August 28, 2015

Where We Talk About Books

Book Blogging, Bookstagramming, Booktubing, Book-tumblr-ing? Blogger, Wordpress, Instagram, Youtube, and Tumblr are among the platforms used to talk about books. Each platform has pros and cons, and the people on each can be very different. Today I’m going to discuss each of these networks and my opinions on them! 

Blogging Platforms (Wordpress, Blogger)
Wordpress and Blogger are the obvious go-to platforms for people who are interested in taking their love for books to the next level- and for those who desire to become involved with publishers and authors. (Not saying you can't get involved with pubs/authors on other platforms, but "real" blogs are the way to go) A blog will give you the most customization possible. You don’t exactly have this control with Instagram, Youtube and Tumblr. Your content may be unique but there's a standardized page look. Although with Tumblr you are allowed significantly more customization of your own page, it’s not nearly the same thing as with Blogger or Wordpress. One of the best parts of book blogging is that people don't judge you by the amount of followers you have. Everyone has been genuinely nice and welcoming. I feel like in the book blogging community we don't look at bigger bloggers as celebrities, unlike the book community on YouTube or even Instagram sometimes. I really enjoy the sense of equality and community and friendship in the book blogging community.

Tumblr
I can't classify Tumblr as a book blogging platform in the same way Blogger and Wordpress are. First, theres no commenting system implemented in Tumblr. Next, I haven't seen many strictly review blogs on Tumblr, it's mostly just book pictures. Tumblr is about resharing others content. With the click of a button someone else's posts and pictures are on your blog, some bloggers can do absolutely no work and gain a huge following all because they put other peoples content on their blogs. That just doesn't seem right to me. There's no originality in that. Tumblr can also be a very negative and critical place. (I actually deleted my Tumblr because no matter what I kept coming across negativity and hate and it was too much.) On Tumblr, opinions are not respected. If you happen to have an unpopular opinion brace yourself for the masses that will come to your inbox with hate. Blehhh. The anonymous messaging feature makes it all too easy to send and receive hate. I would like to link to a very well written post that I strongly agree with by Jen over at Book Avid. She talks about why Tumblr bloggers shouldn't get ARCS, and how Tumblr is practically nothing more than resharing. Of course, there are exceptions to this. There are blogs on Tumblr who put out tons of their own content and work hours on making their blogs perfect, but those are few and far between in the book community on Tumblr (From my experience in the Tumblr book community) . For people looking for ARCs, and for those who want a proper blogging service, Tumblr is not the way to go.

Instagram
Oh…Instagram….I tried out the book community on Instagram and I did not like it. I might be slightly biased here due to a very bad experience I had where older woman attacked me as when I was 13 (but I’m not going to get into that now). Anyways, many Instagrammers have been able to receive ARCs with only about 2,000 followers. Followings on Instagram are different from other types of followings. Sometimes, with about 2,000 Instagram followers you have around 200-300 active ones. On my Divergent page I have 34,000 followers yet only 2,000 active followers. (Like, what even!?) Instagram is not exactly the place for reviewing because it’s more of a photo sharing service, and it can be hard to fit a full review into a caption. When I tried reviewing on Instagram I had to find ways to shorten my reviews. Plus, you can barley fit in pub info, release date, and a synopsis all into the slim 2,000 characters they let you have for a caption. Also, Instagrammers are very focused on followers, it’s all about the followers’ followers, and I really do not like that. Bigger accounts usually don't talk to smaller accounts, because they see themselves as superior. I may not be the biggest fan of bookstagram, but you will find some amazing photographers and hard workers on there! Word Revel actually has a great post about the many problems with bookstagram; you can check it out here.

Youtube
Booktube is a great way to help get word of books out to people who watch Youtube. What I mean is I don't go to youtube for book recs or to hear about new books. If I was to Google "Best YA books in 2015" and a youtube video and a blog post came up I would click the website post. The other thing with Booktube is that (I feel like) popular booktubers are sort of viewed as "celebrities" . Plus, you don't exactly see the big Booktubers going around leaving comments or watching smaller booktubers videos. Again,  like with Instagram, people tend to be very focused on the subscribers. There is a power imbalance. With blogging, everyone tends to be kind and accepting and I haven't seen smaller bloggers discriminated against or judged for the amount of followers they have. I don't mean to tear down booktube in any way though. I think Booktubers are amazing at what they do & it obviously takes tons of work and dedication!

No matter where you choose to talk about books, everyone deserves to be treated with respect. No one should be made to feel like less than due to followers, or content. We all have to start out somewhere and encouraging other people in the book community will build up their confidence and contribute to making the bookish community a better place!

3 comments:

  1. I really like this post, Sam! ❤️ I agree with a lot of what you have to say. Blogging on blogs is definitely more professional, I think, especially because knowing how to navigate Blogger or Wordpress is a huge skill that internships and jobs are looking for (I'm noticing it now as an 18 year old - so glad I joined the blogging community!). I tried out Tumblr before, but I didn't like it at all. I didn't quite feel the originality of it and I never found it to be "addicting". I'm sorry you had a bad experience with Instagram! 😥 I like Instagram quite a lot, and I frankly don't care about how many followers I have. If you have a public account, chances are that probably a large handful of them are spam accounts. I just have a book IG for posting pretty bookish photos. As for Booktubers, I definitely know how you feel. I feel that there isn't much commenting back and such there because it's such a large community and Youtube itself a much larger platform than Blogger/Wordpress that it's really hard for booktubers to be in a tight-knit community like ours.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about where to talk about books, Sam! Great insight 😘

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  2. I agree with you! I had to create my own blog because I feel more free there. And gosh, Tumblr is that awful? Trolls are already a headache on Goodreads, and you say they won't even be respectful. Yeah, I think I am happy with just a Twitter account. Great post! :)

    Vane at Books With Chemistry

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  3. You don't understand just how much I relate to this post. These thoughts have been swirling inside my head for MONTHS, starting with when I first joined the Instagram community and saw they were getting big-name ARCs because of their Instagram followers.

    I don't want to bash on any of the people who've made Instagram their main book-blogging platform, but to be honest, Instagram is just a photo-sharing site. I don't think I've ever looked at a book photo on Instagram and go, "oh, I want to buy that!" I have never seen any meaningful Instagram-based book reviews, other than a link to an actual blog post. And yeah, there are a LOT of F4F, S4S, or giveaway posts and that just annoys me WAYY too much. And the amount of ghost followers is astounding.

    With Tumblr, I could never really get into it. There are tumblr edits, sure, but I've never encountered any DEDICATED review blogs. Most are just reblogs and stuff, like you said.

    Definitely agree with the Booktube thing. I enjoy watching the videos, but you rarely see any commenting back and that's kind of sad. It doesn't seem as tight-knit as the book blogging community is, and subscribers play a BIG role with which table you get to sit at, so to speak. I almost never look at booktube reviews; I usually go to Goodreads for that. (Not to discredit any booktubers out there! I HAVE picked up some books because of you guys!)

    Claudia Victoria @ PenMarkings

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