Title: “Hey, I’m Having These Experiences”: Tumblr Use and Young People’s Queer (Dis)connections
Authors: Paul Byron, Brady Robards, Benjamin Hanckel, Son Vivienne, Brendan Churchill
Abstract: This article explores LGBTIQ+ young people’s use of Tumblr—a social media platform often associated with queer youth cultures. Drawing on data from surveys (N = 1,304) and interviews (N = 23) with LGBTIQ+ young people in Australia, we argue that existing notions of “queer community” through digital media participation do not neatly align with young people’s Tumblr practices. Our participants use Tumblr for connecting with others, yet these connections can be indirect, short term, and anonymous. Connections are often felt and practiced without directly communicating with other users, and many participants described their connections to the Tumblr platform itself as intense, pivotal to learning about genders and sexualities, and sometimes “toxic.” We suggest that Tumblr use intensities reflect many young people’s (dis)connections to queer life. Participant accounts of Tumblr use for identity, well-being, and (dis)connection practices can usefully inform health, education, and community workers engaging with LGBTIQ+ young people.