Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2016 is hosted by Ana, Andi, Heather, and Jenny at The Estella Society. It’s a week dedicated to celebrating the hard work, dedication, and love we put into book blogging, and to nurturing the connections and sense of community we’ve been so lucky to find through it. Each day of the week has a dedicated theme/blogging topic.
Day 4: How do you stay connected to the community?
I love the fact that BBAW has been revived by a small group of bloggers who’ve been doing this for a long, long time–long enough to have been around when we really did feel that “the book blogger community” was pretty much one big, mostly manageable family. It’s hard to see it that way anymore, and looking back to this post from nearly five years ago, I think that’s been the case for a while:
“Book Blogger Appreciation Week was first celebrated in 2008, and I think I recall hearing that about 400 or so bloggers signed up for it; that seemed huge, but by 2010 it was probably at least twice that big, maybe more. There are many, many of us blogging about what we read and what we think about it, and we do it in many different ways. Considering that, it’s a challenge to hold together as a single ‘book-blogging community;’ once a group reaches a certain size, some sub-grouping tends to occur naturally as those with more in common seek each other out.“…And so we fragment. Some will seek out their tribes and be content to stay within them. Some may find that they just prefer the company of old friends. Some will continue to wander, but choose to limit their range. And some will just take their community as they find it. For some of us, this will still be one big book-blogger community, if an increasingly big and diversified one where many neighbors will stay strangers. For some of us, a sub-community within that big diversified community will be all the community we want or need. Each of us ends up defining ‘the community’ in a way that works for us.”
What defines “community” for me is maintaining relationships with a core group of bloggers I’ve associated with since early on–veterans who’ve been doing this for roughly seven to ten years now–and making new connections as offshoots from that group. I follow more than a hundred active book blogs, many of which have been in my Feedly for quite a while, and find new ones through their links and recommendations.
Maybe it’s more accurate to say I curate and maintain a network, and that’s what keeps me connected to the larger community?
If I wasn’t clear enough about it yet, my feed reader is my most consistent source of connection–reading posts and staying informed on what people are reading and doing. I am not as good about commenting on those posts as I’d like to be, but I do try to share significant ones on social media and in link roundups as often as I can. (I reply to nearly every comment on this blog, though, even if I don’t get out much!)
I do enjoy a great conversation on Twitter or Facebook, but I can fall down rabbit holes pretty easily in both those places, so if I don’t already know I have some spare time to spend there, I try not to wade in. But if something gets really hot on social media, someone will usually respond to it in a blog post, and I catch up on a lot of Twitterstorms and Facebook frenzies that way.
I’m an irregular participant in book-blogosphere events like Bloggiesta and the 24-Hour Readathon. I love the “we’re all in this together” camaraderie and mutual support–plus dedicated time for blogging projects and reading!–but goings-on in my offline life are usually a big factor in whether or not I join in.
I’ve been fortunate to meet and spend time with book bloggers while traveling, during meetups at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and at Book Expo America–three times in New York City, and three months from now in Chicago. My strongest sense of connection within the community comes through relationships that begin online and expand offline.