Oh So Edgy! Pokémon on the Periphery

tumblr_mx6rbuB5AC1sl0lrio2_500For those of you who might be reading from outside the DIGC330 crew, Peripheral media is just as it sounds: media, or media content that is related to or situated on the edge or periphery of the main focus. In terms of media and media culture, the pertains to media sources and content that is a little left of centre stage.

Russo and Watkins (2005) argue that shifts in entertainment and cultural tourism continue to impact upon cultural sectors. Global access to mass broadcast media; cyberspace, mobile technologies, the web, increasingly play significant roles in the consumption of cultural media. While these technologically based media continue to proliferate’ experiences which resemble museums present challenges to the ways in which audiences conceptualize their experiences. So, if broadcast media and internet giants are considered mainstream then a site like Tumblr, could be considered peripheral media. It’s a technology based media sources that allows thousands of bloggers to come together on the platform to discuss, write, create, share and curate bits of media and culture, sort of like an interactive museum. In this way, Tumblr uses “immersion in technology in an abstracted way by using mediated realities as a mechanism for drawing audiences into their knowledge base” (Russo & Watkins, 2005.

Tumblr for me represents a curation and appropriation of elements of popular culture, ranging from GIFS of Kim Kardashian crying to reimagining Game of Thrones characters as Disney movie characters. Bloggers are able to take ideas/images/themes/music/twitter posts most any part of mainstream media culture, and make them their own in one way or another, whether this be in the form of a crude meme made with MS Paint or a detailed artwork drawn by hand and digitally enhanced. As you can probably imagine, Pokémon fan fiction is huge on Tumblr for this reason. Bloggers are able to share and create a certain type of Pokémon fan culture that I have not found anywhere else. While Pokemon itself can be considered a mainstream cultural phenomenon, the fan fiction and art generated on Tumblr can be considered peripheral, as much of this curation and creation happens on the edge of mainstream Pokemon media.

The post that started it all: My first encounter with Pokemon Tumblr fan art.

The post that started it all: My first encounter with Pokemon Tumblr fan art.

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Peripheral media sources give different voices to stories that may not be told in mainstream arenas. Tumblr as a peripheral media source allows for a deeper understanding  and appreciation of global issues and cultural elements as well more immersive experience in topics like Pokemon.


Russo, A., & Watkins, J. (2005). Digital Cultural Communication: Enabling new media and co-creation in Asia. International Journal of Education and Development using ICT[Online], 1(4). Available: http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=107.

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6 comments

  1. Tumblr is a great example of a peripheral media. As it has such a range of media you could find anything you were interested in, and it is great because of all the fan fiction.
    You are definitely right when you said that peripheral media sources give different voices to stories that may not be told in mainstream arenas. This is the great thing about Tumblr, along with the rest of the internet as it is where people go to further discuss and expand on the ideas that they see in the mainstream media.

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  2. Ah Tumblr, what a weird and wonderful corner of the internet. I’ve found that this social network relies on virality more than most, with original authorship deemed unimportant compared to community creation through perpetual sharing of content. It would be interesting to further investigate how Pokemon fans are using the unique features of this peripheral media, specifically if the content you have encountered is simply the creation of a smattering of stray fans, or just the surface of a fan content community. I would also be interested to hear whether examples exist of this peripheral Pokemon media influencing mainstream Pokemon media, either overtly or through the inclusion of subtle humour aimed at hardcore fans.

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  3. Some people’s creativity on that site seriously amazes me! I think part of tumblrs effectiveness is due to this creativity and the community support which people with similar interests and genres give each other. GIFS, fan fic, remixing, recreating..Its seriously endless audience involvement and content creation and it makes me upset that I am so hopeless at creating! haha I would even suggest taking a look into some of the specific blogs – some dedicated to memes, others gifs, some purely fan art and others fan fic – individuals can contribute their own work to the blogs and this is what makes the community so great!

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  4. Fan Fiction is one of the coolest things to emerge out of the digital age, as it allows users to expand the world (of Pokemon, in the context) beyond the scope it was originally designed in. I’m sure that on the inevitable day that Pokemon ceases to be created, the world of FanFic will continue to grow and evolve the Pokemon world (pardon the pun). I am reminded of the multiple “Pokemon Theories” that have emerged as an evolution of fanfic – try searching it up online when you get the chance – here’s a rather detailed creepypasta theorising “Ash’s Coma” for your perusal – http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Ash's_Coma

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  5. Tumblr is perhaps the best aggregator of peripheral media. The way it so easily allows users to jump on and curate their own page directly based on what they love, leaves the internet with their own individual footprint.

    Pinterest is another great peripheral media source. The way users interact with images, again allows them to customise their own feed based on what interests them.

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