Sunday, August 5, 2018

Some Thoughts on Book Blogging



So I've been thinking about book blogging lately and some of the things that make it so important to me. I've been doing this for roughly five years, I guess, now? That in itself is hard to believe! I remember doing my first few posts and having no clue. Amazingly I was swept up into this crazy hobby and met some fantastic people- right out of the gate I had people supporting me and offering tips or just being friendly. So it seems a good time to reflect on the journey thus far, and share a few observations I've made along the way. 

Blogger friends are real friends

Seriously- I talk to online friends more than I talk to real life friends now. Part of that is just a function of blogging daily, but still... it's kind of amazing to me. And frankly many of my fellow bloggers I consider true friends, even if we've never met. When a blogger friend loses someone, or goes through a hard time, or has a triumph, I feel right along with them. Not just a generic "aw, that's too bad" or a "congratulations!" but genuine sharing. 

I talk to people around the world every day

Think about that a sec. I talk to people in other countries every day- we all do. Prior to blogging I didn't know anyone in Finland, New Zealand, or Singapore. Just to give three examples. That alone is such a privilege. We constantly hear about globalization and how the world is smaller now, interconnected, and it's true. When I think about not blogging, or never having started, I would be missing out on so much- and so many international friends. 

Blogging is a closed loop

Well, book blogging anyway. I'm sure some of us reach a non- blogger audience, but realistically I think for a lot of us, our primary audience is... other book bloggers. I've seen people mention this before, and it's true. My comments are almost always from other book bloggers! We are sort of our own closed loop, or mini universe of sorts. A community of like- minded people who come together to share a passion that the outside world doesn't always get? 

Diversity 

I have LGBTQ friends in real life but we don't often talk issues? Since joining this community I have learned so much, and questioned many of my assumptions, and for that I'm grateful. 

Sure there's drama

But there's drama in real life too. And frankly most of the book blog drama seems to be on Twitter? Easily avoided. :) 

ALL the books

Seriously, my reading habits have changed so much, and I've discovered so many books I would have never even known about, if I hadn't started blogging. Most of my favorites I've discovered due to blogging. 

It's not just books

It's probably not an exaggeration to say that blogging has changed my life. I mean from the way I spend my time, to the new friends I've made, to how I think about books. I've discovered new fandoms, new shows, and new perspectives- but most importantly of all, it's the new friendships that I treasure the most. 

93 comments:

  1. I have to agree Greg, I've had also met some wonderful book bloggers and some lasting friendships. I had no idea there was book drama, until I joined Twitter.. lol

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    1. Yes it's amazing isn't it? I never imagined how many genuine, awesome friendships I would make! And lol about Twitter.

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  2. I talk to my blogging friends more than my real life friends now too. And I definitely consider some of my fellow bloggers real friends. And I've that so many book bloggers are so understanding and not judgmental. And yeah, I've had all sorts of friends in real life, but we've rarely ever talked about issues with LGBT+, POC, disability, etc., but I have definitely learned a lot and grown as a person from the blogging community and social media in general. Book blogging has changed my life too :-) Lovely post!

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    1. Thanks Kristen! I agree- I'm a different person now, more understanding (I think) and more aware of others, and that's a testament to blogging. It really does matter we learn from others! And yes this comnmunity is amazing for just how understanding everyone is- it's a group I feel so privileged to be a part of!

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  3. What a great post! I love all the friends I made through this journey so far. You all have been so supportive through my stuff going on right now and it amazes me. Internet friends have been more supportive and had so many kind words - more so than a lot of my real life family and friends. Anyway I also agree that it is a closed loop. I very rarely get comments from nonbloggers but that's ok!

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    1. Thanks Grace! And I agree- this community is nothing short of amazing. And I know- when I initially realized I had mostly a book blog audience, I thought- is that a problem? And I decided no- if I get non- blog readers, awesome, but at the same time I love this community and how we all have this common interest, despite all the different walks of life, and I think it's great we can all talk books together!

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  4. This is such a wonderful post Greg, and a reminder about how much goodness there is in blogging, and interacting with people who understand why you love something so wholeheartedly, or hate something so wholeheartedly and bloggers *get* it and I love that!

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    1. Thank you Verushka. I always love seeing your comments. :) I totally agree- people talk about finding their tribe, and I really feel like I've done that?

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  5. Wonderful post Greg! I feel like I 'e been blogging 10 years now and feel like I have more blog friends than ones that live nearby. Like you, it share their joys and sorrows in a genuine way.

    Hope you have a wonderful week.

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    1. Yes- very true! I feel the same way. And 10 years is amazing- good for you!!!

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  6. Fantastic post! I agree with everything you mentioned. I defintely read more and (buy more) books than before blogging and blogging is indeed a closed loop but I love checking out the blogs of people who comment and see what they read. This community is simple the best!

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  7. This is a great post, Greg! I especially love your thoughts about the book blogging community. I think I've made some good friends, too! It was cool to find bloggers that actually live close to me, but you're right, I am meeting people from all over the world, who I never would have come in contact with if it hadn't been for blogging! It's been so wonderful.

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    1. Thank you Angela. I always enjoy your comments and thank you for coming by so much! I consider blogger friends real friends and it's amazing how much we have in common in spite of our different walks of life- and yes when I think how I wouldn't know ANY of these people, including people overseas, it's amazing to me!

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  8. I love this post. And especially I feel that you and I are new friends and that we are slowly getting to know each other. Your words hav helped me through a few struggles this year and I probably never even told you that. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you Patty. And yes I am happy to call you friend. :) And I had no idea but I'm so glad I could help, even if in a small way! It's a pleasure getting to know you and your blog. :)

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  9. Awesome post! There are definitely some book bloggers I would call friends, but I'm never sure if theu actually feel the same way.

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    1. I bet they do! It's amazing, I mean online friendships are different from RL ones, obviously, but I've come to think they're just as valid, when I've seen some of the generosity and good will I've seen in this community.

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    2. Yes! They definitely are very valid! I've had relatively good experiences with my fellow book bloggers

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  10. These are all great points. Blogging has changed my life as well, and I honestly never thought I'd still be blogging seven years after I started. I think the community is so important, and getting to know my fellow bloggers makes it all worthwhile๐Ÿ˜ Congrats on five years!!

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    1. Yay for seven years! I never even imagined five years. It's been an amazing journey. And thanks!

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  11. Wow, you nailed this. I agree, I love connecting with other bloggers and have learned so much from them. And yes, I have friends now who I've never met but who I look forward to interacting with everyday. You've put so eloquently into words what is so great about this community. Happy Blogging Anniversary!

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    1. Thank you Barb. I value your comments and love it when you come visit. And yes- so true! I have learned SO MUCH and look forward to and talk to online friends more now than my RL friends!

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  12. Yes! These are mainly the reasons why I keep blogging. Lately I was demotivated so, thank you for this post Greg! It is inspiring!

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    1. Aw I hope you don't go anywhere. I love your unique voice and enthusiasm, you're such a vital part of the community I hope you don't go anywhere. :)

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  13. I agree with all of these. Blogging has been terrible for my TBR list (I’ll never read all those books), but wonderful for my personal life. I’ve never known anyone who liked to read as much as I did. It’s amazing to find people all over the world who “get” me.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. Right? Oh my gosh seriously- I didn't even HAVE a TBR (gotta love blogger slang) before this- and yes I'm not suffering from some weird book illness, there are lots of us who live for books lolol.

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  14. I love blogging and all of my blogging friends. I started blogging in 2003 with a knitting blog. That was also a closed loop of people, knitters commenting on other knitting blogs. But I made some awesome friends from that blog that are still friends to this day! I even met up with a few of them when I was in Japan. I'm an author in a book blogger world, which is a little strange and I have to be very careful of what I say or do, but I love coming and finding out what people love to read, what they love to do. It's an important part of my life now.

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    1. I've enjoyed getting to know you, and your love for things Japanese has definitely taught me a few things about that country! Just an example of the great and varied group of people we have here. Who knew that blog friends would be so important? I think it's great you have friends from that circle to this day! Oh and I hear you- I think, FWIW, you thread that needle very well. It must be a tough balancing act to be in both the author and blogging worlds, but I'm glad you are!

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  15. I completely agree. I've "met" so many people from around the world that I wouldn't have connected with otherwise if it weren't for blogging. We've sent books to each other, and I even sent a plant to one who had been wanting a particular plant that my local nursery had. It's kind of funny that given the fact I live in such a well-known area, I thought I'd personally meet fellow bloggers. I know there are many in the San Diego area but I guess we tend to keep to our computers and books. LoL

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    1. Yes, between all the support, book sending and now #bookishwish which I see on Twitter, it's amazing how this community feels so REAL. I've exchanged a few books too and never would have imagined that! And same here- I've been surprised how many book bloggers I know are in Michigan, my state- who knew???

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  16. Every time I think about quitting blogging, I think about all the people I would miss talking to on a daily basis and visiting their blogs and I just can't do it! It really is a fabulous community.

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    1. I do too. It's so time consuming, sometimes I wonder do I want to do something else with my time, and it's not so much writing reviews I would miss- it's all the fabulous people.

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  17. I looooove this post! So much the book blogger love!

    (And I try my best to tempt in the non-book-bloggers too! It's part of my 'spread reading!!!' plan for taking over the world... *ahem* I mean improving literacy and interest in reading! XD )

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    1. Thanks! And right- keep up with those awesome world domination, er, literacy plans. :)

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  18. I think so many of us bloggers feel exactly the same way. A few years ago one of my blogging friends passed away and I was so sad about it. I still tear up thinking about it. When a blogger friend is going through a tough time I feel genuinely bad for them and hope things get better.

    I love that we get to talk to people in other countries and see pictures from there. Most are places that I'll never get to go to so I love seeing the pictures people share.

    While I'm not mainly a book blogger, I have book blogger friends that visit my blog as well as others.

    Frankly I love Twitter. I don't get pulled into a lot of drama because I don't follow the drama makers. But between Twitter, FB and blogger friends I've found some great book recommendations. I actually found you on Twitter because someone had tweeted a link to your blog there. lol

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    1. Yes!! And I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. Yes they are real friends. :)

      And same here. I love that it's just so common to talk to friends from all over the world- I mean w/o blogging I wouldn't know ANY of them. That's weird!

      I like Twitter too. After initially being a little unsure, I've come to embrace it. I mean I don't have zillions of tweets but I have met a lot new blogs there, and seen some amazing things. And oh cool- that's awesome! :):)

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  19. Blogging is great! I’m glad you love it as much as me. I wish I was more active with it but life is so nuts.

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    1. I so agree. I always like going to your blog. :)

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  20. Agree so hard with all of this. Online friends are some of my best friends ever.

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  21. This is such a great post, Greg. I've only been blogging for a couple of years now but I still completely agree with all of your points. I have loved getting to know people in the bookish community. There are so many wonderful people in it.

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  22. This is all SO true! It's crazy to think about how just deciding to post some thoughts on books one day could lead to meeting so many fabulous people? And sure, books haha, but they're kind of secondary which I find funny. I definitely agree about learning about all different people, different cultures, etc. It's such an amazing learning experience, and I definitely think book blogging has opened my eyes a LOT. Such a lovely post!!

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    1. Right? I think so too. My perspectives have been widened, and of all the things I think the most amazing to me is the friendships and the depth of. I mean I'm so glad to have met you, and other bloggers too- people we otherwise would never even meet! It's kind of amazing :)

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  23. I agree so much! I used to be a lurker on blogs before I started my own blog. I would love to read a book and then see everyone else's opinion on it too. Sometimes, I just enjoy seeing people update their blog. It is always fun to read what is going through everyone's life. I absolutely love blogging <3

    Elle Inked @ Keep on Reading

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    1. I had no idea! And yes I love seeing what people think of books I love (or not) and just seeing other peoples' updates- what's going on in their lives- and sharing ours.

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  24. I enjoyed reading this post a lot. I've been blogging for over 6.5 years now and have no regrets about starting a book blog... I never expected to being it this long, but am glad I did!! I've expanded my reading horizons too and have also enjoyed communicating with readers and bloggers around the world too.

    Happy reading to you! Keep making wonderful posts that are enjoyable to read.

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    1. THanks! And congrats- that's amazing! I definitely read a wider range of books then I ever did, and my horizons have been broadened so much!

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  25. I wholeheartedly agree with your observations, Greg. I don't have real-life friends with the same passion for books as I do, so I appreciate being able to "talk" with others who get it! It is amazing that we share this love with people all over the world! I'm in the US while my co-blogger lives in the UK! We finally met a couple of years back and it didn't feel like we were meeting for the first time because we talk so much.

    I know there's drama sometimes, but I rarely know when it's happening because I'm not on Twitter that much. Usually I find out days or weeks later if at all. Great post! :)

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    1. I love how you and Jasprit mesh so seamlessly on your blog- you both have your own style and both of you post great reviews! The enthusiasm shows through! And yes- people in RL don't always have that enthusiasm or craziness for books- thanks goodness the book blog community is here! I had no idea- and the fact that we're all over the world, and talk to people in other countries- every day amazes me. :)

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  26. Loved reading this post! So many reasons to love book blogging.

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  27. My blogging friends are the only ones I have now after losing touch with everyone over the years. Mind you, none of them were book fans so no great loss there! I like being part of a book community and chatting to people each day. The online community were very supportive whem my mother died of cancer back in 2014 and I've never forgotten that. I could feel how much people cared and it did help me. So you guys do feel like real friends!

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    1. I've lost touch w/ a lot of people too. I mean some I stay in contact with, but not every day or couple days like bloggers! It's just different! And book fans are the best! I feel the same way- I LIKE this community and all the different people I've gotten to know. And likewise- I consider you a true friend as well. :) This community is SO supportive.

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  28. This is such a true post. I found myself nodding along with every point. It's certainly the case for me that book bloggers have been the friendliest and, as someone who moves around a lot, I don't see much of my real-world friends, so it's wonderful to be getting to know the book blogging community :-)

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    1. Thanks Stephanie! I think book blogger friends are the best, and yes I imagine moving around a lot would be tough making "conventional" friends. I've been amazed how good of friends book bloggers have become!

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  29. Finland!! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š
    I really love the book blogging community

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    1. Finland!! I love Finnish bloggers- you and Blodeuedd and others- I'm forgetting some I know but you guys are awesome!

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  30. Blogging has definitely changed my life, in so many wonderful ways. Blog friends ARE real friends. I've also found out about so many amazing books due to the blogger world - and other things too! I love that the world feels a tiny bit smaller by being able to talk to people from all over the world. I like learning about different places/cultures.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Yes they are- so true! Blog friends are amazing- and if someone told me five years ago that blog friends would be some of my best friends, and I'd feel closer to some of them than I do RL friends, I'm not sure I'd have believed it! And for me talking to people internationally every day- how cool is that?

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  31. Blogging has changed my life in SO many ways! I'm so shy and introverted and it continuously pushes me out of my comfort zone to try new things.

    I've met many of my blogger friends in real life and have made life long friends.

    I think the internet has brought on a lot of bad things but in my own personal experience it did as intended - opening my eyes to other people's experiences and connected me to people all over the world.

    The one thing that does bum me out a little is the loop thing. I think it's great how supportive we all are of each other but in my early years of blogging there were a lot of non-blogger readers as well so that's kind of sad that they left.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I agree. I'm fairly introverted too- I mean I like to go o ut and meet people (sort of lol) but the book blog community has so many special people. I think it's cool too when blogger friends meet up in real life and it's just like they've always known each other, or it just works.

      And exactly- sure the internet brings problems, but you're right- it has opened the world up. Can you imagine NOT talking to people all over the world every day (or most days)? After blogging it would feel weird NOT to for me!

      I agree about the loop thing- it would be nice if maybe we weren't such a closed loop these days...

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  32. I think we can all fondly remember those first days of blogging and being utterly confused and yet somehow it becomes something which takes up so much freetime! I definitely agree about blogging friends being real friends and that makes it all the sadder when some bloggers fall out of blogging without a word. And I hadn't considered the loop part of blogging, we basically try and expand out circle out to other book bloggers don't we? It's a strange thing but I like that. I think booktube is better at appealing to a wider audience simply because they're all located on Youtube and are easier to find for others as well.

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    1. Good point about Youtube. Maybe that's why booktubing is taking off so much- I mean of course there's more visibility but yeah the wider audience is definitely a draw! And yes it takes up so much free time- why do we do it? I think it's largely the people, for many of us, the actual friendships that develop. So true- and yes book blog friends ARE real friends.

      I think the loop thing is fascinating too- like you I kind of like that we're this tight- knit (mostly) community, but at the same time it might be nice to have more non- blog readers too? Although it doesn't bother me TOO much, I like that we're all sort of our own tribe?

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  33. I agree with so many of these, Greg. Particularly your thoughts on community and friendships; I count myself very lucky to have met you and other bloggers like you so soon after starting my own page. I cherish my friends here at home, but so few of them make much time for books or films, which makes it difficult to talk with them about one of my oldest, fondest hobbies! It's really lovely to have found a community with similar interests to share that love of reading with :)

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    1. Aw thanks JJ! And so glad you joined the community! I agree- I cherish my RL friends as well, but it's different in the book blog community- there is SO much enthusiasm for books, and reading, and fandoms and a zillion other fannish things. It's like we can let that part of our personality run free or something! I think the world would be a sorrier place without it!

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  34. So true Greg, spot on post. ♥️ Blogging and reading has broaden my view of the world and the fellow travelers I’ve met. I love that I get to others that love storytelling as much as I. My friends are not big readers, especially not manga or graphic novels. Thanks for reminding us how lucky we are!

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    1. Thanks Dani. Me too- my horizons have broadened SO much, both personally and reading- wise. I feel that yes this community allows us to embrace a side of ourselves that RL doesn't really understand, or that we wouldn't be able to express otherwise? And thank you!

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  35. All the above. These are all the reasons I miss being in the community so much in the last few months that have been so busy in real life. I love the people in this community and you have listed all the reasons. :)

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  36. Love this post Greg!! And the friendship part is so true!

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  37. I love the opportunity to meet people around the world as a blogger - I never would have had the chance in the past.

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  38. Five years! That's awesome. I love this post and I agree to so many of your points.

    I've been blogging now for two years (I can hardly believe it!) and while book blogging in itself has stepped back slightly in my life, I've come to find so many other amazing bookish things through blogging. Twitter I've never been great on, but Bookstagram I'm coming to love and become seriously addicted to! And while blogging is a closed loop I think bookstagram is slightly wider open than that.

    I also love the conversations that circle around book bloggers and I love discussion posts and what different bloggers come up with.

    Again, awesome post Greg!

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  39. Yes to all of these! I love the blogging world and all the people I've "met" through the years and how much I've learned from everyone - some bookish stuff and some not so much but all interesting. I tend to avoid Twitter and I think it's mostly because of the drama. You're right about it being easy to avoid! The commenting is definitely a closed loop but I think there are hidden readers out there. I've gotten a number of emails or the occasional random comment from a non-blogger so I think they're out there. I've been watching a lot of YouTube videos and I've noticed so many of the commenters there are other YouTubers while it's never really occurred to me to comment on a video so I'm thinking it might be the same thing? Great post!

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  40. Agree 100%! I got a taste of this on the Harry Potter social site I was on, and frankly, if blogging hadn't been there to pick up the slack a few months later I don't know what I would have done because all of my IRL group activities have folded. There's no more Friday Night Martini Girls and no more Saturday Night game night with my friends. They all have significant others and they seem to like hanging out at home with just themselves now that they are older. ๐Ÿ˜ž

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  41. Nodding my head through your entire post. I've been blogging for 11 years and my life has been enriched greatly. A couple of early blogger friends are no longer blogging, but we have remained connected thru social media!

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  42. If I could 'Love' this post, I would.

    Blogging friends are definitely real friends. I started book blogging almost 10 years ago, then that turned to travel blogging, and now I'm back to book blogging. During that time I've actually met blogging friends face-to-face and it's been brilliant. You really do get to know people online.

    I always seem to miss the book blogging drama and just end up seeing the booktube drama on Twitter. Hahaha Maybe I should follow more book bloggers.

    I know what you mean about how book blogging changes your reading tastes. It really opens your eyes (and mind) to new genres and topics you wouldn't have even considered.

    Happy 5 years, Greg!

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    1. Thanks Ceri! I agree- so many blog friends have become real friends and I'm so grateful. And wow 10 years- good for you! Some of the people I've gotten to know I'm closer to, in some ways, than real life friends! It's amazing...

      And exactly. when I think of the genres I've tried and the way my bookish horizons have been expanded- it's pretty awesome!

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  43. YES! My "book blogger" friends are my friends without clarification.

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  44. Oh yes - I fully agree with your fabulous article. I was trying to get the point across to a friend who is all about... "the internet is ruining our lives" and explaining to her how much my blogging friends got to bat for me and the positive influence on my life - and she simply didn't get it. But reading your post, I found myself nodding to ALL of it. Thank you!

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  45. I love this post! I relate to so much of it! :)
    Book blogging has definitely changed my life in many ways. Mostly it's been getting to talk about books with other people who love reading as much as I do though. I only have one real life friend who likes reading, so I don't get to talk about it a lot in real (to people who are actually interested anyway!). And now I get to talk to people all over the world about books, which is pretty incredible!

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    1. I think the talking to people around the world is the biggest thing for me- and just making so many friends I would otherwise never know! And we all share a love for books, and discussing- something a lot of us don't get enough of in RL!

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  46. I agree Greg! You get to know random bits and pieces about your fellow bloggers and genuinely begin to care. I know if I stopped blogging tomorrow, I'd still stalk a lot of bloggers because I like THEM not just their blog.

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  47. Yes to all of this. Even though I'm not blogging as much, I still love visiting my blogging buddies when I can. Some I've known since I first started over 7 years ago. Congrats on 5 & still going strong!

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  48. Fantastic post Greg and I enjoyed reading it and nodding my head at every paragraph. I don't spend all that much time at it but what I do do I enjoy and my reading is certainly affected by all the other book bloggers. I try books I never would otherwise. So a big wave from New Zealand.

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  49. Great post! I recognized a lot of my own feelings here, from the sense of true friendship to the community connections. When I started blogging, I had no idea how much the world would open up for me, and how I love seeing the perspectives of people I would not have otherwise met. Books are the great glue for budding friendships. Thanks!

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  50. Such an amazing post! I was thinking about this while writing tomorrow's Top Ten Tuesday post - the book blogging community really is something amazing! I also consider my fellow book bloggers my friends as I talk to them regularly and I also care about their hardships and celebrate their triumphs. Plus eveybody is so supportive and nice and like you said, I also learned so much from them since starting to blog and broadened my perspective so, so much. Congrats on 5 years of blogging, that's amazing!

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  51. Reading this post, I realized that all these things are true for me as well, although I hadn't recognized some of them consciously... particularly the parts about diversity and global friendships. I've long felt that my book blogger friends are real friends, but I hadn't realized how far-flung some of them are... Australia, Europe, Britain. It's a wonderful benefit of blogging, as are the other things you point out. I so much enjoy the camaraderie of the book blogging community, and the way most bloggers are very supportive and kind to one another. And of course, the biggest joy is being part of a community that is passionate about books!

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  52. You make some good points here! I also met a lot of new people thanks to blogging whom I consider friends and I do think online friends are just as real even if you never met them in real life. I also think it's fascinating we can interact with people from all over the world so easily nowadays.

    Blogging has definitely changed my reading as well, my tasted have changed quite a bit since I started blogging and I tried so many genres and sub genres I didn't read before. I usually avoid most of the drama, I think there's always some drama anywhere, but it's often easy enough to avoid. Good point re blogging being a closed loop, I always thought bloggers would have readers as audience as well, but most of the comments I get definitely are other bloggers. And I think that's pretty fun as you can go back to visit their blogs.

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  53. I wasn't active in the community for a long time after I started my blog and I know now how much I was missing. The community has really opened my eyes to a lot of things and I always feel like I get support when I need it. Plus...nobody wants to talk books with me all of the time :)

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