I’m Janelle, the managing editor of the Hyperallergic LABS tumblelog. For the un-initiated, “tumblelog” is the name for a blog hosted on the free platform Tumblr, which utilizes a fairly simple interface for short-form posts. Images are often the most popular posts on Tumblr, but text audio, and video formats are also very easily posted. On Hyperallergic LABS, our posts usually follow a weekly theme, mixed in with blog posts from Hyperallergic. Here’s a quick introduction to what LABS is all about and how Tumblr works.
You don’t even need to sign up for Tumblr to view LABS — you can read and comment on our tumblelog itself without having your own Tumblr account. Still, most people read Tumblr posts on their dashboards, the Tumblr homepage. The dashboard serves as a chronological aggregate of all the tumblelogs your account follows, like an RSS feed reader just for tumblelogs, or a Twitter with images and video added in.
Each week on Tumblr, we explore a new theme through art. Sometimes the theme relates to current events, like last week’s Tunisia & North Africa theme, which included works like Néjib Belkhodja’s “Medina” (2006). Sometimes the theme will be related to a specific timely holiday, like Jesus Week for Christmas. Sometimes the theme is something more general, regarding a physical material, like paper or plastic, or something descriptive of works’ content or messages. This week’s theme, seeing as Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, is Romance. Be sure to stop by for the love.
Works featured range from the very familiar to the new, and vary across eras and practices. We also feature special image-based art projects on our LABS tumblr, including James Gilbert’s “Privacy is Dead Because We Said So 2.0” piece that was included in #TheSocialGraph exhibition. Gilbert created plastic underpants that were available free for the taking during the exhibition, but takers had to submit pictures of themselves with their underpants to Hyperallergic LABS.
We’re also starting a new feature called “Talk Back Tuesdays” where followers and readers are encouraged to submit their own images and comment on others’ submissions in order to foster conversations about art. Conversations happen on Tumblr either by replying to posts with built in question fields or reblogging (AKA re-posting) posts to their own tumblelogs and adding commentary. There’s also the simple function of liking a post, done by clicking on the heart symbol at the top of each post, much like Facebook’s “Like” button.
The number of people following us on Tumblr has been steadily growing over the past year — we’re now at over 8,200 followers. We’re exploring the ins and outs of building a community on Tumblr, and would love your input on what to include. Do you have work available digitally that you’d like to share? Do you want to start a conversation about a work? Do you just like having pretty/fun/interesting stuff to look at? Join us!
PS: According to the Ann Taylor-sponsored On Tumblr, Hyperallergic LABS is the #1 most popular of “Popular” tumblelogs! How we were chosen and what this means we have no idea, but yay!