Junior blogger embraces online community

November 3, 2014 — by Helen Chen and Spring Ma

Scrolling through endless gifs of TV scenes and pictures of nature encompassed by the dark “Tumblr” blue background, junior Claire Leung reblogs post after post.

Scrolling through endless gifs of TV scenes and pictures of nature encompassed by the dark “Tumblr” blue background, junior Claire Leung reblogs post after post, a process that has quickly become a daily routine. Under the handle “emotions-bye,” Leung receives around 2,000 notes per day on her posts.

“I can spend anywhere from minutes to hours on end [on Tumblr],” Leung said. “It’s come to the point where I’ve gotten faster at hitting reblog and learned all the keyboard shortcuts.”

As Leung updates content on her blog, these posts show up on thousands of users’ dashboards. Leung has gained more than 14,400 followers in about five years.

Upon opening Leung’s blog, viewers see a simplistic white background behind two columns of cute, funny and relatable photos and gifs. A music player and header read “forever yours,” and a sidebar lines the edge of the window, which portrays a picture and introduction of herself.

While Leung describes her blog as “personal,” meaning that  her content draws from all blog types depending on her mood, she believes her blog would also fall “hipster continent.”

Throughout her time on Tumblr, Leung has gone through various types of content, posting portrait nature photos, black and white gifs of celebrities and food photosets.

“I’ve gone through phases like ‘hipster,’ ‘photography’ and ‘quality,’” Leung said. “At the end, I think personal is the best [description of my blog], because it’s more fun this way, and I don’t feel obligated to post any specific content.”

Leung created her blog after a friend introduced her to Tumblr in eighth grade. She was able to publicize her site by connecting with bloggers through Tumblr networks, groups in which users promote each other to help gain viewers.

The biggest network Leung is a part of is “Wallflowers,” through which many of her followers found her. Leung believes the administrators of the network chose the name because it alludes to “shy or unnoticed” people as in the book “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky. Leung said the network’s name is meant to contrast with the Internet presence and popularity of the bloggers in the network as all members have over 10,000 followers.

With constant updates, Leung is “recognizable” as she regularly shows up on her followers’ dashboards.

To Leung, these updates on her blog are a means of self-expression. Tumblr provides a forum of creativity through a variety of mediums, such as music and gifs, allowing her to indirectly engage with other users.

“It's so much more than a blog where you only write about your day,” Leung said. “Tumblr is not just about you as an individual; it is a community. It is an outlet for me [that] allows me to relate to others through pictures or text posts.”

As users like and reblog posts, these posts gain notes, which represent their popularity as they circulate throughout Tumblr. Leung’s most popular post is a text post that reads “Tbh [to be honest] the only reason I know how to read a clock is so I can figure out when we get out of class,” which is backed by over 255,000 notes.

“I think people liked this post because people can sympathize with it,” Leung said. “I’m pretty sure everyone has experienced this feeling before.”.

Despite her popularity, Leung values Tumblr beyond the notes she receives and the posts she likes. The Tumblr community has allowed her to connect with others and discover herself.

“Nobody knows each other in person, but they give you all this support and love,” Leung said. “It's also given me a chance to meet a lot of new people who share the same interests as me.”