Hello again, everyone! It’s been quite a while since I’ve been on this blog, and I really missed the book blogging community. That being said, I’m hoping to get back into the swing of blogging again. This blog has been really helpful to me in more ways than one since I started it, and today I’d like to explain how blogging shaped my online experience.
How I Started Blogging
As many of you might already know, this blog was born as part of a blogging class offered at my high school. Starting up a blog had been an interest of mine for a while, so it was just the push I needed to take that leap. Even aside from my own personal interest, the teaching points of this class would be great for anyone looking to use social media in their lives (which, as we all know, is pretty much everyone). Usually, people don’t receive education on how to gain an audience online, or even how to utilize social media in our lives. Which, when you think about it, social media is such a huge and influential part of our culture! I know I’m not alone in the daily “morning phone check” through Twitter and Instagram and the likes as if they’re the morning news.
I was really fortunate to be able to have these opportunities in school. Like I mentioned, communicating and understanding social media is rarely taught as a real life-skill, despite all the time we spend interacting with technology. This class gave me a leg up in trying to create my own blog and building an audience. However, there was still a lot of work to be done on my own.
Learning the Bookish Web Space
One of the most threatening things about joining a new space is how different it is from what you already know. When it came to book blogging, there was so much I was unfamiliar with! Even different types of blogs post varying content, so it’s difficult to look at a fashion blog or a lifestyle blog to determine what kind of things should be on your platform. This left me feeling pretty clueless when I started writing for my blog and I was left to do a little research on other book blogs. Luckily for us book bloggers, the community is generally very welcoming and there are plenty of guides on starting a blog, post ideas, and how to use various bookish platforms online.
Aside from the more social expectations, joining the online bookish community made me feel like I had a whole new vocabulary to learn! Sometimes the words that I saw people using in their posts had me scrambling for some kind of dictionary to figure out exactly what was being said.
When someone mentions a “galley” but you have no idea what that is.
The rapid changes in digital media can feel like learning a new vernacular at breakneck speed, and I found it to be one of the biggest changes in the way I viewed communication in the bookish internet. That’s not even to mention all the acronyms that are used for titles on book Twitter! Some of those may always remain a mystery….
One of the most important things that book blogging taught me about technological communication is that there is always a person on the other side of the screen. In the beginning, I found it really easy to get discouraged by the lack of feedback my posts were getting. When I would see the number of views a certain post got, or obsessively check my follower count I would wonder why I just wasn’t gathering a “large” audience.
We’re often drawn to thinking of our statistics only as numbers, but, the truth is, each of these numbers represents a real person who put in the time to look at your content. As digital content consumers, we know that we spend a lot of time curating what we see online, much less the things we actually choose to dive in and read. Seeing the amount of people who chose to look into my blog on any given day is an honor, no matter how big or small that number may be. Once you start looking at your engagement in terms of people instead of numbers, the internet becomes a much less daunting place to create.
What Book Blogging Means to Me
This space has always been an outlet for what I consider my most important hobby. Reading has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. From children’s picture books (hello, Goodnight Moon), to reading allowed my first chapter books with my family, to voraciously picking up book after book in my teen years, reading has always been a monumental part of my identity.
However, being a reader is so often a solitary hobby. It is rarely done with others, and even book clubs and other discussion groups only incorporate collaboration after the fact. This, I think, is the perfect place for blogging to come into the picture. Entering into the bookish online community allowed me to make a normally isolating hobby into an experience where I was able to join in on and foster the exchange of ideas.
What it feels like being able to share your thoughts about a book in real time with other people.
Book blogging let me be part of a community of other readers, something I’d never really experienced before. It showed me how to turn my own experiences with reading literacy into something a little more digital, but no less important.
My word of advice? Try it for yourself. Find new spaces for the things you’re passionate about. There are worlds of communities online, and they just might teach you a thing or two.
How has blogging affected the way you interact with the digital world?
Until next time!