For my genre study for #teachread I used Tumblr as my platform to explore The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This somehow made my relationship with the book a bit more intimate and special. Had I just read the book and decided to only keep the text in mind and merely write out my analyses on a sheet of paper, I probably would not have been even close to artistically expressing my reactions to the book like I did on Tumblr. Though I have been using Tumblr for my personal blog as a musician, it is not my main social media platform, so I have never explored Tumblr thoroughly before I did my genre study. Through exploring my YA novel, I was able to learn more about the Tumblr blogging experience.
Like Twitter, Tumblr uses the # hashtag function and so just by searching the hashtag of my YA novel, I was able to access thousands and thousands of posts by others who posted something about the book. I was fascinated to find so many fan-made images of various Charlie quotes from the book. It was interesting to see that there were a lot more of these visual representations that included actual text from the book than clips and snapshots from the screen adaptation. Most, if not all, of these posts were posted by adolescents that really enjoyed the book and were deeply touched and influenced by Charlie’s words.
I was excited to see that for some of my posts, I received many “notes” in which people either liked or reblogged my post. Knowing this, I became more cautious with what I posted; having an audience made me put much more effort and thought into what I was writing. However, I was disappointed to realize that almost everybody who reblogged my post only included the picture file of my post and none of the text. Tumblr gives you the option to delete or even edit the text of the original post. Even though Tumblr tracks where posts were reblogged from, I feel that this manipulative option takes away the original intent of the creation of the post.
Other than the reblogging option, I feel that Tumblr is a very visual social media platform compared to other platforms such as Twitter and Facebook that are focused more on instant communication. Tumblr to me feels like an art gallery with the spotlight on picture posts that can also include text, videos, etc. With the option to change the “look and feel” of your theme of your blog, everything you present is artistically expressive. I feel that incorporating this platform to the classroom will be useful in allowing students to bring out their creative sides and have the freedom to present their reflections in multimodal ways. Through my exploration of Tumblr, I was shocked to find that a huge part of the Tumblr population was adolescents and that they included creative posts about books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower on their blogs. As more and more adolescents today use social media to express themselves and create their identity, utilizing these platforms into the English classroom will definitely help students not only become engaged with the texts being studied, but also truly enjoy the process.
Another attractive feature for students is that social media is open to the public; their posts can be seen not only by their teachers and classmates, but also by the whole world. And by presenting these posts as an art form, their ideas, reflections, reactions, and opinions are infinite. Since I know that my posts about my YA novel will remain online for thousands to freely access it as long as I leave it up there, the novel leaves a lasting impression on me, giving purpose to my interactions with it.