Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cool and Not Cool!? Talk to me!

http://www.eyesonbullying.org/images/wispering.jpg
picture 'borrowed' from here

In your opinion, do you think that the book blogging world has its 'in' crowd and therefore and 'out' crowd? Do you think the 'in' crowd is just as deserving of its 'in' status as high school cheerleaders, or do you think it is through hard work that they come to their deserved position?

Some certainly have an advantage of living by book meccas, or having more time to post, comment, and beautify their blog. But is that all it is? With our interactions growing from twitter, blogging, glue, vlogging, and commenting this is going to stand out more and more in the community. Personally I do feel like there are idolized book bloggers. The real question is, are they rightfully idolized, or are they not? My opinion? Well, (shhhhh don't say anything) but their reviews are no better than anyone elses. There are so many good reviews and posts out there. If this isn't about book reviews than what is it about? I don't know, but to me it does sometimes seem like a popularity contest.

How do you choose which blogs you love? Humor? Reviews? Clever ideas?

What do you think?


NOTE: This is a discussion post, please refrain from naming anyone or even implying anyone. Also, be kind to the other commenters. I will delete comments that I find offensive to the other commenters.

65 comments:

Alea said...

i definitely see your point! I guess personally I try and read a wide number of blogs but then there are the select few that I always read. I guess I've found their content to be the most compatible with what I find interesting. That being said, I find great new blogs all the time! Great topic, I'm subscribing to the comments!

bethany said...

Alea- Yes, I agree about having personal favourites, since their tastes have proven to match yours and that makes complete sense. I do that too!! :)

Liyana said...

I'm a newcomer to the book blogging world, so my experience with this is pretty limited.

My main purpose is to write book reviews. If there are people who like my reviews, then I'm happy. If they don't like it and tell me so, I'm happy too, because they take the time to actually read what I have to say. Some reviews are better then others no doubt, but it doesn't make them any less important than the less well written ones.

As for the in crowd and the out crowd, so far, everyone's been welcoming and friendly.

violetcrush said...

For me there is no cool or uncool. If I don't like a certain site does not mean it is not cool. There might be others who think it is cool. It's more like whom you can connect with. Personally I do favor a few sites more than the others but that has nothing to do with how popular they are.

I do agree some bloggers work way too hard and it is appreciated but not all people have the luxury of spending so much time on their blogs, nor the inclination. It's your own choice and convenience.

Thats it. Did what I say just now made any sense? It felt like rambling to me :)

birdbrainbb.net said...

I do feel sometimes like there's a "cool kids" clique in the book blog world, and that I'm not in it. Publishers love them, authors love them, other bloggers love them, they love each other and it's very hard to break into their group. It makes me really frustrated (and jealous, I'll admit it), and maybe if I watched more after-school specials I would have been more prepared to handle it, but I've been trying to get over it myself by doing a few things:

1. telling myself that the v. popular bloggers are just people, too. They're popular because they're doing something right, and I should pay attention to them to figure out what they're doing (and then doing it myself).

2. talking to the popular bloggers either on their blogs or through Twitter or whatever. If I talk to them like I talk to everyone else, then it's no big deal that they're more popular than I am, right? Right!

3. making a special effort to talk to people who maybe aren't getting that many comments or subscribers so they don't feel as crappy as I feel sometimes.

4. talking more to publishers and authors, etc., so I can make my own connections and relationships and sort of...make my own popularity?

Turns out I made a few friends this way, and now I don't feel so bad about myself. :D It's hard though, and it's nice to finally be able to talk to someone about it. So, thanks for this post! :D

- Anastasia

bethany said...

Liyana- WELCOME!! Yes, you are right the this is a great community! I do enjoy stirring things up a bit and asking questions so that we can all see and come to understand how we feel on issues.

Violetcrush- yes, I think we all have our favourite blogs, the ones I personally love the most are the ones with a true community feel and in which my tastes match up somewhat.

The more time the better right!?!

Of course you made sense, I am (obviously) a rambler.

farmlanebooks said...

I'm not sure there is cool and uncool, but there are certainly different levels of popularity.

I don't care about how popular a blog is - I'm far more interested in whether they read similar books to me, write good reviews and communicate with commentors.

I often find that the ones publishers love are very different to the ones I do. I'm looking for honest reviews, and people who have strong links to publishers often avoid offending them by failing to find faults in the books they review.

bethany said...

Anastasia- yes, that click feel is hard. I think that is what is hardest for me too. I love your suggestions and I was going to post suggestions on how to make it into the cool crowd...but then it sounded like I was in the cool crowd and I don't think I am, so....I didn't post ideas. Yours are so great though and I fully agree that the issue here is that most of the 'not cools' just don't do anything about getting themselves out there!! I love what you have to say, it is so right.

bethany said...

farmlanebooks- Yeah, I think that is very true. The stronger their duties are to publishers the more their reviews are just going to be a general feel of the book and not nearly the heart that those who don't have personal ties would put into it. I think that is so true and I am constantly working on that myself. I want to be as honest as possible (obviously not offensive to the authors) but giving honest reviews is what is most important.

And yes, again I agree that similarity in tastes is more valuable to me than how popular or how many comments a blog gets.

Chris said...

I see your point for sure. I think that book blogging is increasingly gaining "celebrities" with all of the new twitters and glues that are popping up. But honestly, I don't pay much attention to that. I read many of the "in" blogs because I enjoy them, but then again there are some really popular blogs that just don't do it for me. When it comes down to it, I'll love a blog even if I'm the only one reading it if the content is good. Great subject!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Interesting question! I have a few (rambling/random!) thoughts:

The first is that one of the great benefits of the internet and blogs is that it's a fairly level playinig field. We choose who we "play with" (read blogs, comment, converse) based on content, not how we look, what kind of house we live in, age, etc. For book bloggers, the common ground is a love a books and promoting reading of all types.

You're point about where people live and what events they have access to is a good one. I'm fortunate to live near a metro area with lots of great bookstores, colleges, etc., so there are tons of fantastic bookish events to attend. Even these events (and the blog posts that follow them) should be about sharing information ... not "I did this", but "I learned this, and I want to share it with you".

I read a wide variety of blogs - most are highly focused on books and book-related posts, some are funnier, some chattier. Some post more about other issues or TV shows ... this type of post might not interest me as much, but it's part of the blogger's personality, and gives me a better picture of who I'm interacting with.

There are some whose blogs I read and comment on who don't visit/comment on my blog. I've wondered about that, but in the end know that I enjoy reading these blogs, whether or not the blog author decides my blog is something that appeals to him/her.

I told you it would be rambling ... I'll check back to read other comments that come in!

Dawn
She is Too Fond of Books

Anna said...

I never really thought about the popular/unpopular thing. I read a bunch of book blogs and they're all different in some ways. I guess the ones I read most often are ones that review the kind of books I most enjoy. But I definitely don't limit myself because I'd miss out on some great people and some great books if I did that. For me, I just love to read and I love to talk about what I read. If people enjoy what I write, that's great. If they don't, that's okay, too. I'm with Alea, I discover new blogs frequently. I can't always keep up with every post on every blog, but I do my best. :)

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Jena said...

Oh, I was really trying not to think of the book blogging world as having a high school-like hierarchy. I follow bloggers that tend to share my tastes in books. or who are just really fun, regardless of whether I'd ever read the books they read. But I read blogs via RSS feed, which allows me to browse--and skip all those memes and reviews I have no interest in.

But that's really a different kind of question, isn't it--in-crowd vs. personal tastes? I think the "in-crowd" bloggers are the people who do a lot to contribute to the book blogging society as a whole--they create challenges and organize online events like the read-a-thon this weekend.

J.C. Montgomery said...

This is a great question and a very brave one at that. Thanks for voicing something I have been unable to articulate well myself.

I do feel that a "clique" does exist, however I am not surprised or upset as I see this happening in most aspects of society.

Most of us are very social creatures and tend to group together according to our likes, dislikes, interests, etc.

The only times I have been "irked" by some of these bloggers is when discussions arise over who is "top-tier" and who isn't - implying that there are "classes" of bloggers such as there are "classes" of people. (Upper, middle, lower)

Yes, there are good blogs and bad ones. Those out for only free books and prestige and those genuinely dedicated to reading, reviewing, and sharing their love of literature.

My choices as to who I read or follow vary greatly. I never check out their ranking in deciding.

I look at their content and if their personalily comes through strongly, and I find it refreshing or intriguing, I follow them. I find it gives me such a diverse look at what's out there.

I could go on, but most of how I feel has already been said - especially by Anastasia and Dawn, as I agree wholeheartedly with their comments.

The only downside to the every growing blogging community, is that my feeder is growing leaps and bounds and I am not only finding it difficult to comment as much as I would like, I am beginning to not respond to comments as much as I would like on my own blog - and that bothers me. I would love to acknowledge everyone who visits. But many to not leave an email addy and I wonder if they ever return to see if I've actually responded.

Hmm. I am thinking that is another post for someone - or I am thinking that is already is, I just haven't come across it yet. (If you saw my reader, you'd understand. lol)

Geez, I think I've rambled on enough. Thanks again for this post and the opportunity to discuss.

S. Krishna said...

I'm not sure on the popular/unpopular thing. I think there are blogs that are better known generally, but that's because they host challenges and events and are just really active in the blogging world. I read all kinds of blogs, usually based on whether they read books I like or not. Still, it's a really interesting discussion!

Chris said...

You know that saying: I don't much about art, but I know what I like. I think that applies to me and book blogs. I like them to be funny or personable. I might have my favorites but I'm always looking for new blogs to read. My Google Reader might explode.

And yes, the harder you work at it, the more results you see.

thebookladysblog.com said...

I don't really think of it as an in-group/out-group thing, though I think you're right that there is some of that going around. I subscribe to about a bazillion blogs because I like to see what's out there, but I only comment 1) when I have time and 2) when the post is really interesting or relevant to me. I just don't have the time to comment on everything I read, nor do I have something interesting to say about everything I read. Some of my favorite blogs are not necessarily popular, and some of the popular ones are, to me, not very impressive. But there's no accounting for taste, right?

I love that we're able to be more connected, but I don't want to be connected all the time, and I don't have the time to be, anyway. I couldn't sit on Twitter all day chatting with other bloggers, even if I wanted to. I do think that bloggers who are able to be hyper-connected get increased traffic and attention, but I'm not so sure that's always justified.

Bottom line, I read the blogs that I think have substance, relevance, and something interesting to offer, and I don't really worry about whether they're "cool" or not. Likewise, I try not to spend much time obsessing about my blog stats---I just hope that the readers I have enjoy what I'm doing.

Trish said...

I'm going to read all of the comments, but I haven't read them yet--so sorry if I'm repeating or contradicting.

I have seen a noticable change in the blogosphere in the past year and I'm not always sure I like the way that it is going. With all of the hubbub about that anonymous comment on Amy's blog a few weeks ago, I think a lot of us have taken a look at what we are doing and what we aren't doing (or what others are doing). I think there IS a cool crowd, although I'm not entirely sure who is in that cool crowd. I could guess at a few names and I think that there are a few that have grabbed the reins of the blogging community and are steering it in one direction or another. I love this community, but I often feel like I am on the periphery because I don't have time to blog as much--some weeks it seems I'm really active, and then I'll have a couple down weeks. I can't commit to twitter and I feel like I am missing out a lot because of that (although I don't WANT blogging to be my entire life). I'm not sure what glue is and I just heard the term "vlog" yesterday at Natasha's. Sometimes it is discouraging to be pushed to the edge by the bigger bloggers, but I think a lot of that is also in my head.

It seems that there has been a huge influx of bloggers the past couple of months--one blogger compiled a list of all the book blogs (probably not extensive) and it totalled over 600!!!!! How does one find an audience with 600 people? It is difficult to not make it a competition, which I don't want AT ALL but find myself trying to step up my game a little bit. Oh my gosh, Bethany--I'm ranting--I could go on and on.

I agree that some of "those" book blogger's reviews aren't any more spectacular than other people's. One thing that I kind of wish would die down a little bit are the daily memes (the mailbox monday, teaser tuesday, friday fill-ins, etc etc etc--I think there are sometimes two or three of these memes a day). They are a great way to meet new bloggers, I think, but I miss the good ole reviews or the heated discussions (like this one). I hope this doesn't offend anyone...really really hope.

LOL--sorry Bethany. You know I like to ramble. Probably should have just emailed you. :)

thewrittenword said...

Awesome post! To be honest, I never really thought about a blog being cool or not cool, but am aware that there are bloggers who get more attention from authors and publishers than other bloggers. Would I like to get the page hits that some of my fellow bloggers get? Sure! But many of the more popular book bloggers work really hard on the content and look of their blogs and also really develop relationships with people in the book publishing industry. This takes time and lots of hard work and I commend my fellow book bloggers who do so well.
As far as my favorite blogs, it all depends on their content. If they read the same books that I am interested in and write a good review, then I'll follow them. It doesn't matter to me how popular they are.
Anastasia - I am really sorry that you feel this way. My most favorite blogs doesn't get a ton of hits, but she is a fabulous writer and this is why I follow her. Just remember that this should be a fun hobby for yourself and don't take this stuff too seriously. Reading (and talking about books) is supposed to be fun! - Stephanie

katrina said...

Of course there is an 'in' crowd. I think some deserve it - their blogs are well written and laid out and they often hold great challenges.
I got rid of a lot of the blogs on my google reader because I haven't got the time or the inclination to read 80 odd posts an evening. (I keep thinking I would get a lot more reading done if I didn't blog, but then I'd have missed out on discovering great books.
I don't read a lot of the weekly memes, and there is only one that I participate in and that is through a comment not a post. I also avoid books which give away tons of books, have loads of publisher info etc, these ones seem like they are trying to grab readers.
Personally I stick to the same 30odd blogs and skim through, reading posts that interest me and only comment if I have something to say - I need to have an evening, and I can't justify hours on here when I should be marking books or seeing friends.
Great post!

Ramya said...

It is my turn to be jealous now..:) you do have the talent of briging relevant topicsto light and making people talk!

here's my take on the whole thing:

When I started my blog in 2005, there was no book blogging community or atleast not to my knowledge.. and then suddenly book blogs starting cropping up and now every other person seems to have a book blog! It is obviously great that so many people are interested in books and the internet has made it possible to meet so many people with similar interests as you..

And yes, I have noticed that some bloggers are WAY more popular than many others.. and frankly, many of the blogs intimidate me. When I read something I want to comment on and I see 55 responses or the like, I usually don't land up responding coz there's no point..

I have found a set of bloggers that I am most comfortable with and I make sure I visit their blogs often and leave comments and in return, they visit me too! That is what is important to me.. the friend;y interaction and the sense of familiarity..


And like Trish, I have to admit that as much as I would love to interact with everyone, I don't have the time to post regularly or even comment on every blog I read.. I guess that totally pushes me out of the "in" group.. but I am happy where I am!

I know I am not going to twitter even though that seems to the book blogging mantra these days and I know I'll never do anything that dictates the turns that the book blogging community takes..

(I am such a rambler too!!:)

bethany said...

Chris- Yes, there are SO many more of us than when I started, and that was only about a year ago!

I am a strong believer in commenting on people's posts as a form of encouragement, it is hard to be the newbie! Glad you like the topic, this is great fun.

Dawn- Oh, I love ramblers!! I am one...and it makes sense to me :)

I love the perspective you give when you say: should be about sharing information ... not "I did this", but "I learned this, and I want to share it with you.

I think that is key!!! It is not about bragging, but brining bookie things to those who are not in the same area, or could not make it to the event. In all honesty most of the time it seems like bragging to me, but I think that is also because I wish I could have been there too. (I am honest, what can I say!?)

I also love that there are so many different tastes in blogs, and that is another good point as well. If we all emulate a certain type of blog, won't we loose that diversity of flavours??

I like what you say here too on commenting on blogs which do not return the favor:

"In the end know that I enjoy reading these blogs, whether or not the blog author decides my blog is something that appeals to him/her."

That is excellent! So you see it as two separate things, not something reciprocal. Do you think you feel the same way about people that are not reciprocating that are not inundated in comments? Or does that not matter?

Thanks so much for your response!!


Anna- Yeah, I don't think most people can keep up with comments all the time, and there is always something left that could be done. I agree that it is always fun to find new-to-you blogs!

Jena- I am so thankful too for my reader! Oh, I would be crazy if I have to check out all the blogs and posts all the time.

But this, what you say here is really key:

"I think the "in-crowd" bloggers are the people who do a lot to contribute to the book blogging society as a whole--they create challenges and organize online events like the read-a-thon this weekend".

That is so good! Those that we all know better...is it because they work a lot harder? Huh, well the ones that do all the challenges, help others work on their blogs, and organize events (YAY FOR THE read-a-thon!!) do do a lot more than just the regular reviewer to improve the community. They take ownership.

Thanks so much for bringing that up, it is SO true.


J.C. Montgomery-
No one could ever write a comment long enough (that is on topic and not spam) that would ever annoy me!! The longer the better right!!?!

I am glad you think it is brave, I felt so myself and was really worried about offending...but this is an honest blog and I wanted to know what people's feelings and thoughts were on this, so maybe curiosity won out over my fear. Lets hope I don't get into trouble!

I too feel there is a clique. There is always one, always in society. And the book blogging society is not any different.

I like what you say here:

"The only times I have been "irked" by some of these bloggers is when discussions arise over who is "top-tier" and who isn't - implying that there are "classes" of bloggers such as there are "classes" of people. (Upper, middle, lower)"

No one likes being looked down on, or classified and I think this is important, really important to remember, that no matter how many visitors you get a month, be classy about it!

I too love blogs with personality! Those are my faves. I like to think I know the person, I know it is silly..but I like chatty!

I feel ya on this sista:

"I am not only finding it difficult to comment as much as I would like, I am beginning to not respond to comments as much as I would like on my own blog - and that bothers me. I would love to acknowledge everyone who visits."

It is so hard to keep up!! Even when I try I am always behind in comments, and commenting on people's blogs. AH! (lets not think about that!)

I did have a discussion on commenting a while back. If you want I can find it for you. :) There were some really good ideas left there.

Thanks so much for your comment, loved it!


S. Krishna-
I am so glad you brought this up too, Jena mentioned it as well. I love what you say here:

"I think there are blogs that are better known generally, but that's because they host challenges and events and are just really active in the blogging world".

I agree. There is so much behind the scenes that these people do, it is so amazing!!

Glad you joined the discussion :) Thanks.

Chris- Yes, the more you work, the more it will be noticed that is very true. You can't just sit around waiting for people to come by. Bring 'em in! :)

Thanks for mentioning that!



TO ALL:

Wow guys, this is fun!! Thanks to all of you who are commenting and keeping up on the discussion :)

mjmbecky said...

Wow...what an interesting discussion! It seems that the only difference really is among those who have created a following much sooner than those who have not? Honestly though, we're such a great community of readers, that it feels as though there are a lot of people all looking for the same things: good things to read and people to share them with! In the end, we're all networking for another great read! :)

Becky said...

Interesting discussion. I don't really think in terms of cool/uncool. If I did I would always ever put myself in the uncool camp simply because it's hard for me to ever *feel* like I could be an insider versus an outsider.

I read a lot of blogs--probably close to two hundred or so a day--and while I may not comment on each and every one, I am reading. I am visiting. I think it's easier to read and not comment than it is to commit to leaving comments every where you go.

Sure I love getting comments, but I'm not always good about leaving them. Do I need to work on this? Probably. But my intentions are good.

I think there are different blogs for different needs. If you find a blogger whose taste are similar to your own, it's only natural that you're going to follow that blog more closely than others. That you're going to comment more, connect more.

But it's not--in my opinion--a situation that is limited. There is always room for more. It's not a matter of shutting new bloggers out. Or playing favorites. It's a matter of being 'discovered' in a way. If that makes sense. In other words, I can't visit a blog or follow a blog, if I don't know the blog exists. If a blogger wants to find connections, they'll seek out other blogs, leave comments, join challenges, participate in memes, join twitter discussions, join yahoo groups and such.

Somebody has to make the first step, has to reach out and say "hi" and I have found the community to be welcoming. Sure, it might be intimidating if you're shy to say "hi" and you wish that people would discover you and your great blog all on their own.

About memes. There are pros and cons. On the one hand, it's a way for newbies to "play" with other blogs. Memes are for everyone. They include everyone. You don't have to be part of the in group to take part. You don't have to be invited to play along. You don't have to wait on the sidelines wishing that you could join in. You can get involved with the community then and there and on your own terms. It's a way to find new blogs. On the other hand, if a blog is only about doing memes, then it may have trouble finding long-term readers. It depends on what people are looking for. Some readers seek out personal posts where the discussion focuses on the personal life, their likes and dislikes of tv shows, movies, music, politics, religion, whatever. And other blogs are more about reviewing things, reviewing books for example. And these reviews do vary from blog to blog. Some are subjective. Some are more general. Sometimes you find a blogger who just really suits your style, your taste, you just click.
I personally think the more original the better it is. For example, bloggers who only join in cut-and-paste blog tours and memes, I'm less likely to read on a regular basis. Nothing inherently wrong with such posts, they're just not what I'm needing.

Jen said...

I have a feeling that a lot of the people that others would consider to be the 'cool' crowd don't even know they're in it. I think a lot of it just has to do with who has strong personalities (again, in a good way) and who has a lot of time to dedicate to networking/building community, posting, improving their blog, etc. All these things make others feel like they 'know' a blogger and thus want to visit that blogger more often. They also often get to know the publishers in much the same way, I think.

I do have a few bloggers I really admire, and I think it is mostly because of the reasons I listed above. What makes it all different from high school is that these bloggers (at least the ones that I think of when you say 'in crowd') are super sweet and helpful and don't consider themselves to be better than others. That being said, I've been trying to branch out lately and do more reading/commenting on blogs that don't just belong to those 'cool' people and have found a lot of great blogs in the mean time.

Jen - Devourer of Books

Ali said...

Some are more active, or have been blogging longer, so they get to know others better. I don't think of it as an "in crowd," though. There are some who write great reviews and don't get as much attention because they don't take the time to get involved.

The one thing that bothers me is the various awards. They're cute, but it starts to feel like a popularity contest and I wonder if people's feelings get hurt when they don't get picked as much as others. I'm honored to receive them on occasion but I've decided to downplay them on my blog.

BiblioMom said...

I'm so busy being a single working mom that I don't spend much time on blogs or even writing on my own so I'm not sure about "in" crowds but I do wonder where people find the time to read so much.

Like I said I'm a single, full time working mom and people think that *I* read a lot, but I don't compared to most book bloggers. I'm amazed at how much people can read and have a life at the same time. I find it inspirational. I also love that through book blogs I no longer feel like the "weird" one. I've always been a reading island in a sea of non readers. (except for my sister who happens to be a librarian) Through blogs and the internet I've found that I'm just one of many and through numbers I feel more normal than I have in years.

Now if I could only find the "in" crowd of single Moms who really wish that they could read more and write more!

bethany said...

Thebookladysblog- You bring up some very good points! I love what you say about the posts that you comment on, because you WANT to. I too need to follow that!! :)

I agree with this that you say as well:

"I do think that bloggers who are able to be hyper-connected get increased traffic and attention, but I'm not so sure that's always justified".

I guess it depends on weather you live to blog or blog to live...right!?


Trish- I too have noticed a change, and I think that is what made me start thinking about this issue to begin with.

I too think most of the time it is maybe in our heads...if we would just think bigger right? I know it depends on how much time you have and who you know. However I agree that sometimes I feel like the blogging world is being pulled in a direction that I don't want to go.

I know what you are saying and why you are ranting (we all are :) I think the influx of blogs is pretty hard, (or easy) depending on if we are on the top or the bottom of the whole ordeal.

I am so glad you wrote that all out! I do agree, the memes...well I just don't do them it seems like a FWD to me. (sorry don't mean to hurt feelings there)

Thank you so much Trish, I am trying to make my responses shorter because I can't keep up and I really am trying to keep up on this discussion!! (not very successfully) :(

Stephanie (written word)-
Thanks for bringing that up! Yes, there is hard work being done for sure! Tons of it!


Katrina- hahah! Yes I too have felt that I could get more reading done if I didn't have a reviewing blog, and then have realized as you did that then I would have the exposure to all the good books!! :) Rock and a hard place!? for me it is.


Ramya- haha!! I hope I end up on good terms after this little discussion...that is all I hope for. It stirred up more than I expected :(

Yes, for better or for worse there has been an increase in blogs, and I too get intimidated and don't post on posts with tons of comments. Is that bad? Maybe...maybe we should! Who cares if the post is loved by 50 other people, should I love it any less? I don't know. I think I am a rebel and always have been.

The community, I love that part of it! But the closer we get the more issues right?

bethany said...

mjmbecky- Sometimes it matters that people started blogging sooner, others it doesn't!

I so agree and am thankful for this community!

Becky- yes, it is interesting to see how we even classify ourselves?? I didn't classify anyone, but we all seemed to start feeling like we were in or out.

I agree that the community is actually very welcoming and friendly. I love that about this bloggie world :)

Ali- Yes I was thinking about awards too. thanks for mentioning that. Some people get millions of them and others don't. I have been thinking about that for a while and haven't really posted the awards coming my way. I thank the giver and am grateful, but it is hard to want to brag.

TO ALL: Okay. I think I am done commenting on this post. I may even close the comments soon. I don't want to deal with negative all day long.

Florinda said...

Terrific discussion here! Since I'm coming in a little late, some of my points have already been made by others, but I'll toss them into the mix anyway:

I agree with Ali about the awards - if anything seems to point to an "in" crowd, they're part of it, I think. They're fun, but it does seem like the same people are always getting them (which isn't meant to imply that they don't deserve them, but it does feel like a popularity contest).

As a few others have said, the more prominent book bloggers do seem to be those that who are more active beyond their own blogs - hosting events and challenges, and interacting with commenters and readers in other places (like Twitter and Facebook), in addition to their book reviews.

I have a ridiculous number of blogs in my Google Reader, and I love finding new ones. But the ones I stick with the most are well written, share some interests with me, show personality, and mix up their content (NOT being all books all the time is fine by me!).

I tend to agree with Dawn about book blogging being a fairly level playing field - I see a LOT more variance between the "big" and "small" bloggers (cool/uncool) in the mom-blog realm, where I hang out on the fringes. I think there's room for all of it here, as long as we're doing it because we love reading and talking about reading.

Nymeth said...

Hi Bethany - I hope you won't mind one more comment. I promise not to be negative :P

I see what you and some commenters mean about a change - there seems to be a lot more emphasis on giveaways, review copies, interviews, contests, etc. than there was two or even one year ago. But, I think that goes with a change in the publishing industry at large. Publishers seem to be reaching out to bloggers more and investing more in online marketing.

As for feeling that there's an "in" and an "out" crowd, I think that part of the issue here might be that the blogging community is just too big these days for there to be a single circle, a singe direction, a single social network. I'm guessing that even the most popular bloggers aren't known by every single other blogger in the community. It's just too big for there to be a centre anymore. So what we have are subgroups, several smaller communities inside the larger one. It might sound like I'm saying that there are cliques, but I really think this inevitably happens everywhere where you have a large number of people. And as long as we remain welcoming, which I think we really are, it's all good.

Anyway...paranoia is my middle name, so I understand very well how easy it is to feel left out sometimes. But I think you, and the other commenters who said they feel like they're in the periphery sometimes, are much more appreciated than you realize.

Maw Books said...

The book blogging community has exploded in the past year. There are literally thousands of us. It's only natural that people with similiar tastes tend to grativate towards one another. Are there cliques? To tell you the truth, I feel like everybody who has commented on this post so far is part of a clique. Do we go hang out with the paranormal romance blogs, the poetry blogs, the mystery blogs, the non-fiction blogs, the erotica blogs, etc, etc, etc? And while there is some overlap between the kidlit and YA bloggers, even they tend to gravitate towards their own. What I'm saying is that the blogosphere is HUGE! We do find those people who are comfortable with each other and that's who we tend to stick with.

As far as an in and out crowd? I hope not! And if some people feel like they can't break in if they do perceive one, well, I don't know what's holding them back. I don't see any reason for any blogger to assume an air of exclusivity (is that a word?). Yes, there are some bloggers who do work harder at their blogs then others, who find the time to be able to leave comments on every single blogger who has ever visited them, find the time to organize meme's, challenges, and events. Me? I host nothing. Participate in zero meme's. I seriously am in awe of the bloggers who seem to be able to do it all.

There are bloggers who are lax, casually write posts and then wonder why they don't have the page views or comment counts as other blogs. Are their reviews just as well written. Yes! The only difference is the time and effort put forth into building relationships.

r I read blogs all the time and quietly envy them for a talent which I don't have. And I do envy those bloggers who seem to come home to a box of a dozen books or more for review.

I liked what one commenter said, (sorry I can't remember who said it) about people going to bookish events. I don't know how lucky I am to have so many things going on in SLC but I hope that I have that same "look what I learned, and let me share" attitude. I'm very lucky to be able to go to LA and NYC in the next month. I don't know how I talked my husband into it, but I hope that by meeting other bloggers in real life doesn't make the ones who aren't able to go feel bad. To tell you the truth, this thought has crossed my mind more than once. And it's only because more than meeting other bloggers I'll miss the ones that I wish I could also meet. I don't think I'll be going to Portland and I'm going to be super jealous of the ones who do.

Whoa. When did this comment get so long? So, I think we tend to gravitate towards those blogs we like and work well with. There are no "top tier" blogs or "lower tier" blogs but there are blogs who have managed to make themselves stand out in the crowd. I don't think book blogging should be a popularity contest. If we all do our best and meet the goals that we have set out for ourselves, what else matters?

Jennifer said...

I can completely relate to your post. I think that being on Twitter heightens that sense that there is an in and out crowd. Just like in school, I feel like I float in between. I don't really think that this is a conscious effort on anyone's part, though. People navigate to blogs and blogger they relate to. Most of the time I don't worry about it, but there are times when I feel like the odd blogger out. For example, when you jump on Twitter and everyone is talking about X and you have no idea what X is. I also try to talk myself down because I can't be on my blog or on Twitter all day. I have job and a family, etc... If I commented more on other blogs I would probably feel more included. Something's got to give, though. I try to be happy with what I have and know that nothing is personal (I hope! LOL!).

Jennifer @ The Literate Housewife Review

claire said...

Hi Bethany.. sorry for another post. I also promise not to be negative. You know I'm fairly new here and just want to say how overwhelming discovering the book blogging community was for me. When I began my blog in December, I didn't know there was this community at all. I only started book blogging because I had one friend (read: one) from high school who lives so far away and we like sharing our reads with each other. I have my own private network in Multiply with close friends and family only, just sharing photos of the kids, being so far away from them. But as I read a lot, I thought to separate my book thoughts, and I never thought of them as reviews.

Incidentally, I found the memes and the giveaways and I was so excited.. who doesn't want free books, right? Especially for someone like me who doesn't have an income, being a stay-at-home mom.

Anyway, (sorry for rambling).. I haven't really thought about cool or uncool bloggers. Like Jena said, the most popular bloggers do a lot to contribute to the community. To add to that, I think one reason they are so popular is that they are so very very nice.

As for me, personally, my favourite blogs, as said by the other commenters, are those who like the same books as I do.

I don't really consider my blog as a book review blog and I don't really see myself as someone anyone should trust when they are looking for "real" reviews, as I am well aware I don't write reviews well (I'm not very critical and I'm redundant and I almost always like what I read).

However, I keep posting because I used to write in a handwritten journal and I would love to continue that, but only online, as I love the community and you know, I do appreciate being able to receive free books every once in a while. It really takes a load off our expenses. I also only try to get free books of those I would really love to read.

Whoops, forgive me for going off topic here but you've posted such a thought-provoking issue. And, yes, ultimately, I love reading other book blogs because I am just super nosy about seeing what other people read!!

claire said...

P.S. On hindsight, I don't really mind if I don't get any traffic. In fact, when I started blogging, I was totally scared that other people besides my friend would read it!! (Does that sound bizarre? It's true!)

But, when comments started coming in, and I found new "friends".. I was so happy because I have never had a close friend in real life who reads as much as I do, and discovering all you wonderful people who are as passionate about reading was a relief.. knowing that I am not abnormal after all! :D

Truly, what I love about book blogging now, I never expected before. What I love are the wonderful "readers" I've met. It's such a joy to have friends who are like me, even if only online.

trish said...

I've had a post drafted for months now on this topic, which I think I'll dust off and post to augment what you've written.

I want to say that I think there's a cool crowd, but I hesitate to say that. I think the "popular" bloggers work hard at what they do. Are their reviews better than others? Maybe not, but they *are* more involved. Ask Pro Blogger what it takes to get traffic to your blog: WORK! And that's what those blogs do that *do* receive the large amounts of traffic.

On the other hand, I think the book blogging community is very accepting and reachable...I know that any comment I leave on a book blog will be read and appreciated by the blogger, no matter how many other comments are already there, so that's why I hesitate about the cool and uncool.

bethany said...

Bibliomom-

yes it is hard to find the time for all the blogging things that one would like with children, I can't even imagine trying to do it as a single mom!

I am so glad that you have come to enjoy book blogging so much and have found a pace amongst us all :)


Florinda-

I agree about the awards, and you are also right that the people who get them really do deserve them. It is hard though, should no one get awards if not everyone can have them?

I really think it is key to be involved in helping to promote more than just your blog, but to help others and help the community through things like the read-a-thon. If you don't invest- I guess it is goofy to expect return, right!? Thank you for your comment!

Nymeth-

Thank you for your comment! I agree that the blogger community has lost its personal feel, and there is no longer an ability to be in just one circle and hear what everyone is even doing! I think it is hard to see that go...but at the same time I am really excited about our increased impact on the book industry.

Thanks for your comment!


Natasha (Maw books)-

Thank you so much for your well thought out answer and it is nice to have you chime in on here as well. Yes, it certainly is understandable that we'd flock toward those who read what we like to read and all that, that makes sense and we all do it even if we don't know we do.

As far as an 'in' crowd, well it is there-and it is pretty obvious, but after reading the comments on this post I am realizing it really is inevitable for that to happen in any type of society.

I agree though and it has also been said before that you can't just sit back and expect it to happen for you, that readers will find you, comment and love you forever. It really is a thing you need to take a hold of and make happen (if that is what you want obviously).

You are MORE than lucky to go to all those events!! :) I also loved what was said, that it shouldn't be a 'see look what I did' but more of a way to show those who didn't get to go type of thing.

Anyway, so yes great points!

Jennifer-

Thanks for your comment. It really is hard to not know what is going on. The real deal though, is that nothing like that is being done 'to' us, so it isn't something to take personally! hehe...easier said than done when you feel on the outside though. But it really is true.

Commenting is great to help you feel included, because when you comment people do (most of the time) end up commenting back!! I love that :) And of course it isn't personal!!!!

Claire-
I love how you came to book blogging!! It is such a neat thing isn't it!? And in all fairness this community is one of the kindest I have encountered, and BY FAR the best one I have ever been in online.

I really agree about the joys of having any readers at all and just how neat it is to write something and have people comment on it.
Thanks so much for your comments!!

Trish-
Yes, I had to pick some words and just picked cool and uncool. I am (after I comment on this comment) going to draft up a review of all that we all *should have* learned today :)

There will always be someone better, bigger and nicer..but this community is so amazing and really a good place for us all- cool or uncool!! hahaha!



TO ALL: Thanks folks. I am going to write up a wrap up post now, with the most amazingly insightful quotes form the comments you all left. Thank you all for your contributions and your extremely well thought out answers and ideas.

Stephanie said...

Hi Bethany! As always, a great post!! I probably won't write anything different, but I did want to make a few comments.

Of course there are "cliques" in the blogging community. It is that way in life, and it is what it is. I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. People do tend to gravitate toward others that think like them. Do I feel a part of it?? Sometimes. And sometimes, whether it's real or perceived, I just feel like I'm trying to hard to get accepted. (Lord, if that doesn't make me sound like a teen, I don't know what does!)

I try not to be "lax" on my blog. But I blog because I enjoy it...anything else would seem like work. I already have a job (actually 2!) and I don't need or want another one. I do Twitter. Not nearly as much as some...and frankly, I think I do because I like to feel like I'm a part of something....even if it's only on the edge.

I really wish I had the time to blog more. But even if I did, I don't know if I would. Sometimes now I worry that I don't have anything relevant to say!

I read a number of blogs because I like the people who write them. The explosion that has happened in the last year is great. Can there ever be too many blogs? I don't think so. I think there will always be room for more. Book blogging is about sharing a love of books. To make that something exclusive would just be wrong. There is always enough love to go around!!

The one thing that I do regret is not being able to join in the meet and greets. Being from Peoria, Illinois (the cultural wasteland of this country!) there just isn't much opportunity. And I'm not at a point in my life when I can drop everything and head to NYC or LA for Book Expos. As much as I would LOVE to do it, I just don't have the money...or could leave my kids to go.

Now that I've wasted so much space, I'll go. I didn't mean to write so much!! Thanks for a great topic!! (and truthfully, you would definitely be one of the cool kids!)

Pamela said...

I am completely new to book blogging (bookalicio.us) but not to blogging in general. I do not feel that there are cliques at all. I feel there are people who work hard and want to learn about the internet, be social and bring traffic to their blog.

I am blessed with the gift of gab and sometimes the gift of writing, my artsy bullcrap got me through college when I had nothing to say about a subject I could write a ten pager.

I am also lucky to have a fiance who is a developer for Yahoo! So any venture I choose to make on the internet looks lovely is coded to validate and works. When I want a new feature it's very easy, he finds a plug-in for my wordpress or he builds the plug in himself.

I waited until my design was done and I had some reviews under my belt and I created a at least 200 unique a day using SEO and marketing from my other internet properties, such as (eurobands.us). After I had my 200 a day, I then launched my social network promo and have been very lucky to be accepted and worked with and taught by some of these strong personalities that may be perceived as the 'in crowd'.
My experience has been as a completely new blogger with no bias that if you make an effort to comment and talk via social networking to these people they will talk back. If you make a mistake they are forgiving and knowledgeable enough to help you not make it again.
I love the blogging community!

Shelley said...

I enjoy a variety of book blogs, but I have to admit that my favorites are those that like the same books as I do. I just feel a connection to them and know that they probably will have read a book that I have and we can get a discussion going. I do still enjoy reading other blogs to get out of my comfort zone and try new things.
As far as my own blog, I've never been in the "in" crowd in real life, so I don't expect it with my blog LOL! And that's just fine with me. I love my visitors and followers, though.

Wendy said...

I don't really think an "in" crowd exists - perhaps it is just perception. But there are definitely more popular blogs and less popular blogs...Personally I subscribe to well over 300 lit-blogs on my Google Reader. The ones I like the most review a lot of books of the genres I most like to read. I don't always agree with the blogger on a review, but I love to see other people's thoughts on a book. I also enjoy blogs that introduce other content...I'm an animal lover, so if people post photos of their pets, I almost always come back to their blog!! There are so many blogs out there, I think there is more than enough readership to support them. By the way, I don't twitter, I don't do facebook. I just visit and comment on the blogs I enjoy...and I love to have people come back and say hello to me. BUT, even if I got zero traffic, I'd probably still be blogging about books and stuff....

Christine said...

I'll not touch much on the in-crowd/out-crowd aspect as I think it's been fairly thoroughly covered (The short version: yes, there is a definite in-crowd. No, their blogs are not particularly special -- on the whole I think they just do more work).

But as to how I choose which blogs I love, I can actually be quite ruthless when it comes to pruning my (ever-growing) feed reader. I don't hesitate to un-subscribe to a blog that doesn't entertain and/or educate (which sometimes means that there are some that I drop, then try again, then drop again, then try again...). I like the blogs to be at least two of the following three things:

- intelligent
- funny
- informative

(This is not to say that I don't fall short of that myself. But it is what I prefer to read and how I prefer to write, when I can).

The thing that drives me the craziest are memes. I hardly ever participate because most of them drive me crazy -- some blogs seem to be nothing but! TSS on Sunday, Monday Mailbox, Tuesday Thingers or Tuesday Teasers (loathe!), Wordless Wednesday, BTT, Friday Fill-ins... more than one or so a week and you know that I'm skimming, if not outright dropping, your feed. Too often, I think that memes are used to fulfil the impetus to post something, anything! -- but I'd much rather that bloggers stay silent for a few days and come back when they're ready.

And that goes hand in hand with this: I've never dropped a subscription for a blog that updated too infrequently. I could name several blogs I've stopped reading because they update much too frequently for my taste. It doesn't mean that they were writing bad stuff, necessarily -- just that it was too much for me to want to keep up with.

There's one more point I'd like to address, from Natasha:

There are bloggers who are lax, casually write posts and then wonder why they don't have the page views or comment counts as other blogs. Are their reviews just as well written. Yes! The only difference is the time and effort put forth into building relationships.I'm not sure about some of the assumptions in this comment -- namely that bloggers who post less frequently are "lax" (should I read: lazy?) and that they don't understand if they get fewer readers or comments. I write with a pace that suits my schedule: I'm also in university and work part-time, and blogging is only a small part of my life. An infrequent schedule doesn't necessarily point to any cavalierness on the author's part, or mean that what they write is unimportant (indeed, one might argue that infrequent posts are more likely to be well considered than those thrown out after each other in unending succession).

It depends on why we're all doing this, I think, and that answer will be different from person to person. I'm not really in it for the huge subscriber numbers. I am always pleasantly surprised/honoured that people are reading my blog, the ad revenue is nice... but ultimately I need it mostly as a space to blather. Community is nice, but for me, it's a fringe benefit.

I fear that I have rambled some and lost my points. Better end, then!

ANovelMenagerie said...

Bethany,

Your blog is one that I've read, pretty much since I've been blogging. I loved your blog post about the bookstore.

In response to your topic: I think that I was intimidated by a couple of the stronger blogs in the beginning of my short blogging life. The bloggers were larger than life to me. But, really, every one of them that I reached out to was really quite nice back to me (as were you... and, I view your blog as being pretty high up there, B!).

In response to your commentors: I DO put work into my blog because it's fun for me. It's my creative outlet and I like to make sure that there is a post each day. Suprisingly, I write most of my posts on the weekend and schedule them so that the blog doesn't absorb my life. What HAS absorbed my life is reading, and I love it! If it weren't for the books, I'd be in the LOONEY BIN by now. Blogging and meeting so many of you has been my lifeline out of a very dark and deep depression. Truthfully, it really angers me when people make insulting remarks about others who are seemingly 'making their blog their entire life' (or, similar comments).


This my argument why awards are a GOOD thing! I have met SOOOO many bloggers and have been introduced to blogs via the award MEMEs. Even though I love them, they are a pain-in-the-U-know-where to write because of all the linking and comments you have to do yourself. But, when you can introduce blogs you like to others by giving them an award, I think you're really being a good blog-buddy by adding to their blog's growth. And, you get to share your taste in blogs.

I know I'm late on the comments on this post... but, Bethany I am writing this not for your commentors but to you. Your blog post made me sad, in a way. I kept thinking... what if I get popular some day, are people going to start thiking of my blog differently? Here I am getting excited when my stats have a good day and cheery when I get 3 comments on a post. Aren't I supposed to feel good about that... vs. worried about perception if my blog traffic increases?

If I'm not in the "in" crowd, that's okay. I wasn't in the "in" crowd growing up and I don't care if I'm not now. I have met great people who read my blog and I read theirs. I read over 200 blogs via RSS Atom feed so I can only comment when I am emotionally drawn to do so (like now). In my opinion, I like what I like. I can share with you that I've met many "newbies" and I that is what I consider myself to be as I'm not even a year old yet (too young to be popular, yet). But, if I ever do get to be in the "in" crowd... I'll be happy that my reading and creativity has brought me there... AND I won't change a thing about who I am as a blogger and whose blogs I like to read (like yours).

Thanks for letting me comment!

Sheri
A Novel Menagerie

Maw Books said...

To Christine - I only mean lax in the sense that some bloggers who don't put a lot of work into their blog wonder why they aren't as popular as other blogs. That's not to say that they don't have a dedicated readership. I read several blogs who only update once or twice a week, don't participate in social networking but get tons of comments. I'm not saying their lazy. I'm certainly not one to judge that. I totally recognize that we all have different goals for our blogs and what we want to get out of them. I only mean that the bloggers who are complaining about the lack of page views, comments, etc, should take a look at how hard they are working their blog.

Amy said...

I can finally comment!!

Great discussion and I just love what everyone said. But I really love what Nymeth said. And the reason is exactly that...it's impossible to be in community with thousands of people, so you sort of segment off. I wouldn't call them cliques...I think anyone is welcome join...but rather pockets of community.

And while I definitely read mostly blogs with similar tastes, I also read blogs where I just love the blogger. For example, I don't think Nymeth and I read very many of the same books, but how could you not love her? She's a daily must read for me. I also read a good deal of blogs in romancelandia...not because we read the same books but because I think they're wonderful people. And they supported me a lot when I worked on BBAW...so I feel a kinship with them.

And I don't mean to be bragging about going to events, but I'm not going to apologize either. I definitely hope to share them..it's why I'm going!

Overall, i love the book blogging community and I sincerely think that every single one of us battles insecurities at some time or another.

Ramya said...

lol Bethany - now here's a 45 comment post that usually intimidates me.. but that's definitely one of the most interactive comment sections i have seen in a long time.. it definitely has been interesting reading everyone's responses..

Christine said...

@mawbooks I understand. I don't think that I was addressing your remark specifically so much as a attitude I've run into (of which your note reminded me / was a handy place to spring off). I agree wholeheartedly that those who are whingeing about page views etc. should start trying more and/or different things on their own to up those stats.

It probably comes down to insecurity, since I've seen this attitude run both ways: according to one camp, the other is made up of Lazy Slackers -- and according to that camp, the first is made up of The Crazies. Both views are too broad to have much of a chance of being accurate.

All a bit silly, really.

Ti said...

Yes, there are cliques but they aren't quite the same as the ones in high school. Book blogs to me, even the very popular ones, seem to be much more accepting than your typical high school cliques. Why is that? Because as a rule, they really do it for the books and the love of reading and that is the one bond that we ALL have.

I get a little overwhelmed in Twitter when I say hello or Tweet my first post of the day and then there are like 25 tweets that end up burying my "hello" but Twitter is like 1000 people in a room screaming at each other, the loudest will be heard. Sometimes I re-Tweet, sometimes I logoff and call it a day. I don't take it personally per se.

To be honest with you, I get tired of reading about the same books over and over again so I try to mix it up by visiting a lot of different blogs. The ones that I stick with are the ones that seem genuine to me.

I do wonder about return comments once in awhile. I try to post thoughtful comments and it would be nice to get a return comment every now and then. A lot of the blogs in my reader do that faithfully, some others...not so much and sometimes never!!

And how do you feel about blog rolls?? I sometimes wonder what it would take to be listed in the blog roll of some of the more popular blogs.

softdrink said...

Woo-hoo, the comments are still open!

I like what Sheri said about her blog being a creative outlet. Mine is, too. I like to play with the formatting and colors occasionally...plus, it lets me feel like I'm learning something. :-) But I do all that for me. I don't keep track of stats or visits or any of that stuff. I check keyword search occasionally, because it's amusing, but I could care less how many visitors I get. Which isn't to say I don't love my visitors...I do!!!!!

This is also why I don't have a policy page. I accept the occasional book for review on a blog tour, but those are few and far between these days. I like to know that I either bought my book or borrowed it from the library and then I don't feel guilty for saying what I think.

I do like contests, and have had fantastic luck, which is why I like to hold them in return. But almost all are my own, rather than publisher sponsored, or whatever.

So...all that to say I'm not actively promoting my blog. And I do feel that some people market theirs more than the majority of us do. Which might be part of why there are more "popular" blogs. But I'm in it for two reasons...to remember what I read, and to connect with fellow readers over books.

The only thing I regret about the explosion of book bloggers is that I can't connect with everyone. Like most of us, I struggle with commenting and feeling like I'm ignoring people if I haven't left a comment in awhile.

I think I'm rambling, too. I'll go away now.

Literary Feline said...

When I first began blogging, I was in awe of so many of the blogs I found. Quite a few were the more academic and scholarly sites. They were nothing I could ever come close to aspiring to given the direction I wanted to take my blog. And so I was thrilled when I discovered there were other bloggers like me out there--more casual and informal (and I don't necessarily mean this in terms of not working hard or putting more effort in--I think it's more a feel or the atmosphere of the blog. I hope that makes sense). I felt right at home. I follow quite a few blogs that range in size and style. I love the diversity out there and I think there is a place for all of us.

I gravitate towards blogs that carry content I am interested in reading, most definitely. And that would include bloggers in which I have similar interests and tastes--but not always. Differences are good too, after all. And I am a sucker for humor. :-) But I am also interested in the community aspect of blogging. I enjoy the interactions between blogger and reader, and that is another factor that will draw me to a blog.

I haven't really thought of the book blogging community as having an "in crowd"--at least not as a whole. As I said, I believe there is a place for all of us. And we all have something to offer each other. I think we all have our own ideas of what being a popular or successful blogger is. With maybe a few exceptions (because there always are, aren't there?), many of us probably think we could do better--be better. I know I do. There's always room for improvement. And believe me, I could use a lot of it! I definitely wish I was more creative. I envy those who are full of ideas and come up with great discussion points like this one. I admit I rely a lot on memes to help me with post ideas. Often times, those are the posts that get the most comments while my reviews get quite a few less. Some of you will think to yourselves that I shouldn't care about the number of comments. Maybe I shouldn't. I really do value quality over quantity, honest. :-) But sometimes it can be discouraging just the same.

I have come across blogs in which I feel out of place, like I'm not sure I belong. It may be because of content or the tone of the blog. It's just a lack of connection. Much like reading a book that I just don't care for. That doesn't mean the blog is bad or anything--just maybe not for me. More often than not though, I find myself following too many blogs and I have trouble keeping up.

I enjoy exploring new blogs and meeting new people with similar interests as I. I still have a lot to learn and meanwhile, I can also offer a helping hand to those who might not know quite as much as I do.

I admit that reading a couple of the comments above did make me cringe a little. But then I reminded myself that we all have our own preferences. I can't stand coffee. My mother can't go a day without it. And as long as I am happy with the direction I have gone with my blog, than that is all that really matters at this point. Blogging is something I do for fun. I work very hard at it, but I don't ever want to feel like I have to live up to someone else's expectations. I'm the one who has to live with me after all.

In my offline life, I have never quite fit in. I have always been on the outside--and I came to appreciate that position. In the book blogging community, I feel like I belong. I don't think it's a matter of popularity or being a part of the "in crowd". At least not for me. It's about being a part of something I enjoy and taking great pleasure in it. For me, that is what is most important.

Alyce said...

I try to read a wide variety of blogs, some are humorous in their writing style, while others are more serious. I think what my favorites have in common is the ability to articulate their opinions clearly, and the discipline to use a spell-checker before they hit the publish button. Other than that I like having a variety of opinions at my fingertips.

There are times (usually hormone related) where I feel like I'm not doing enough with my blog and it could be so much better (of course in comparison to some other blog). For example - why don't I have a weekly meme at my blog, or why haven't I created an awesome original challenge yet? Or why don't I spend as much time on twitter as other people?

Most of the time I choose not to worry so much about it though and just do what I can handle for now.

Alyce said...

Ok, I finally finished reading through all of the comments. My biggest surprise is finding out how hated memes are.

I've always enjoyed participating in the memes. I like those that ask a question that teaches me something (like Tuesday Thingers) or ask a thought-provoking question (like Booking Through Thursday). More than anything else though, I like discovering new blogs that participate in those memes.

I do participate in a lot of memes and have been considering dropping a couple of them recently (because having a meme every day does seem a little bit much). I may have to think about this more seriously now that I know how many people are offended by them.

Valorie said...

There is definitely an 'in' crowd of book bloggers, and I am definitely not in it, but that doesn't matter much. Sure, in 'in' book bloggers get a lot of good ARC and free books for review, but a book blogger doesn't need these things. In the end, book blogging is a hobby. I love it and I have nothing against buying all of the books I read and review.

As for whether some of these 'in' blogs deserve their 'fame...'

Sort of a tender issue. Some do because they are friendly, have time to comment, make time to comment, and post great reviews. Some, I will admit, I don't.

Yet, a person's blog is their own. They (just as I) can write anything they want. I'm sure my blog bores tons of people! But it's mine.

There are tons of book bloggers that I highly respect. A lot I am a fan of. I don't comment much, sure, but I have a nicely packed Google Reader that I flip through every day after work.

Trish said...

Alyce - I'm commenting back on this since I mentioned the overload of memes in my comment earlier. I think Becky said it best about the memes. There are definite pros and cons, but for me, it seems like some of the questions just repeat from meme to meme (and maybe that's just because I've been blogging for a while?). I really didn't mean any offense with my comment about the memes, and I hope it wasn't taken that way.

When I can only get onto my google reader sporadically, and bloggers are posting multiple times a day, something has to give. I'd rather spend my time reading reviews and other topics such as this one than see what people got in the mail or other various things. It's not that these things aren't interesting, there just isn't enough time in the day. I think everyone has the posts they skip and the ones they have/want to read. For me, I skip giveaways, memes, and author interviews. I hate doing this sometimes, but time is a huge issue. Again, not trying to offend. :(

I don't think anyone hates them!! :)

Alyce said...

Trish - Did you read my post about memes today? Just curious. :)

You totally didn't offend me! I've actually been very interested to see what other people think about the memes because I've been feeling a little overwhelmed by them lately (on my own site) and thinking of cutting back.

I agree that themes seem to repeat, and sometimes a post can end up being filler more than anything else. I want to cut back on that so that I can focus on other things (like spending more time reading). I know I won't cut out the memes altogether though because there are some that I am fond of.

I didn't think before I used the word "hate." I'm sure there are few people who truly hate memes. :)

I totally agree about the blog feed reader getting backed up. I don't skip anything in particular, but rather just look at what suits my mood. I'm so far behind right now because I've added a ton of blogs to my reader.

I Heart Monster said...

As a testament to how uncool I am, I just found this thread. I think I saw reference to it earlier, but no link. Oy. I just wanted to say that being less than a month old, everyone in this community has been super duper welcoming and supportive to me, and I get what y'all are saying about the cool/uncool, but here's what I have to say to you about that:

Be yourself. Love yourself. If you're not in the 'cool kids' group, then I guess the 'cool kids' are missing out, right?

And sorry if someone already said that, I gave up on comments about half way through them.

Gwendolyn B. said...

I guess I must be the Pluto of the blogosphere - I don't think my blog is even a planet!
Maybe everyone is burnt out on this topic by now, so I'll keep my comments short. This IS a great community, and I'm so glad that I've found my way into it. I love the exchange of ideas and feelings - and some people thought computers would dehumanize us! Really, everyone I've dealt with has been generous, supportive, and kind. There's all sorts of us out here, and we all have varying degrees and areas of expertise. But, there's also plenty of room for us to play in, a great framework for personal growth and reflection, and wonderful opportunities to help, teach, and learn. All that variety makes things interesting, and it's what keeps me coming around!

booklineandsinker said...

i'm new to book blogging but have been writing a 'life' blog for almost a year and half.

i think that the main way to earn friends in any blogging community is to post regularly and engage your readers, write meaningful and topical comments on other blogs, and just be yourself.

i don't know who the 'in kids' are...i just visit blogs that i like and hope people like what i have to say.

great topic, by the way! :)

planetbooks said...

Great post! I like to think (and am told by my visitors) that my book reviews are insightful and interesting. I try to read books that everyone hasn't already reviewed but that gets difficult when we are all part of the same book blog tours.
I tend to be attracted to book blogs because of the books they are reviewing or something whimsical and clever has caught my attention in the blogger's writing. Also, I have had some good luck in coming across bloggers who live in the area I will be moving to next month. It might be nice to go to book signing events with them!

Serena said...

I'm really behind on this discussion and a lot of blogs.

I tend to read posts from blogs that most interest me because of topic, discussion, or book review. However, there are some blogs I read more often because I've made a connection with them as people through their blog, email, what have you.

I really don't think about popularity too much, never have. As an introverted writer, I've often been on the outside looking in and it doesn't bother me. I think its really a matter of perception as well. Blog traffic increases the more you interact with others and the more you post quality entries on your blog.

I really like working with everyone in the "community." If i don't comment often, its probably because I have other life activities or job-related tasks I have to take care of or because that google reader with nearly 400 subscriptions is getting out of control.

Marie Burton said...

My response is here.. and a big hug to all of us..
We are a community and we should be proud of it!!

Lori L said...

I'm coming in late to this whole discussion. As I just commented at Trish's blog, I'm pretty sure I'm not cool, so I don't worry about it. I started blogging for an online book group and kept at it once the group finished.

I choose the book blogs I read based on their reviews and if the books they tend to read would be potentially of interest to me. I like an eclectic mix of books, so many book blogs appeal to me. I don't read romances, so I tend to avoid a blog with too many of those reviews. Actually, there are so many great book blogs out there that I don't have time to read as many as I would if I could.

Callista said...

I'm really behind in my google reader so I'm just NOW seeing this, sorry.

There are more popular bloggers and for the most part they've earned that, they post regularily, host things, have contacts and possibly are even in the media.

I will admit though that sometimes I feel a little jealous of the blogs that started recently but are very popular. I've been working hard I think ever since I decided to make my blog more than just a personal record of reviews (mid 2007)

Someone mentioned the different "cliques" like all of us that regularily talk and the romance bloggers, mystery bloggers, kidlit etc.. It's true, there are different "cliques" of book reviewers but like someone said, I'd like to think we're pretty open to new members.

Bethany you mentioned feeling on the outside. I kind of felt that way until I realized that I can't wait for the "popular" bloggers to talk to me first. Ever since I've actively chatted with them (on twitter and book blogs plus through their blogs) I've gotten to know them better and I feel a little more in.

As for memes, I do think some blogs use too many. They are great for new bloggers to get new visitors and help with posting-block but I would say no more than 3 a week. I do Mailbox Monday, Booking Through Thursday and Friday Finds and I don't even do them all every week. I only do BTT questions I really have a good answer for.

Oops sorry. I'd intended to keep this short. We need a Ramblers Anonymous group I think. LOL

Gavin said...

Bethany - I just found this thread, have been offline for a couple of days. What a great discussion.

I have found the book blogging community open and supportive in ways I never expected. After thinking about it for quite a while I started my blog because I wanted to share my thoughts about what I was reading, strengthen my writing and become involved in the this community.

We're all different and that's what makes this whole thing wonderful. I visit blogs because of the books and because of the voices of the bloggers. I have a special place in my heart for those who reached out to me and made me feel welcome. I hope I can help others by doing the same.

MizB said...

My response to this discussion is here, because it's triggered some insecurity in me.

But, I also agree with what a lot of commenters, and this post itself, have said. The more seemingly "popular" blogs are the ones where the bloggers have put more WORK into it. And, we "choose who we play with" (as Dawn wrote) by what we resonate with -- by what we relate to most.

Great discussion! Thanks for posting this! :D