re funny.) One of the unique features of tumblr that you can activate for your blog is an ask bar. The ask bar usually sits at the top of the blog near the persons display photo and you can ask either anonymous comments or if you have a tumblr, comments with your tumblr username attached to them.
Many of the people who I know and see using blogging sites such as Tumblr are females between the ages of 14 and 24 which is consistent with the articles we read in class. Some of the blogs are about fashion, some include bits of fashion and some make fun of fashion. Some include music reblogs or pictures of favorite bands and the like. There is even a tumblr blog that a lot of people follow and then reblog about things to do before you die. Those posts usually have a picture with writing over them saying something like: “Travel the world” with a picture of the Eiffle Tower behind it. The other thing that is posted a lot by the few Tumblr blogs of people I look at ever so often is a list of questions that the blogger wants their followers to ask them. They tell their followers to just put a number into their ask bar and they’ll answer that question. Some blog these more than others but what I do notice is that hardly anyone actually asks a question, but still there are more and more posts asking to be asked a question or two. You almost get the sense of desperation from the user.
I think this is the key to why you tend to see girls on blogs. Girls have a bigger need to feel like they fit in, hence the statement in the one article we read that stated that it was good the internet wasn’t geeky anymore. Girls especially during their teenage years have a need to fit in. They need constant reiteration that they’re just like everyone else. And the difference between boys who need that and girls who need that is that girls I feel tend to go searching for it more than boys do. I will openly admit, at 14 I wanted to fit in and just be normal and like everyone else. I didn’t want to stand out, positively or negatively, I just wanted to be like everyone else. I think it’s the societal pressures mixing with the changing hormones of teenagers for teen girls to put this into overdrive.
When looking other places, such as TV shows and movies however, I noticed that those had more males blogging than females. The males weren’t usually blogging for a personal, just because I can, way though. It was more for a professional goal, or a blog such as the blog many of the international students have. They blog about interests just for the heck of it. They blog to have somewhere to put their voice out there and to have an outlet for what they want to say. They hope someone will read it and enjoy and spread the word, but they don’t go asking for interaction on their blog like many of the teen girls on sites such as Tumblr do.
I do think that Tumblr blogging is just another fad and the girls, and boys, that are on Tumblr will grow out of it as they become more sure of themselves and of who they are. I think that Tumblr is something that in a few years, the users may look back at and say “I cannot believe I asked people to ask me a question on Tumblr! I don’t know if I would have actually answered it.” Kind of the way our generation of internet users looks back on our myspace profiles: “How many times did I really ask for picture comment for picture comment? Was I really that desperate to be told I looked nice in my photo?”
I also think that a lot of the world of blogging will start to die down. It had started to in the United States and then Tumblr came about. I think blogs will start to become more of a professional thing and that many of these users may turn to a more professional blog as they get older.
Thank you for introducing Tumbir. I’ve never heard that before. Maybe it’s prevalent in US but not Asia.
BTW, in my observation, boys also want to have certain interactions on blogs.
But as you said, they always blog professional things and so they want to have feedback in certain fields. For example, there’s always blogs by boys talking about the computer skills like how to set up a wireless network by notebook and shared with iphone/ipad, they usually expect to have some discussions on it especially for girls asking questions. =P
Some of my male friends also blog things like girls do. For example, they will post some poems or articles written by them and express their feelings about love, life, society..whatever… Some people will think they are gay, but for their friends, it’s quite normal and glad to see a boy writing such a beautiful poems or articles and let people share a slice of their thoughts. Is it common for your place? Sometimes I think it’s because Asian boys are relatively emotional…=P
Could you link to different Tumblr? Do you have favourites? Maybe you are aware of a couple that could be interesting to analyzed from a gender perspective in the course? How are gender constructed in them?
You make a good point when you relate the blogs to girlhood:
“Girls have a bigger need to feel like they fit in, hence the statement in the one article we read that stated that it was good the internet wasn’t geeky anymore. Girls especially during their teenage years have a need to fit in.”
Do you have any thoughts on why it is so? Does it apply to all girls?
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I also just posted an entry here on this blog to discuss the tumblr blog, Lipstick Feminists which I think is pretty fascinating and relates some to what you posted. I have linked your entry in it as well, Meredith, because I think it’s important.
The thing that impresses me most about tumblr is that, although you are right that there are many younger teenage girls that post a lot of these things, there is a wide variety of topics that are covered by thousands of blogs. Just by typing into the search bar, it is easy to find many positive posts about feminism (or other blogs that serve a purpose other than just self-expression).
One unfortunate thing about tumblr is that there seem to be quite a few blog posts that only further reinforce gender inequality. For example, it is incredibly easy to find a post that has a picture of a man telling a women to “go make me a sandwich” (referring to the “joke” that women should stay in the kitchen) as compared to one that discusses why this “joke” is offensive. Another unfortunate thing is that the people who run tumblr generally will not remove these offensive posts.
Overall, though, I quite enjoy blogging on tumblr because it is easy to follow the blogs that interest me and I can stay up-to-date with the things that I am passionate about. Also, I can un-follow those that are offensive or that posts things that you discussed above (e.g. the posts about answering an uninteresting, mundane question).
Good topic and discussion though! Thank you for your insight.