BBAW Day 4: Staying Connected

CommunityConnectionDay 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!

22 thoughts on “BBAW Day 4: Staying Connected

  1. Totally agree with your thoughts on commenting. It can be tough, because I’m just like you in that I don’t like leaving comments that don’t feel meaningful (just as it can be frustrating to receive them). Twitter is a great way to connect for me, too, so I’ll often share reviews or posts if I don’t have much more to say. It can be such a tricky balance!

  2. I’m wondering how the heck I haven’t come across your blog before! From looking at your sidebar, we follow many of the same blogs and I can relate to so much of your post here. I used to be a rockstar commenter–I still laugh that back in the early days of BBAW I was nominated a few times for best commenter. These days it’s so tough–though life has surely changed in the past 9 years. I would love to be a better commenter, but my feedly is full of posts and some times it’s so overwhelming that I just shut off my computer and walk away. I used to comment on everything I read (and ugh…I HATE those spammy type of comments–why even bother!), but lately I just leave a note if I have something of substance to say.

    Twitter is where it’s at for me lately. I do have an IG account, but it’s more personal than bookish. I’ve been browsing the bookstagram posts on there lately and am astounded at the work that people put into their pictures. They’re gorgeous!

  3. Commenting is my favourite way to interact with other bloggers, and I wholly agree with what you say regarding how people comment. I’m of the mind that if you’re going to comment, make it something thoughtful and sincere as opposed to just driving traffic. Blogging for me, again as with you, is kind of a social thing, and so I’m not fussed about how many people are reading my blog, I’m interested in who is reading my blog.

    I’m aware of the power of Pinterest, but have yet to really delve in to it with my book blog.

    Memes and linkys are great… Although I feel bad if I feel like I didn’t put enough time in to :-/

  4. ” 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.”

    Ugh, I have been randomly tagged (via comments) for memes and it makes me SO uncomfortable. Which isn’t exactly what you mean here but it’s still the same sort of mindlessness, like, “Well I needed one more blog and I found yours so here you go!” I love a good blog meme but those ones I just say “thanks!” but then never perpetuate because…no.

    Commenting in general is always rough for me, not just because TOO MANY BLOGS, NOT ENOUGH TIME, but also specifically because…WHAT TO SAY? It’s especially tricky in the book blogging circle because there’s only so many times you can say “great review!!!!” before it becomes utterly meaningless? On the other hand, when people blog about only tangentially-related, personal stuff like this, it’s suddenly SUPER EASY to find something to say (even if it’s just a long-winded version of “me too!”).

    But then it feels like if you’re not a commenting MACHINE, you’re not going to be able to really meet and get to know other bloggers. Life is hard and I miss when we all blogged about everything on LJ, hahahaha.

  5. It’s a tricky balance to strike! I never want to leave comments that feel spammy, but I also want the bloggers I like to know that I’m reading and enjoying their posts. Twitter HAS been useful for that — I can have those small positive interactions with my blogging friends without feeling like I’m spamming their posts with “Hi! I am around!” comments. :p

  6. I try to leave comments on people’s posts when I read them regularly. Sometimes they’re not all that much on topic. I go off on digressions in Jenny’s comments (Reading the End)–above–pretty often. I guess you have to trust that most bloggers like to hear from readers, even those who haven’t read the book or who drivel on every once in a while.

  7. I do comment regularly on the blogs I follow, if I have something to say. And that’s about it for me, connection wise. I also do a couple of weekly memes and a few of these bigger events. It seems to work. That’s what I have time for. Oh, and I take breaks as needed, with no guilt at all. 🙂

  8. I’m sooooo bad at leaving comments on blog posts, especially when I feel like I don’t have anything to add. In that situation I try to just leave a “you’re the best” or whatever bc why not just compliment them if I’m into it? Retweeting a post I liked is also a go to. Love twitter AND I newly love instagram. It’s amazing for seeing what people are reading, especially if you’re into photography at all.

  9. For me, Pinterest is solely for my recipe tracking. I ended up creating a board for recipes I actually make and that is almost the only one I use anymore! (Don’t get me started with what’s wrong with Pinterest anymore, sigh) and I ADORE goodreads maybe not so much interaction but the ease in finding out who else has read something I might want to read. I do recommend occasionally. I also track my vocab and thoughts in the middle of reading and it is so helpful to be able to do that for each book. I have had some good convos there but often they are in the private messages. And I love to find out books in common with others. 🙂 AND it is there that I can keep up with my old book club friends (I moved recently)
    Nice to ‘find’ you! Happy BBAW

  10. Shannon, I think sharing a post or review is a good way to say you like it and think it’s worthy. I’ve actually also gotten more used to the Like feature on WordPress…at least I know people like what they see!

  11. Trish, I know I must have stopped by your old blog, but maybe just never got into regularly commenting? I hear exactly what you’re saying about Feedly. People’s posts just pile up to the point sometimes where I think I’ll never get through all of them. Some days I don’t even look. I love Twitter–it just seems so easy to me to respond in a way that feels more like real time, rather than commenting on a post someone wrote a week ago.

  12. Jade, you absolutely get it: I really do not care about the numbers. I’d much rather have one or two sincere comments from a few visitors than try to be popular. The truth is I don’t do much to pull people in, anyway, because I want the blog to be about what I really like to read, as opposed to what I think I need to read to get more traffic. And even with memes, I don’t do them if I can’t think of anything to say. You should see all the half-finished Top Ten Tuesday drafts I have! It’s sad.

  13. Katherine, I know what you mean about the meme links. It’s all a numbers game for a lot of people. They may be sincere in what they’re trying to do, but that’s not the best way to go about it.

    And commenting in general: yes, I too get tired of “Great review!” or “I’ll have to check it out!” The memes and more personal posts are easier. Frankly, even if someone goes off on a tangent when commenting on a review (i.e., “this reminds me of something totally unrelated, but…”), I’m completely fine with that. That’s when it feels more like a friend dropping by, and less like “I’m in this blogging circle so I’d better say something.”

  14. Jenny, you strike a great balance, though. I even really like it when you leave a comment to say something would never interest you, because you know, that makes it feel more like a friend dropping by and talking about whatever.

  15. Jeanne, I love the digressions. That’s where real relationships start with other bloggers. It’s fun to me when I write a review that may have one small personal comment and someone sort of takes it and runs with it because it struck a chord. I think all of us feel a little conscious, especially when we’re reviewing something popular, of feeling like we’re just adding to the noise.

  16. Kay, I think everyone understands about taking a break once in a while. I’ve been bad about disappearing for months, though! But honestly some days it’s all I can do to get a post written and published, so I hope at least that’s something.

  17. Julianne, retweeting is awesome, and so is the Like function on Goodreads, because those both are good ways to acknowledge something even if you don’t have anything specific to say. I love looking at Instagram, but when it comes to posting my own photos…uh, people will be either like. “Uh, what do you think that is?” or “Wow, another picture with her thumb.” I’m an idiot when it comes to working any camera.

  18. Care, what IS wrong with Pinterest? I worked to curate stuff in the beginning and things were great, and now it’s all spammy promoted whatever. I have really been enjoying Goodreads. I’ve been on it forever, but only int he last six months or so have I started checking in regularly and doing more than just logging books now and again. I do wish it was a bit more interactive, but with that and Twitter I do okay. Thanks for visiting me!

  19. I don’t comment much anymore because it is so time consuming, and what with all the other stuff to read out there (besides books even) there just isn’t a lot of time. But I do appreciate getting comments, so I try to leave them sometimes knowing how appreciated they are!

  20. Jill, it is time consuming. Often between writing my own posts and keeping up with reading, I run out of time for anything else. I do know that comments are important, though–I like feeling connected.

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