Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2011 Badge

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!

Commenting

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.

Circle of Hands
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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 Together

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!

Question Mark
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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!

Join the Conversation

123 Comments

  1. I strive to post relevant comments, so when I haven’t read the book or I haven’t got anything to add or offer, I clam up. Perhaps it’s not the best strategy, but it gives room to people who’ve read the book and/or have lots of thoughts on it to discuss it without me cluttering it up.

    Ah, Twitter! I would suggest just starting with following the book bloggers you already read on your RSS Feed. Through them, you’ll start seeing authors and publishers and other people you want to follow. As for the tweets, keep ’em bookish, but remember that Twitter is like the status updates from Facebookβ€”post what you want. I also heartily recommend a desktop application like TweetDeck to keep things straight; TweetDeck allows you to make columns for each of your lists (I keep book bloggers in one, authors in another, publishers in another, etc.) and manage them that way. It’s very useful and much better than the online interface, I think.

    1. Your comments are always relevant and thoughtful, Clare, and I know I both appreciate and envy them. I’m always torn between letting people know I’m reading and trying to say something meaningful even when I don’t have much to say (though I may have read and enjoyed the post).

      I think maybe I’ll start a Twitter list for the blogs I follow and interact with regularly. I feel like the bloggers I actually “know” get lost in the shuffle when there are so many tweets streaming past. I’ve been working on getting TweetDeck set up to my liking and love your idea of several lists grouped by type. Thanks for the tips!

  2. I find it difficult to post comments on reviews as well. I do leave them, but I will admit to being a little self-conscious about my reviews comments at times.

    I feel you on twitter. QGR has a twitter page but I don’t really keep up with it. I am still figuring it out. I feel completely overwhelmed when I open it.

    1. I feel that way, too. I’m torn between letting the blogger know I was there and read the post and saying something trite or silly! I’m glad I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed by Twitter. It’s so hectic and fast-paced, and I can be a bit shy…not a good combination!

  3. I don’t usually comment on reviews unless I’ve read the book or I’m at least familiar with the author’s work. I feel a little silly commenting just to say “Good review, the book sounds interesting”… As for twitter, I’m eager to see what others’ advice will be because I too struggle a bit to find and connect with other bookish people.

    1. I feel a little silly for the same reasons, though I do think bloggers appreciate knowing people were there and reading the post, so I’m often torn. I’m getting some good thoughts on Twitter — I hope you find them useful, too!

  4. I have the same problem with commenting on reviews of books I haven’t read. It seems so silly to say everytime, thanks for bringing this to my attention. I am not even sure if ‘thoughts’ like that are appreciated.
    I also use TweetDeck, but not on my iPad. I use Twitterrific there, because it works better for me, and it lets you import your TweetDeck columns. But I also feel Twitter to be too overwhelming, and would like to learn about using it to its full potentials.

    1. I think such thoughts probably are appreciated, since it lets the blogger know you were there and read the post. Still, I always feel like I should be able to find something more profound to say!

      I’ve been figuring out TweetDeck, which seems really powerful. I don’t have an iPad, but I do have a smartphone and am trying to find a Twitter app I really like for that. Everything on Twitter just goes by so fast!

  5. I find that if I read really carefully, a comment usually jumps out of my head in response to a post about a book that I have not read. I think it just takes patience and practice, and it can be a little awkward at first, but I think bloggers really appreciate a comment that tries to be relevant and interesting.

    As far as twitter goes, I simply am so ignorant on that front! I tried to get going with it, but it just didn’t work out for me at all. Hopefully one of your commenter addresses this and I can peek at the answer.

    1. You are exactly the commenter I was thinking of when I said some bloggers are really good at commenting on reviews of books they haven’t read. I don’t know how you do it, but I (and I’m sure many other bloggers!) very much appreciate your thoughtful and sincere comments. You inspire me to write better comments — really! Thanks for your advice on the issue. I’ll try your approach and see if it gets easier.

      I’m getting some good thoughts on Twitter, so hopefully you find them useful, too. It’s just such a crazy, hectic, fast-paced place!

    1. Tweet Deck seems good, I just feel like I haven’t really harnessed its potential. I love that you can set up different columns for each list you keep — that’s helpful! I have Networked Blogs going on Facebook, but that’s definitely a platform I could do more with. There’s just so much to figure out!

    1. Yeah…the ones I don’t want to read are especially hard! I guess at least a comment like that would show you read the review…? πŸ™‚

  6. Twitter is a great place to chat with other bloggers – the only problem is that it takes a huge amount of time. I recommend finding an hour or two and just sit watching what happens. Watching what others do is the best way to learn. Get something like tweetdeck so you can see several columns at once (follow several # conversations) and when you see somewhere you can add to the conversation just jump in. If you have any questions, just ask me @farmlanebooks Good luck!

    1. I’m liking TweetDeck and now have a column set up for #BBAW, which is really fun to watch! You’re so sweet to offer assistance, Jackie, and I really appreciate you taking time out of what I’m sure is a busy day to help me out. Thank you!

  7. I feel so overwhelmed by Twitter, too, and that’s why I hardly ever use it. But I hear everyone talking about it and feel so out of the loop. From the comments, it looks like tweetdeck is something to try.

    I agree that commenting is a way to engage with bloggers and create friendships. And I really enjoy challenges and read-alongs as another way to do that. Excellent post!

    1. TweetDeck seems really useful, once you get the hang of it. Definitely check it out! It sounds like there are quite a few people overwhelmed by Twitter, so we’re not alone. Luckily, there also seem to be a ton of bloggers willing to help us wallflowers figure it out.

  8. I try not to write those short “sounds good” comments either – I’ll attempt to find something in the review that I can talk about – but sometimes if the book really does sound good and the review has peaked your interest… I figure the blogger will be happy to know people read the review.

    Twitter, I haven’t a clue. I talk to people I feel I sort of know, but otherwise I tend to not want to join conversations I wasn’t involved in in the beginning. Also I haven’t as much time now so my responses would be irregular.

    1. So true. I try to save those “I’m adding this to my list” type comments for books I’m actually adding to my list! I feel the same way about not wanting to join other people’s conversations, though I’ve been told today that it’s completely fine and even encouraged. It can be such a time suck, though, which could be a problem!

  9. When I’m reading a review about a book that I haven’t read I will tell the blogger if they’ve compelled me to pick it up. I know I love seeing those kinds of comments.

    I think you’ve already gotten some great twitter tips both here and on twitter. I don’t think you have to keep it bookish. There are a group of bloggers that I chat with on a regular basis about music, photography, and cooking. Of course these elements are also part of their blogs, so maybe that is the difference. If you haven’t tried TweetDeck, do. I find it so much easier than simply using twitter.

    Feel free to ask a question anytime!

    1. I love those comments, too, but I try to only use them when I really am planning to look into the book further! It’s those reviews of books that, though they look interesting, aren’t really my style that I have trouble finding something to say about!

      I’ve had some great Twitter advice, thanks to you and many others! I really appreciate it. I’ve been setting up lists in TweetDeck and am having fun watching the conversations go by. Hey…watching is a start! And thank you for the offer of continued help, should it be needed!

  10. I find that I don’t have as much time to be on twitter nowadays as I did before. I’ve been on twitter parties and chats and a whole lot of wonderful things, but now I barely have the time for it. I think it worked for me because I went through a phase when I could afford to be on twitter for a long time, helping me figure it out. Now I just get overwhelmed. I think having a smartphone helps, so you can keep track more often. I would suggest starting out somewhat passive – look around, see what’s hapenning, don’t feel the need to contribute right away. Once you feel comfortable with it, start being more active.

    1. Oh, yeah, a long time to focus on something like Twitter would probably help a lot. I can do Twitter on my phone, but I haven’t found an app that really works for me yet. I love seeing more than just a couple of tweets at a time, is the problem! I’m having fun watching conversations go by, though, now that I have a #bbaw search column going in TweetDeck. Thank you for your advice — I really appreciate it!

  11. Good questions on Twitter because I totally feel the same way (as it appears, many others do too!) I’ve always said, Twitter to me is like a big crowded room with everyone shouting to be heard. I don’t do well in that situation, but when you find your corner and get going in a conversation, that’s when it’s a blast.

    1. Thanks! They’re one of my favorite things to do, and I’m trying to cut back on review commitments because I’ve found I enjoy reading with other people more than getting shiny new books. That might make me an anomaly, but I’m ok with it πŸ™‚

  12. Your first piece of advice – “Comment” – just never gets old, and I’d add that it includes responding to the comments you receive. It’s the give-and-take that makes blogging different from ordinary reading. But I do agree that sometimes book-centric posts – the reason we’re all here – can be the hardest to comment on!

    I go hot and cold on Twitter, but when I do have time to keep up with it, I always remember why I like it and find it valuable.

    1. An excellent point about responding to comments, Florinda, and one I’m working on being better about! The nice thing about Twitter seems to be that if you take a break, it’s so easy to jump back in because it’s such a quick environment to begin with.

  13. I agree that commenting … and commenting regularly … is the best way to build a blogging relationship. I know that once I begin following a blog, I’m loyal and steadfast and comment on almost every post. Of course, that is time-consuming and limits the amount of blogs I follow but I do feel like it has helped me develop a good sense of what a blog is about.

    I’m a horrible Twitterer. To be honest, I find it overwhelming and I can’t keep up. I just auto-post my blog posts for people who like to read that way. But I can’t keep up with the interaction so I’ve got no suggestions for you.

    1. You’re an amazing commenter, and I’m always so impressed how quickly and consistently you respond to comments! I love getting your replies by email and love that I can count on them to come. You’re a great example of a good all-around commenter πŸ™‚

      I set up auto-posting for my blog, too, so at least I have that going out. I really want to figure the rest out, so I’m working on it! You may not be a big Twitter person, but you do have one of the best Twitter icons out there…!

  14. Twitter overwhelms me a bit too. The biggest piece of advice I can offer is don’t worry about going back and read what you’ve missed. You’ll never catch up. I think this is where lists can help. Absolutely make a list for friends/people you really want to keep up with. Maybe one for bloggers?

    1. That’s good advice, Alison. Eek, that would be tough to do! Sometimes I want to find the whole thread of a particular conversation, and even that is daunting. I’ve recently set up a publisher list and a blogger list and am thinking of one for people I want to keep up with as well. Thanks for the suggestions!

  15. Hi. I suggest commenting often as well to get new followers, loyal followers, etc.

    I use Twitter, but I often don’t use the actual Twitter site. I found using Hootsuite to access Twitter is fantastic. I can schedule my tweets in advance for weeks at a time to post every hour on the hour or every fifteen minutes if I so desire. That way my feed looks current and I can concentrate on just responding to other tweet mentions, etc.

    Happy BBAW!

    1. That’s a fantastic idea! I love the thought of scheduling tweets. I always feel silly tweeting a bunch of things at once (on the rare occasion that I do something like that), so spreading them out would be perfect. Thank you!

    1. It is fun! Luckily, most hosts aren’t so mean that they’ll yell at you if you have to quit. In fact, I’ve seen hosts themselves fall behind. Bloggers are usually pretty laid back and just happy to have participants. Readalongs are so fun — I hope you get to do one sometime!

  16. Twitter can be hit and miss. Some days when I’m on I’ll see all kinds of interesting things unfolding – conversations, book recommendations, etc. But other days it seems disjointed and uninteresting. It kind of depends. I like it for conversation and to post links to bookish stuff that I think others will be interested in but that I don’t want to write up a blog post about.

    I’ve got four twitter lists: authors, bloggers, publishers, bookstores. Every time I run across a twitter account that falls into one of those categories I’ll put them on my list. I don’t follow everyone on my lists, but I like to organize it that way for future reference and for others to use (you can follow other peoples’ lists). I tend to follow people I like (authors, bloggers, publishers) more than random strangers, though when someone follows me I’ll always check their twitter stream to see if they tweet things I’ll be interested in.

    Readalongs are my favorite! I need to clear my calendar so I can participate in another – it’s so much fun to do a group read online with other book lovers! πŸ™‚

    1. I like the idea of using Twitter to post interesting things that aren’t really blog post material. It helps me to have ideas for what to post, since I find that one of the hardest aspects! I’ve been setting up lists, and they seem like they’ll be really helpful if I keep up with them when I follow new people. Thanks for the tips!

      I love readalongs — glad to find someone else who loves them, too! I’m working on clearing my calendar so I can participate more often, too.

    1. I’m glad it’s helpful! I’ve finally let myself be ok with not commenting on every review someone writes. I find if I focus on the ones that really interest me or about which I have something to say, my comments are more interesting in general. Though I don’t actually think anyone minds those “nice post, this looks really interesting!” comments, since it means someone came by and read the post.

  17. I’m with you on feeling overwhelmed when opening twitter. I usually feel like I’m late to the party and feel totally awkward jumping in to conversation.

    Your Reading Buddies feature is awesome – I’ve only joined in once, but I loved it and am kicking myself for not reading Sea of Poppies with you this month I need to sign up for your email reminders so I don’t forget next time around!

    1. Haha, yeah, late to the party…that’s exactly it! There’s definitely still time to get in on Sea of Poppies…September isn’t even half way over! But, I’d be happy to have you along for any future read that strikes your fancy.

  18. I’m with you on enjoying the non-review posts a lot, and like you, find it much harder to write them – the exception for me being author interviews, which are hands down my favorite posts. I’ve also really enjoyed having some blogging/writing friends guest post. Takes more foresight and planning, so I don’t do it often, but find it very rewarding.

    1. I love reading author interviews, but they’ve never been easy for me to write. And I’d love to have some guest posters but have been unable to rouse any enthusiasm for the task from the people I know IRL! Perhaps I’ll try harder, as I do think it’d be fun.

  19. I marked this post in Google Reader to help with the Twitter thing — but then saw you on Twitter! So check that off.

    I often skip commenting on posts that aren’t about books I’ve read or plan to read soon.

    1. Thanks for all your enthusiastic help, Joy! It’s so kind of you guys to have stepped in so quickly and helped me out. That’s one of the things I love about the book blogging community.

  20. I agree that getting-to-know yout ype posts cna be easier for inviting comments than straight up reviews, but I think I like it best when the two are combined. Though I’ve been known to write basic reviews when pressed for time, I try to make my posts more discussionary and pull something from the book that I loved/hated and ask other people’s opinions about it (such as, what do people think about books that end with cliffhangers or do love triangles delight or annoy you). That way even if the work is unfamiliar the theme is usually enough to spark comments.

    Also, I’m glad I’m not alone in the Not on Twitter crowd. I feel like just posting on my blog and reading others takes enough time, I can’t imagine making an investment to something as fast-paced and constantly updated as Twitter. Maybe I’ll be persuaded to join eventually but for now, I’m pretty firmly in the connect through blogs and comments route!

    1. Oh, definitely, the blogs that combine both are great! I like your idea of pulling some element of the book out to create non-spoiler-y discussion. I’d often like to discuss other aspects of a book but want to avoid ruining it for those who haven’t read it yet.

  21. I like twitter because it’s a little less involved than Facebook. However, its easy to get overwhelmed. Eventually I just un-followed a bunch of people. I realized that I didn’t actually know them and wasn’t interacting with them ever. So my only advice would be to unfollow extra people (especially the ones that tweet too much). I’m not fancy enough for tweetdeck but I’ve heard that it’s awesome πŸ™‚

    1. I think I’m even worse at Facebook than Twitter, at least when it comes to my blog! I think I’m going to take your un-follow advice. I have no idea who some people are, which makes me lose track of the people I’m trying to keep track of. I’ve been trying out TweetDeck and it’s pretty spiffy! Thanks for your advice πŸ™‚

  22. Great post.

    I try to comment on books I’ve read and on those that I didn’t but interested in. As you mentioned I really don’t have anything constructive to say except “thanks for bringing this book to my attention”. I know that for me those kind of posts are meaningful.

    By the way, I got many clicks to my blog from forums I belong to which have nothing to do with books (wood working for example).

    As for Twitter, it’s work. If you just tweet about your blog don’t bother. If you tweet interesting links, joint tweeter chats etc. it’s worth it.

    By the way, I’m a new follower πŸ™‚

    http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

    1. Those are the sorts of reviews I try to comment on as well…it’s the ones in between that are tough! Interesting to know about clicks from other forums. It’s fun when communities bump up against each other like that. I’m trying to avoid just tweeting links to my blog 24/7, which is why I’m often quiet! I’ve gotten some good ideas for other things to tweet about today, though, so that’s good. Thank you for your advice, and for the follow!

  23. Twitter can be a great tool to meet and communicate with other bloggers, authors, publishers and much more book wise.

    It can get out of hand, time wise, and I find it is ‘right now’. I cannot possibly go back several hours and catch up with all the tweeters I follow.

    I would say, go for it! Set up an account and just start tweeting your blog posts. You already have the facility for others to tweet from here.

    Tweeting doesnt have to be all about your books and blogging.
    I am there as DizzyCLBB

    carol

    1. I can’t imagine trying to catch up on Twitter…I’d go crazy! I’ve got an account set up and have for a while, but I rarely do anything with it. I’ve gotten some great tips and encouragement today, though, thank you for contributing!

  24. I totally agree with your points! I love the mention of makign sure to include other posts besides reviews – how many times can you say “nice review” if you haven’t read the book? πŸ™‚

    My best suggestions for Twitter – follow authors you love who are active, follow other bloggers and then jump in a conversation only when you have something to add.

    When I first got on there, I followed everyone that my tweeps put into a #FF because I figured we’d have something in common. I just flew past 2600 followers and ADORE my chats with book readers, bloggers and authors everyday. So much fun!

    1. Great Twitter advice, Sabrina, thank you! I don’t often pay attention to #FF, but I think I’ll start. It sounds like a great way to find new people.

  25. I try not to read reviews of books I haven’t read but plan on reading, simply because I worry about spoilers, having my opinion swayed or accidentally adopting a thought from that reviewer.

    But even for the books I have read, commenting on the reviews is the hardest for me, too. Saying “great review” seems like such a weak comment, even if I mean it.

    I also tend to leave over-long comments and so I often will just not comment. Trying to say something insightful in a comment is a huge challenge so I often take the easy way out and silently stalk the blogs I love.

    As far as Twitter – I’m in the same boat you are. I have no idea how to utilize Twitter properly in order to meet new bloggers.

    I think it’s just about not being shy, jumping into a conversation and eventually you’ll start to meet some really great people it will be easy to talk to.

    I have about ten people of the 1,000 plus I follow that I really talk to regularly and another 20-30 that I engage with when I have something to say. I’m not sure where those other 900 people are, but I hope to meet more of them some day.

    Good luck with navigating on Twitter!

    1. That’s a good point about potential spoilers. I usually trust bloggers I read often to warn me if something spoiler-y is coming up, but we all have different definitions of what a spoiler is! I usually do better if I’ve read a book, since I feel I can better respond to the review with my own reactions. That being said, I stalk blogs, too, since sometimes it’s easier than trying to craft a comment!

      It sounds like there are plenty of people in our Twitter boat and plenty others willing to advise us, which is great. It’s so hard not to be shy for me! I’m glad to hear you engage with a smaller group out of your many followers, because as follower numbers climb, it seems like an even more daunting task to keep up with them all. Thanks for your help and advice!

  26. 1. I’ve been a total failure of a Reading Buddy, but I still love that you’re doing it and aspire to contribute!

    2. Twitter is a total time suck. I love it, and I hate it. The first step: accept that you will not read books if you read every tweet in your timeline. Make use of lists (either via Twitter or Tweetdeck) of people you want to emulate or people you enjoy. Then you can use it asynchronously too.

    Happy BBAW!

    1. Carrie, I’d still love to have you along for Reading Buddies. I know we had discussed coordinating a bit, and if you’re still interested, I’d be happy to work something out! I hate to pester people, though, sometimes to the point of appearing indifferent, which is totally not the case.

      Haha, great Twitter advice! I must read books, so if I get better at Twitter, I will have to make sure I restrain myself. I’ve been working on lists but love your ideas about the sorts of lists to make! Thank you for the tips. Happy BBAW to you as well πŸ™‚

  27. You’re definitely not alone when it comes to replying to reviews of books you haven’t read. I feel like so many other bloggers read the books before I do, whether it’s because I’m behind on my “to read” list or because they received an early copy. So I never know what to say. If it’s a book I’m particularly excited about, I do try to thank them for stoking the excitement flames. Otherwise, like you, I look for the posts that maybe are a little more generic and are a bit easier to reply to.

    1. I’m often in the same boat. And then when it comes time to write my own review, I feel silly, since everyone has already talked about a book so much! I try to let bloggers know when they’ve really gotten me excited about a book, too, but struggle with the books I’m not really interested in. Thanks for weighing in!

  28. I like knowing that a review I’ve posted will inspire you to pick a book up or has peeked your interest so a comment to that affect is always appreciated. I agree with you that discussion posts are always the fun ones as well the interact in the comments too.

    1. I do try to post that sort of comment, but only if it’s true! It’s those reviews for books I’m not so interested in that are tough. I guess I should just let them go without comment! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the matter.

  29. Wow. What a truthful post! In my limited experience, I have found that comments are one of the best ways to connect. Although, I also struggle with what to say when I haven’t read a particular book. It’s easy to sound repetitive. I’m glad you asked about Twitter. I haven’t jumped on that bandwagon yet and I look forward to reading people’s thoughts on the subject.

    1. I’ve gotten some great advice on Twitter, so I hope you find something useful there as well! It’s definitely easy to sound repetitive with comments, and I hate when mine start to sound generic.

  30. I agree that it’s difficult to comment on reviews of books that you haven’t read. I try to do it but I always hope the blogger has put a little but of her own life or experience in the review and I can comment on that somehow! For commenting, the Sunday Salon posts are my favorite…and I like how they help us to get to know the blogger better.

    I love readalongs and reading groups particularly for the community. This is one of the reasons I’m going to start cutting back on books I agree to review because they take away from my time!

    Erin, thank you for asking about Twitter. It didn’t occur to me to do that in my post today. I wish it had. I am completely overwhelmed and mystified by Twitter. I’m just supposed to blurt out a sentence about the book I’m reading and send it out?! I don’t really get it. I even emailed a blogger a month or so ago who I know is on Twitter quite a bit and has won books and joined groups through Twitter. I’m still confuzzled. I hope you don’t mind if I read the advice to you from other bloggers re: Twitter! Good luck with Twitter!

    This is a great post, Erin!

    1. I agree, Amy, Sunday Salons are wonderful for commenting! If I’ve been away for a while and need to catch up, it’s often those posts I seek out. I’m trying to cut back on review books, too, so that I have more time for readalongs — I’m finding that, of the two, I find the readalongs to be more rewarding. I’m happy someone else feels the same way! So many bloggers are so into review copies that I feel like a bit of a weirdo giving them up πŸ™‚

      Re: Twitter, absolutely, read the advice others are supplying! I’ve gotten some good stuff. Someone suggested tweeting links to sites or posts you come across though the blogs you subscribe to. I’ve also been told it is 100% ok and even encouraged to jump into the middle of other people’s conversations. As Amy from Amy Reads pointed out in her post today, anything on Twitter is purposely public and, therefore, fair game for you to join in on. (Though I’m still going to find this really hard!) I’ve gotten a lot of suggestions to try TweetDeck, which I’ve been using and really like. Others have told me to set up lists (bloggers, publishers, people I want to keep in touch with, authors, etc.) and group people I follow into them. You can then set up columns in TweetDeck to follow each list, which sort of separates out the chaos a bit.

      If you want to discuss this stuff more, definitely drop me an email! I’m still learning, but I’d be happy to share what I’ve learned and to keep learning together. πŸ™‚

  31. I love what you said about commenting. Getting feedback on a post keeps you from feeling like you’re talking to yourself! It is a great way to get to know the blogger, too.

    As far as Twitter goes . . . so many bloggers have mentioned it this week, and I feel like I should want to do it, but I just don’t have the desire. Is that bad of me?? Good luck, though! Let us know how it goes.

    1. Yes, I definitely love knowing I’m not just talking to myself as well as the conversations that can happen in the comments section! As for Twitter, I’ve gotten some great advice on this post and am ready to try again. I’ve been on Twitter for a while now, but I mostly just watch all the chatter go by without joining in. I’ve found out today that a lot of people are Twitter-shy — it’s not for everyone! So if you’re not interested, no worries in not trying. There are other people out there who feel the same way.

  32. Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment! I really enjoyed reading your post, and I completely relate to your confusion about twitter. After I submit this comment, I’m going to go through all the comments and try to gather some insight. πŸ™‚ Twitter is fun, but I don’t feel like I’m utilizing it wisely yet. Can’t wait to learn more, though! Also, I’m going to look into your Reading Buddies feature. Sounds like another neat project you have going on.

    1. My pleasure! I really enjoyed your post. There is some really great advice on Twitter in the comments here, so please do peruse! We can dive into Twitter together πŸ™‚ I’d love to have you along for a Reading Buddies read sometime. Let me know if you have any questions!

  33. I am a sporadic Twitter user, at best. I use it to post notifications of new posts, but outside that I’m not on there often. Sometimes I’ll be there daily for a few weeks, then I won’t be on at all (outside the automatic feed notices) for a few weeks. It’s a good way to keep up on things, but I’d rather be reading blog posts than the tidbits on Twitter.

    As for comments for books you haven’t read, yeah, I don’t typically comment on those. Unless they’re books I’m dying to read and I’m confessing my jealousy! πŸ˜‰ Or a book I’ve heard a lot about and the review tells me something new. Or, if a review helps me decide once and for all to read a particular book. But, most of the time, I avoid reviews of books I haven’t read. I will skim them and check ratings (when applicable), but I have found even spoiler-free books can give me enough to figure things out way too early once I finally do read! πŸ˜‰

    1. I kind of feel the same way about blogs vs. Twitter, but I also feel like I’m missing out by not being more involved in the latter. I suppose ideally I’ll strike a balance! I’m often wary of reviews if I want to read a book that might be ruined by spoilers, too, and often skim. I’ve found people have such different definitions of what constitutes a spoiler that I’m better safe than sorry! Sometimes I don’t even read book jackets because they can give SO MUCH away!

      1. I totally know what you mean about twitter. That’s why sometimes I’m active daily! LOL It just got to where something had to go, so I cut back. I check it when I can, but I try not to worry about missing out. All that stuff makes its way over to Facebook eventually, anyway! πŸ˜‰

        OK, you must be plugged into my brain! LOL I rarely read the book jackets/backs right before reading them. For the same reason – I’ve had too many ruin books for me! I’m so happy I’m not the only one who does that – or doesn’t do that! πŸ˜‰

        By the way, thanks for stopping by my site and commenting earlier today! I am following you now – especially now that I see we have a lot in common in regards to spoilers and such! πŸ˜‰

        1. I wish Facebook was better with its privacy and groups and such! I’d love to find more bloggers there but really like to keep blogging and “real” life separate. If only Google Plus would catch on! I’ll give Twitter a try for now and see where that gets me.

          Whew, someone else who is ultra spoiler sensitive! I think people think I’m weird that I don’t even read jacket covers, but seriously, I’ve encountered some that have given away the plot of half the book! When I review books, I try very hard to keep anything I mention in the very beginning of the book. I also separate the summary out so that people who don’t want to read that part can skip it easily. It’s hard, though, because lots of people don’t do that!

          I’m following you now, too. Your post from today convinced me we have even more in common! πŸ™‚

          1. Yeah, I think Facebook is trying to be a bit better about that. I’ve noticed that they’ve beefed up the privacy options and stuff lately. We’ll see how that goes.

            Yes, I’m guessing my sensitivity to spoilers is in part because of the amount of reading I’ve done. As unique as authors try to be, there just seem to be formulas out there. Or trends. or something. I’ll read the synopsis when deciding whether to read it, but when I actually go to read it, I trust that I knew what I was doing when I chose that book and read without checking the cover!

            I try very hard to keep spoilers out, too. I hate them, so I try not to use them. But, I have discovered that there are some books that are just impossible to give a decent review without including spoilers. So I installed a spoiler add-on for WP and use that for when I feel I HAVE to talk about things you might not want to know before it occurs in the book. (Although it doesn’t work with my feed, but it’s still clearly marked as spoilers, so hopefully that’s good enough.)

            Yes, we definitely have a lot in common. πŸ™‚

          2. Yeah, Facebook is trying! What I really want, though, is the Google+ circle feature to come to Facebook. That would be perfect. Fingers crossed…

            I’d never even thought about the formulaic nature of a lot of books! I tend to be terrible at guessing where a book is going, so if I can avoid spoilers, I’m good to go. But as soon as I learn one big thing that happens in a book, I find I’m kind of turned off to reading it. I actually kind of prefer to read other bloggers’ thoughts on a book over summaries, if I’m going to read something — they give a hazier picture of the book while still giving me a sense of whether I’ll like it.

            I didn’t know there was a WP plug-in for spoilers! One blogger I know types out spoilers in white text so that you have to highlight them to read them against her white background. I haven’t used that technique yet, but I like it. I’m still stuck on the old fashioned “***SPOILER ALERT!***” technique.

          3. (It won’t let me respond to the latest comment of yours, so I’ll just respond here …)

            Yes, having the circles would be nice in FB. Have you noticed their changes this week? I think they’re trying to emulate it.

            If I can avoid it, I don’t read anything about a book until I’ve read it – well, aside from reading enough to know whether I want to read the book.

            Yes, I can look up the link for my spoiler thingy if you want. I used to do the white text thing, too, but I noticed that while my page loads it doesn’t hide it (because of the purple background)! So, that’s why the spoiler thingy. But, that isn’t working in my feeds, so I might do BOTH! Haven’t decided yet. LOL

          4. Yeah, pesky comment limit. I might be able to change that, if we’re going to keep having lengthy conversations πŸ™‚

            I just saw the new “circle” thing on FB tonight! I still want to be able to keep my name and info and such private, but maybe I should just give up on that. I’ll have to play around with it.

            Ha…I like that you’re so concerned about spoilers that you would consider double protecting readers from them. I certainly feel safe reading your blog now!

          5. LOL Comment limits are in place on my blog, too. I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation like this, though. LOL

            Not sure about Facebook’s circle things. I haven’t messed with them much yet.

            Thanks. I try. I’m sure my sensitivity to spoilers helps make me that much more diligent in keeping them from those who don’t like them.

          6. I haven’t, either! It’s fun though πŸ™‚

            I poked around a bit with the Facebook circle thing. It’s an improvement, I think. We’ll see where they go from here!

            Regarding spoilers, I had a comment from another blogger on my most recent Sunday Salon post where she expressed surprise that I was so sensitive to spoilers. She was asking if a spoiler makes me not want to read a book, or if I just don’t enjoy it as much, or what. I’m always a little surprised how many people seem not to mind the pesky things!

          7. I, too, am surprised by how many people don’t mind spoilers – even more surprised by the number who LIKE them and LOOK FOR them. For me, it takes away from the enjoyment. for me, part of reading is the journey, but also not seeing what’s coming. I’ve found that the more I read, the harder it is to surprise me. But, having an instinctive idea of what’s coming is quite different from knowing the details, ya know?

          8. Wait, there are people who LOOK FOR spoilers? Whoa. Why read the book then?? If I know where a book is going, why would I read it? And spoilers usually reveal the twists and unexpected bits, not the formulaic aspects you could work out on your own. I love the sort of book where you think you know where it’s going, but then it goes a completely other way that ends up being perfect.

  34. Hi! I use TweetDeck myself and have a lot of fellow bloggers on my follow list & many follow me back on Twitter but not on my blog. I’d rather have them on my blog to be honest.
    I feel as if my 1 little tweet gets lost in tweet land and I don’t want to be a pain in the butt so I won’t re tweet over and over.
    Twitter can be fun but I personally get overwhelmed.

    Thank you for the great insight on commenting. I wondered how diff ppl feel about it. I like to try to comment on more than a review. I often feel silly as if I am rambling too much.

    I want ppl to “see” I am truly interested in their post. I know it is not easy for blogs with a lot of followers & comments to personally reply.

    I have really enjoyed reading all of these diff BBAW posts. I have learned a lot & now have a better understanding of this awesome community I joined a month or so back.

    It can be a bit over whelming as the NKOTB. I had to learn to “RELAX” & to try not rush so much. I realistically cannot be just like the blogger I admire who has been here 1 year+ in less than 1 month. lolz.

    It is hard to find your niche as a newbie but I saw commenting and following up on comments left for you are great places to start.

    Thank you again for the great advice πŸ™‚

    Please stop by and say hi whenever you get a chance
    Books And Beyond

    1. I’ve been messing with TweetDeck and I like it! I have several columns going, which makes following the conversation a lot easier. I definitely know what you mean about feeling lost in the sea of tweets and am often shocked when someone actually sees one of my sporadic tweets and responds. I like hearing different people’s takes on things like commenting, too, and definitely want to make sure I let bloggers know when I’ve visited and enjoyed their content. Isn’t BBAW fun? There are so many different perspectives out there! I hope the week so far has encouraged you to keep blogging. It does take time to find your place as a blogger — I’m still working on it, for sure! Commenting is definitely a great place to start, and it seems like you actually read the posts before you comment, which every blogger will love. Just keep doing what you’re doing!

  35. Looks like you are getting some fantastic advice here. Personally, I ADORE twitter. And I think I’m better at twitter than I am at actually blogging. My advice is just to say what’s on your mind (you’ll be surprised what people respond to) and jump in to conversations (no worries about butting in). Follow anyone who looks interesting (you can always unfollow if they annoy you later).

    1. Yes, people have been so generous with their advice! I know there are tons of bloggers who just love Twitter, and I think I could be one of them once I get a better handle on what’s going on in all that craziness! I like your short and simple tips, especially the one about following now and unfollowing as needed. Thanks!

  36. Can I just gush about Twitter? Because I love it, I do. I don’t like Facebook. And, a few months ago there was a deal making the rounds on Twitter that said something like: Facebook is for the people you know and don’t like. Twitter is for the people you really like but don’t know.

    Now I won’t say I don’t like people on Facebook, but it is more fraught with issues. Twitter is very open. It’s easy to funnel people with similar interests into your lists.

    And after a while, you won’t feel like you have to read your whole stream. Jump on when you can. If someone is having a conversation, get on that! If they wanted it private, they would use the DM feature.

    I’ve met a lot of really cool people and been introduced to others I’m so glad I met. Enjoy! If it’s not for you, no biggie.

    1. Jenn, thanks so much for weighing in! I do think I’ll like Twitter, once I’m more comfortable, which is why I’m looking for advice (which people are so generously sharing!). I really don’t like Facebook either! And that’s a great point about the DM feature. I guess everyone on Twitter knows what they are saying is public and would not be saying it there if they objected to people joining in. I’ll try to remember that as I attempt to learn my way around what I’m sure will be a very fun social sphere!

  37. I’m like you – I have a hard time commenting on reviews of books I’ve never read. Although, I find it easier if it’s one I’m very excited and anxious for, since I try to find out as much as I can about those books.

    Now as for twitter! I love twitter =) I’ve been on it for a few years now, and am finally into the swing of things. Even when life gets crazy (which it does) I make sure to find a moment to just throw out a tweet about a book I’m reading, a new blog post, a reply or retweet or even something personal-ish. I definitely make use of lists: I have ones for bloggers, authors, booknews, friends (IRL), celebrities, and news. The main feed can get a little crowded, especially if you follow a lot of people, so lists are great to break things down and keep it calm.

    Twitter is just like this huge book club for me. Everyone’s all talking about different books, yes, but the conversation is all connected and huge and so much fun. I agree with what others have said – don’t be afraid to jump in and talk! It’s what keeps the flow going. It’s like I said in my #5…just be present, and things will happen from there =)

    1. Oh definitely, I find it easier to comment on ones I’m excited about, too, or ones that the blogger has convinced me to look into!

      Thanks for your Twitter advice! I like the booknews idea, since I don’t follow enough authors (yet?) to make it worth putting them in their own column. And I love the book club analogy! I’ve heard over and over that it’s ok to just jump in and join a conversation, and I’m finally starting to believe it. I’m going to try!

  38. I am awful at commenting. I am getting better, but I honestly just go through spurts where I read posts and don’t comment. I need to get out of that habit, so I am trying.

    As for twitter, I wasn’t sold on it at first. It took me a few months to get into it, but now I really enjoy going on and talking with other people. It is just one big chatroom!

    1. I go through those phases, too. Or I’ll avoid my Google Reader like the plague because I know if I open it, I’ll have to read and comment, and sometimes I just don’t have the energy! I’ve been watching Twitter for some time now, and I do think I like it, if I can just get a little more comfortable with it. I’ve really appreciated the advice and encouragement people have offered here — thanks for chipping in!

  39. Twitter can be overwhelming πŸ™‚ I’d recommend you follow some of the people your meeting this week through BBAW and just watch your feed for a week or so til you get the hang of it πŸ™‚

    1. I’ve been trying to follow people from this week! It helps that so many blogs feature prominent Twitter buttons, hard to miss. Thanks for the tips!

  40. Well with 96 comments on this post, I would say you have the commenting thing down pat!!! I can’t help you with Twitter – it overwhelms me πŸ™‚

    Re: commenting on reviews of books which I have not read…it varies for me. If it is a book that is in my stacks, but I have not read it yet, I typically scan the review (I don’t want to be influenced by someone else’s opinion before I read the book myself) and I mainly just look to see if it was a book they loved or not…and then I comment on that. If it is a book NOT in my stacks, I often read the whole review and then I comment on whether the review has enticed me to read the book and what about the review I appreciated.

    1. Thanks…this is an unusually high number for me, but I’m loving all the advice / support!

      It’s never even occurred to me to just skim reviews of books I’m planning to read! I guess I just hope bloggers are good about spoiler warnings…a bit risky. If it’s a blogger whose tastes sort of line up with my own, I often find I enjoy reading their perspective even before I pick the book up myself. Even if they disliked something about the book, if it’s a book I decided to pick up on my own, my feelings going in aren’t really affected. But, I can certainly see where they could be!

  41. I use tweetdeck as well, I have the app on my iPod too but I am generally an observer rather than participating much, mostly because I am in the wrong time zone to get involved. I have set up my blog to auto publish my post links to both Twitter (and Facebook via Networked Blogs) so if that is something you can set up via your host it makes things easier πŸ™‚

    I am as happy to receive ’empty comments’ as I am comments that refer to what I have written because at least I know people have read it. It bugs me to see a post has 200 views on my dashboard but there is only one comment or even none at all. Maybe it’s me though.

    Great post!

    1. I’m really liking TweetDeck! It seems great. I never considered the time zone issue, that’s too bad! I’ve got my blog posting to Facebook and have recently gotten Twitter working too (I think!). I’m happy to hear bloggers saying they enjoy the “Nice review!” type comments. Maybe I’m just jaded by all the meme responses that read “Great answer! Here’s mine:” and feel very shallow. I don’t want to come across as that kind of commenter! I don’t mind those kinds of comments either, especially when they’re from bloggers I’m familiar with. Thanks for your input!

  42. I don’t feel at all overwhelmed by Twitter, and I definitely don’t try to follow every conversation every begun or post “interesting tweets.” Maybe that’s the wrong attitude? I see Twitter as a big cafeteria, and I wander in where I please. If I see something interesting when I happen to click “Home,” I jump in. If not, I leave. I wouldn’t scream out, “Wait!! What has everyone individually been saying up to the point where I arrived?” in a cafeteria; klikewise, I just catch whatever stray comments I can when I arrive. If nothing is interesting right then, I grab my lunch and leave. πŸ™‚

    It really is like wandering into a bookish cafeteria. I might click on a specific name to see how they’ve been, just like I’d wander over to a table if I noticed a friend sitting there. I might say, “Yuk, this movie is terrible” on my own wall, the same way I’d make that announcement in a cafeteria if I had no one in particular to talk to. I don’t know — maybe I see it too casually. I’m the same about my blog: it is what it is. Pressure shouldn’t be included in bookish chat.

    1. Oh, Jillian, that might just be the best Twitter analogy I’ve ever heard. So clear and so helpful. Thank you, thank you!

  43. I did a series of posts over on my personal blog about my experience jumping into Twitter. Blogging about it as I went along helped force me to keep going and exploring Twitter. I fell away from it after a while because I just didn’t have time for it and blogging and work. I did find it was a cool way to kind of test-drive a new-to-me blogger though – by following their tweets to see if I liked their tone/info./etc. before deciding to add them to my Google Reader which I consider to be more “committed.”

    I recently re-vamped my Twitter approach taking it entirely away from a personal purpose and using it for my freelance writing work – looking to find out about new and upcoming events for the things I write about. I use it to mine for ideas to write about and to stay informed more than to network. But as I get more organized and have more time I hope to take it to the networking level as well.

    Thanks for posting about Twitter – your commenters have had lots of interesting things to say!

    1. Ooh, I’m sorry to have missed those! I’d think that’s a great way to explore something like Twitter. Not only are you held responsible, but you have support whenever you need it. I like the idea of “test driving” on Twitter, except that I often struggle to remember which Twitter account goes with which blogger if handles and gravatars don’t match!

      I do think I do better with a “themed” Twitter account, keeping my personal life mostly out of it. I’m more comfortable that way, and it gives me more of a focus. I’m glad that sort of approach has worked for you!

  44. i love reading reviews on book blogs but agree that it can be difficult to find something relevant to say in the comment unless i’ve read something similar or something by the same author. i probably comment on 40% of the reviews i read but often jot down titles so i can pick the books up later. i feel like bloggers (and publishing folks) shouldn’t equate comments with the number of people actually reading the the review (and possibly buying the book). i also enjoy seeing bloggers in a more personal light–it helps me to connect with them in other ways. i do try to post some personal stuff each month but have to be careful not to post photos of myself because i work in a high school and blogging, facebook, and twitter are generally frowned upon.

    great perspective, erin!

    1. My problem might be that I try to comment on every post I end up reading, which can get tiring! I think the importance of comments depends on your personal preference/goal. For publishers and authors and such, it seems stats — RSS and email subscribers, GFC followers, etc. — would be more important. If you blog for the conversational aspect, comments matter more than numbers. I remember you saying you worked in a school and had to be careful about posting photos and such! I don’t like posting photos that have people other than myself in them, just because it feels a little like an invasion of privacy.

  45. Reading through all these comments I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who struggles to comment thoughtfully on a consistent basis. I guess that’s one of the reasons why I like Reading Buddies so much; we’re reading the same book so I have something to (hopefully) thoughtfully comment upon.

    I joined twitter a year or two ago and then imploded my account because I was so overwhelmed. I got a new one earlier this year but I still don’t quite understand it. Everyone seems to reply beck to me when I’m class so I miss them and then feel silly responding back two hours later.

    1. I very much agree, Christina — that’s one of the reasons I love reading with other people. Having that common ground to work from can lead to much more meaningful comments! As for Twitter, I’ve found you can just reply whenever you get the message. It’s oddly both real-time and delayed that way. I’m learning it’s pretty much a free-for-all…anything seems to go!

  46. Comment, comment, comment. And this piece of advice is not just for blogs. The best way to get to know the power of Twitter is to jump right into discussions. No one will be offended, I swear. Blogging events, get-togethers and real-life friendships have been created on Twitter because one person was not afraid to jump into the middle of a discussion and participate. When you do so, you will find the world of Twitter will suddenly expand, and it will all make more sense. It is like blog commenting but much faster and with the knowledge that the person is there reading it in real time.

    1. I like your extension of the “comment” advice to Twitter. It’s been so helpful how different people have been explaining Twitter interaction to me — it really helps me understand how the madness works! Thanks for sharing your advice.

  47. I agree with you on the commenting. By virtual of reading the posts and formulating a comment and getting a response from the blogger, I feel really connected. It’s been hard the past several months/year when my time has been cut so short with work and the baby and I know that I feel more connected when I have time to comment rather than just post my batherings.

    In terms of commenting on reviews for books that I haven’t read, it is very difficult and I’ve found that I just can’t do it as often as I once did. I seem to focus more on the personal posts, Sunday Salon/discussions, or reviews of books I’ve read or would like to read. You’re right that some people are really good at those comments but I don’t like the feeling of commenting just to comment. πŸ™

    Basically, we just need more time in the day!! I like twitter because I can browse on my phone (shhhhhh) and like Michelle says, you can just jump right in.

    1. There’s a huge difference between just posting and actually getting involved with the community, isn’t there? BBAW reinvigorated that aspect for me, and I’m enjoying blogging much more. I must say, you still seem to be remarkably present for everything you have going on in your life! It’s nice there’s so much going on on Twitter — I feel like, in a way, it’s easier to keep up with people there, if you’re after the people aspect more than books. Though I could definitely go for more time in the day!

      Also, you are a phenomenal commenter on the posts you do comment on, so if you’re bad at posting on reviews of books you haven’t read, I definitely haven’t noticed!

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