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Ups and downs of a Tumblette’s life

Canadian Jaime-Leigh Fairbrother (a.k.a jaimeleigh) is supposedly a Tumblette: young, sexy and an over-sharer.

Canadian Jaime-Leigh Fairbrother (a.k.a jaimeleigh) is supposedly a Tumblette: young, sexy and an over-sharer. The Tumblette — a vogue-ish tag for a female type who blogs on the website Tumblr — “lifecasts” with an edge.

She lives in public, fully aware embarassing personal details — shared through links, videos and texts — are archived and indexed.

On her “for the story goes” Tumblr, the Toronto-based Jaime-Leigh Fairbrother bares all daily — from a series of self-point-and-shoot photos the 20-something blond snapped for a Semi-Naked-Picture-Day, to a controversial posting that included a spreadsheet mapping her bed-hopping history.

“People have a weird love for these sexual things,” says Fairbrother, who in person, is surprisingly demure. “We all talk about it... yet if you’re honest and shameless about it, you’re judged.”

At first glance, Fairbrother’s Tumblr is a female version of Tucker Max, whose drunken bro-ish hijinks recently made it to the big screen in I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.

It’s made Fairbrother a love-her-or-hate-her Tumblette: She’s garnered a cult of 800 to 900 active followers and, last week, was ranking higher than other micro-celebrities and fellow oversharers, like Internet star Julia Allison.

Call it narcissism or savvy self-marketing, but Allison pioneered the 24/7 fame ball lifecast via 24/7 text, photo and video postings with her site, Julia.Nonsociety.com

Fairbrother’s quick to recognize her Tumblr began over a year ago as a lonely, soliloquy-ing stream.

Her postings quickly garnered followers, especially through Tumblr’s unique re-blogging feature — the re-posting of content allows users to trace how one post is amplified or subverted by other users — which created a dialogue that would bounce between her, her followers and even non-followers.

“It’s emoting — you want to complain and hear six people say, ‘I hear you, sister,’” explains Fairbrother of Tumblr’s idyllic social fantasy. “You do have a community who know your stories... but (they’re) strangers who know you very well.”

As a result, Fairbrother isn’t just a Tumblette speaking within a echo chamber — she’s connecting across different niches and communities, showing different facets of her self, online. Her embarrassments, like it or not, break barriers.


Last week, New York social media-ite Justin Johnson traded the usual down-on-one-knee with an online video marriage proposal posted on Tumblr. More than 9,900 “liked” the proposal (His fiancée Marissa Nystrom’s response: “YESSSSSSSS!”), but cynics like BBook.com called it an “advertising stunt” for the up-and-coming platform’s future marketing initiatives.

Famous Tumblr

Justine Bateman (a.k.a. Family Ties’ Mallory Keaton), shown, is strangely enough one of the most-renowned celeb Tumblettes. The former 1980s child star runs online production company FM78.TV (responsible for an online IKEA campaign) and recently testified on net neutrality in front of the U.S. Senate.

Addendum on Monday, Nov. 23, 2009 at 11:06 a.m. EST: True to her style, Jaime-Leigh Fairbrother has already Tumbled about this column here.

– Rea McNamara writes about the on/offline statuses of niches and subcultures. Follow her on Twitter @reeraw

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