Day 4 of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, and today’s question is: How do you stay connected to the community? In general, I love blogging because it gives me a chance to socialize from home, to (mostly) avoid small talk, and to have conversations about things I love, and to avoid crowds. But I admit that in the past few years, staying connected has been one of my biggest failures. When I first started blogging, I commented regularly on all the blogs I followed, and I was amazed how quickly I formed friendships with other bloggers. Finding a community online was so exciting, especially for someone like me, who works at home and does not have a lot of daily social interaction outside my husband and the gym. At some point, though, things started to change. People got into petty arguments (not with me, but with each other). Some of the bloggers I followed regularly fell into slumps or stopped blogging. I fell into my own reading slump and started to feel overwhelmed at the idea of keeping up.
If anything has helped me maintain some tenuous connections, it’s definitely Twitter (my link). I still follow many of the same core book bloggers that I added when I joined in 2010. That’s how I knew what people were reading, and typically how I followed links to reviews. I also continued to follow blogs through Feedly (or the now defunct and sorely missed Google Reader), keeping up with reviews even if I wasn’t commenting. I never created a Facebook page for the blog, because I never even shared the blog with friends on my personal page, and frankly it seemed like one more thing to keep up (and fall behind on).
Weekly memes have also been a great way to connect and find bloggers with similar tastes. I used to participate weekly in the Sunday Salon and Booking Through Thursday, and more recently I’ve started doing Top Ten Tuesday. Back in 2009 and 2010 I joined several challenges, but realized quickly that I am not good keeping to a list or a plan when I read. For me the most successful challenge was always the TBR Double Dog Dare, but I’m not sure how much it helped me to stay connected, as it always seemed that while I was catching up on my TBR, everyone else was reading the latest hits. And that’s another thing: I enjoy reading reviews, but if I haven’t read the book, I’m not sure I’m really “connecting” if all I’m saying is, “Sounds great! Another one for the TBR!”
That brings me to comments in general: I hate leaving (or receiving) any kind of comment spam. This seems to be especially bad with memes, where people will respond with “Great list! Here’s mine!” and a link to their post. To me, that seems to be more about driving traffic their own blog and less about having a conversation, and if there’s a link system involved (Mr. Linky) and I have the URL linked to the blogger’s name, I don’t need another link. In general, if I don’t have anything to say, I don’t leave a comment at all, but I admit when I was a more “social” blogger, I was more likely to comment even just to say hello. How about you? Do you comment regularly on blogs you follow, or only when you are interested in the topic/have read the book?
Lately Goodreads (my link) has become a place I visit several times a day to see what readers are doing. I like the quick overview and the ability to comment, although I rarely do, and I don’t see a lot of comments in general. I wish it was more interactive, but maybe it’s how I’m using it. For example, when I finish and rate a book, I get the pop-up suggesting friends to whom I should recommend the book…but I only do this occasionally, with people I know in real life. Do any of you using Goodreads use this feature to recommend books to other bloggers?
I used Pinterest (my link) briefly and with some success. that’s one I’d like to get back to, because I love the visual aspect f it and how easy it is to create boards with different themes, without having to do a list post on the blog or ask people to scroll through a giant list on Goodreads. Finally, I’m most intrigued by Instagram, but I haven’t found a great way to use it. Take a picture of a book a day? I know I need to prowl some book bloggers to get ideas (that sounds creepy, doesn’t it? I don’t mean it to be). If you have ideas, do share!