Here we are at the midpoint of Book Blogger Appreciation Week! Today’s topic revisits Monday’s theme of community:
“The world of book blogging has grown enormously and sometimes it can be hard to find a place. Share your tips for finding and keeping community in book blogging despite the hectic demands made on your time and the overwhelming number of blogs out there. If you’re struggling with finding a community, share your concerns and explain what you’re looking for–this is the week to connect!”
I love this topic, because it gives me a chance to pick your brains! I have questions for you, but first, a couple of ways I’ve found work really well for building and keeping community. If you want to get on with the questions and skip all my blabbering, scroll down to the bottom and answer away!
The best way I’ve found to find community within the larger book blogosphere is to comment. I know of no blogger who doesn’t love thoughtful, quality comments, the kind that open up conversation and let you know someone, somewhere has read your thoughts. After all, without comments, blogging would be a one-way activity, with bloggers tossing content out there onto the Internet with no feedback or interaction whatsoever! It’s a great way to meet other people and for them to meet you. From my own experience I know that repeatedly commenting on a particular blog I like is a great way to feel like I’m getting to “know” someone, since to comment I must read the blog, and by reading the blog regularly, I’m following at least a little part of that person’s life. It’s a neat feeling. If you’re short on time, just pick a couple of blogs you really enjoy reading and get involved.
As much as I love book reviews and recommendations, though, I find it hard to comment on them if I’ve not read the book. Am I alone in this? What to say besides “This sounds so interesting, thank you for bringing it to my attention!” and the like? Some bloggers are excellent at responding to such reviews, but it’s never been my strong point. I love the Sunday Salons, the opinion and musings posts and the glimpses of personal lives. (Unfortunately, it’s much easier for me to write reviews than to write those “other” posts!) If you’re looking to build community, to me those are good posts to start with, because they offer everyone an opportunity to contribute. I also love update/stat posts; when I’ve been busy and am feeling out of the loop, they’re a great way to catch up on what other bloggers have been up to without reading every post I’ve missed.
Reading with others is another fantastic way to find and keep community. One of the first things I did once I started blogging in earnest was to participate in Trish’s Odyssey readalong and Jill and Heather’s Dueling Monsters (this year’s picks to be announced shortly!). These events give you something in common with the other participants, plus a list of blogs to visit who are working on the same book(s) you are. If formal readalongs aren’t your thing, you could even hook up with another blogger and coordinate an informal read together, via email or blogs or some other avenue. I’ve done that some through Reading Buddies, and I love it! Books offer a great opportunity to get to know other people. I mean, if you’re going to read anyway (which, clearly, we all are!), why not do it with someone else?
Twitter: Help Me!
I feel like I’m figuring out the blog-to-blog community bit, as described above. However, I struggle with stepping beyond the bounds of blogs. I know many of you thrive in that area, so I’d love your advice! I feel like so much happens on sites like Twitter. I keep seeing reference to Twitter friends all over these BBAW posts: people meeting on Twitter, finding a common interest, having Twitter parties. But when I open Twitter, all I feel is overwhelmed! I think I’m missing out on a huge opportunity, but I’m not sure how to seize it.
So, I will enlist your help! (Hey, that’s another way to build community, no?) Oh wise readers: what are your best Twitter tips? How do you find new people? Keep your own tweets interesting? Organize lists of people you follow (or not)? Decide who to follow in the first place? Anything, anything at all. Or any community building tip you might like to offer, but especially Twitter. I would very much love to hear your thoughts!