It’s not you, bookish social media, it’s me. Actually, no, it’s mostly you.
When I first discovered bookish social media I thought I’d hit the jackpot. I’d known about Goodreads before, but I naively thought Facebook integration was mandatory and I could only be friends with people I actually knew (at that point only one of my friends had a Goodreads, and I had a strong book snob vibe from them). My Goodreads usage was very limited in those dark days, I would only use it to shelve classic books to be read, and read reviews of my favourite books.
Then, one day, I read an online article about local instagrammers I should follow, and featured on that list was an account that took photos solely of books. I went sleuthing, and then, I was hooked. From that moment on, I was addicted to bookstagram, book twitter and Goodreads. Flash forward to now, and I’m disheartened. With all of it. I’ve noticed a lack of enthusiasm taking photos for bookstagram, stress when considering my Goodreads goal, and absolute hatred for that little blue bird app.
I’m Not Leaving All Bookish Social Media Behind
I’m not leaving bookstagram. No way. And this blog is staying.
I’ve deleted twitter from my phone. That’s over and done with, thank the Tim Tams. Now, if I want to use Twitter, which happens occasionally, I have to log on to my computer to tweet, which is a lot more effort that tweeting from my phone, so it often dissuades me.
And I’m not deleting Goodreads. I’m just breaking up with it. We’re going to be friends from now on, nothing more, nothing closer, just friends.
And that’s what this post is about.
Why I’m Breaking Up With Goodreads
I Hardly Ever Give Star Ratings
I’ve gotten much better at this lately, but giving star ratings makes me feel awkward. There’s too much in a book to consider and reduce down into a little series of stars. I understand that star ratings are meant to accompany reviews, so you express how you feel in the review and sum it all up in a star rating, but still, it’s a challenge I’d rather not face. Of course, if I can pick a star rating, I’m still going to do it, but I’m not going to pressure myself into doing it just for the sake of it.
I Find it Really Hard to Write Reviews
“What? But you blog about books?! I’ve read your reviews!” You may be thinking. Yes, this is very true. Let’s be honest though, it’s a rare day I publish a review on this blog. I wish I could write more reviews, but the truth is, I have so few critical opinions on books that there really isn’t much of a point, also, I find that there’s little point in me writing a review of a popular book I’m reading months/years after it’s release when so many others who share the same opinions as me have written beautiful posts before (side note: maybe I should just do a review shout-out for bloggers who share the same opinion on books as me).
I’d rather stick to reviewing books that are either new releases or not well known, and I’d rather do that here on my blog.
Pressure, Pressure, Pressure
Some days I love that little Goodreads Challenge progress bar on the side of my home page, other days I hate it. I began the year with a goal of reading 80 books, I’ve since reduced it to reading 20 books. If you’re friends with me on Goodreads, you’ll probably wonder why this is, because as of today in December 2018, I’ve read 77 books. I surpassed that 20 book goal at the beginning of the year, and I’m three books away from the 80 book goal. Changing it doesn’t make sense, right?
Sure it does, I read for fun, setting a high goal just isn’t my idea of fun. Reading 20 books a year is an amazing accomplishment, one that most people (outside the bookish world, perhaps) would be incredibly proud of. So, I’ll be proud of that too. I’ve long since decided that twenty books a year will be my goodreads goal for every year to come.
The Feeling of Competition
Every year, usually in the middle, right when the mid-year book freak out tags are cropping up, I see a lot of people voicing their dissatisfaction with their yearly reading progress. A little message of feeling inferior, not good enough to be a bookish influencer and not well-read all too often crops up in a bookstagrammer’s Instagram story. And I hate that. It’s not something that I personally struggle with, as I consider myself a middle-of-the-range reader, my average 50 books a year is definitely not something to be ashamed of – then again, reading one book a year isn’t either.
In the bookish world, we have this strangely peculiar way of measuring our worth as a reader by the number of books we read. I know I interact with people online who constantly read upwards of 150 books a year, I know others who tend to read less than ten. Do those numbers really tell us that person one is more of a reader than person two? Before I joined the bookish world, I was under the impression that there were only ‘readers’ and ‘non-readers.’ The truth of the matter is, some people read a lot of books. Some people don’t read as much.
Your worth is not measured in the Goodreads progress bar.
Why I’m Not Kicking Goodreads Out of My Life Completely
I have two reasons why I’m not logging off Goodreads and saying ‘Bye-bye’ for good. You know, if you hadn’t read this blog post, you probably wouldn’t even notice I’m reducing my time online.
I Use it to Find Books!
My favourite thing about Goodreads is that we’re talking about books. I love seeing what others are reading, and using that as a way to fill out my TBR. In fact, Goodreads is my favourite way to find new books to read (sorry, Bookstagram), I’m not entirely sure what I’d do if I didn’t have it.
I Need to Keep a Track of My TBR
I haven’t the slightest clue how any of you guys keep a track of your TBR, but I use Goodreads, and nothing else. I don’t buy a lot of books that I want to read, I generally only buy books that I have already read, and absolutely loved. Because of this, I can’t use my bookshelf as a means to record my TBR, I have to use something a little less physical. Goodreads is, and has always been, the perfect solution. If I didn’t have Goodreads, I’d have to put in way more effort and record my TBR myself. I’m cringing at the thought.
How do you feel about bookish social media? Do you love it? Hate it? Hate to love it? Love to hate it? Do you use too much? Or do you somehow have fewer existential crises than me?