Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

Thinking in Tumblr

My first blog was a Tumblr, A Bit Late, which I started in June 2009. I picked Tumblr because the New York Times told me it had the nicest templates, and I proceeded to go about using it all wrong. It was weeks before a friend suggested I include photos on my posts. I wrote at length. I never used tags. I completely failed to comprehend what Tumblr was good for. As I’ve said before, I’m a Late Adopter.

But midway through last year, when I started blogging for Design Observer, I had a Tumblr epiphany. I began following more of what people call “single-serving Tumblrs”: 1950s ephemera (heavy on glamor), Scandinavian home design, brutalism, architecture everything. What was I supposed to be doing on Tumblr? Admiring the images, and reacting. I was supposed to like every Paul Rudolph and Kevin Roche building that filtered across my dashboard. I was supposed to reblog Jane Austen board games, Almanzo Wilder’s homestead application, Mies’s Resor House drawing. Below each image I just said what I felt, in two sentences or less. It was the equivalent of Twitter criticism. My Tumblr is far from single-serving, but it has now become a visual map of my interests, notes on my enthusiasms, in a less self-conscious (and less articulate) way than this blog. There’s something so pleasant about seeing wonderful things, new things and old things, with so little effort.