How does that add to the community?
There’s been a fair amount of discussion about positivity in the book blogging community lately and it’s got me thinking about a couple of things. The first is that while I started the blog in 2011, I apparently haven’t been paying enough attention to the YA book blogging world to notice this shift others are seeing. I’ve always found that I straddle YA book blogging and SFF book blogging (there isn’t really Adult book blogging as far as I can tell), so I’m okay missing trends like this in either community since they kind of blur in my mind. However, the other thing I’ve been thinking about is how I go about making my own decisions about what to post here, what to say on Twitter, what to post to Instagram, what to say in a comment, etc.
My golden rule: I ask myself if what I’m about to do has usefulness to the members of the community I’m trying to build.
Sure if I’m super excited about something, I don’t really agonize over running down a checklist, I just do the thing I’m excited to do. However, whenever I’m unsure because I could really go either way or because I have some second thought for some reason, I mentally ask myself questions along these lines:
- Does it provide useful information to my readers or just clutter?
- Might it brighten someone else’s day or dampen it?
- Does it build my brand in the way I want or do I not want it associated with all the hard work I do?
Here are some of the ways these conversations in my head have gone lately (and this is of course for me personally, not telling anyone else what to do):
- Book hauls – I’ve decided to stop posting book hauls here on the blog for a while. I found them to be more work and not much fun for me anymore and I am honestly starting to question the use of them much at all. I’ve started skipping them completely on other blogs because they only cause jealousy and overspending for me. So if that’s the feeling I was getting from seeing others book hauls, why would I want to post them here and potentially make other people feel that way? I also have taken this approach with Instagram lately where I feel little desire to post pictures of every new ARC I get my hands on or take lots of pictures of highly coveted ARCs since it just seems a good way of causing more jealousy in our community without any happy feelings for me.
- NetGalley 80% badge – I noticed the other day that NetGalley is getting on the badge bandwagon and has a badge for being above 80% on your feedback-to-approval rating along with one for being a reviewer. I really love badges (it’s the gamer in me!) so at first I was tempted by the pretty. And then I realized it doesn’t matter much to me and it might make someone else stress that their own rating isn’t as high as they want it, so I decided not to put it on the blog.
- Promo posts – I have been pretty against most promo posts from the outset here since I’ve never seen their usefulness. I’ve posted a cover reveal or two for smaller indie books because I genuinely think my readers would enjoy them and haven’t heard of them yet. But if I think most of you already know about a book because it is all over the blogging world, I don’t feel like posting about it until I have something unique to say such as my opinion after reading it.
Basically, if it doesn’t add anything positive and might have a negative, I don’t do it. If I was really excited about it, sure. But if I don’t really care one way or the other, why chance bringing down someone else?
Of course the flip side to this is not letting yourself start to overanalyze every little thing you do, but if you are generally only posting things that you are really excited about, that seems like a safe bet! And of course if there is something that I do that does have a negative impact on your life, I honestly want to hear about it so I don’t continue doing it in quite that way. There is almost certainly a middle ground between not doing something I find enjoyable and doing it in a way that hurts others after all! Moderation is key I suspect ;-).
Update: I feel the need to include a brief addendum since it seems from some comments that some of my meaning wasn’t clear. Some seem to have concluded that I shouldn’t approve of negative reviews by this same logic since I am trying to please everyone. That is not my meaning at all because I am asking if a post is useful to my community; negative reviews are very useful and I strongly believe in telling my friends when I don’t think they’d like a book. My aim is not to please everyone, my aim is to make sure that what I am posting does more good than harm, and honest information is a very good thing.
So what do you think? Could this be a way of moving our community towards a more positive focus?
This is part of the 2015 Discussion Post Challenge!
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