SCROLLING ALONG: How I learned to stop worrying and love Tumblr

 

 

At the Under the Influence Symposium back in late February, Michael Meredith of MOS discussed his love for Tumblr and, more specifically, the endless, scrolling interface of most of its sites.

 

While I’m tired of hearing about technology’s role in the ever-shrinking attention span—hold on, I need to check Instagram—I can’t help but think about Tumblr’s role in the rapid-consumption of architecture as pure image. A few years ago sites like DesignBoom, Dezeen and ArchDaily were seen as the death knell of a certain type of critical discourse in architecture. Now, by comparison to Tumblr and its ilk, those sites seems like in-depth journalism. This newest batch of blogs often lacks even the most basic details about the images on display, one obtains that information through a click that links to the original source (or increasingly, the re-blog of the original source, or the re-blogged re-blog of the original source). To that end, it is interesting that many of these sites distinguish themselves by mining the archive and presenting obscure content that would otherwise exist only in library annexes (and archived Geocities websites). While some might decry the shift to pure image as superficial or reductive, I would argue that its not that we don’t want depth any more, its that we spend a little more time navigating the breadth.

 

My homepage is set to Every Reform Movement has a Lunatic Fringe, so I’m not bemoaning this shift, just noticing it. And after fretting about my scrolling-addiction, I think I’ve come to terms with it.

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