BBAW 2011: Community Part II

The world of book blogging has grown enormously and sometimes it can be hard to find a place. Share your tips for finding and keeping community in book blogging despite the hectic demands made on your time and the overwhelming number of blogs out there. If you’re struggling with finding a community, share your concerns and explain what you’re looking for–this is the week to connect!

I think maintaining community in the world of book blogging comes down to one thing—participation. I only follow book blogs that I actively read, and I do my best to add meaningful comments to posts. “I read this book too!” comments are nice and all, but discussion—the lifeblood of bookish communities—doesn’t grow from that. (Oh, man, did I ever tell y’all about the time I was talking about Malinda Lo’s Ash in class, making a point about the nebulous and marketing-based divide between young adult fiction and adult fiction, and a girl just went “Oh, I read that book!” very loudly—to me—while I was talking to the entire class? That’s not discussion, that’s an interruption.) Personally, I use co.mments to track responses to my comments, wherever I leave them, which allows me to pick up the discussion more. And discussion makes the world go round, builds better relationships between people, so on and so forth. I also recommend Twitter, if you don’t already use it, to talk with your fellow book bloggers—I know Cass makes me crack up on a nearly weekly basis when we have conversations.

But I will admit that I would love to meet and follow more book bloggers that come from fandom. (Incidentally, They Came from Fandom is my next science fiction film.) I try and keep my fandom life and real life very separate, so I never have to worry about what I say, but being a fan is still a very large part of who I am and fandom was what first trained me to look critically at texts, especially back during the first wave of Harry Potter fandom. The fannish view towards texts encourages interacting with, criticizing, and even changing the text, even as you love the text; after the release of 2009’s Star Trek, fanfiction and other fan media began cropping up examining the true consequences of a supposedly diverse world where white American men are still mostly in power or at least the most visible. The Book Smugglers approached this sort of viewpoint when reviewing Sisters Red, whose abominable victim-blaming I used in a paper last year. Obviously, thinking critically about texts is common (or should be common!) among book bloggers, but I would really love to meet some more fellow fannish book bloggers.

11 thoughts on “BBAW 2011: Community Part II

  1. I must say, Clare, you do excel at leaving only excellent comments. I always appreciate what you have to say and how clearly you have thought it out. I am just about jumping up and down about this co.mments thing, which I’ve not heard of until right now and am going to check out RIGHT. NOW. So thank you!

    • Thank you so much! That’s so wonderful to hear.

      co.mments is brilliant. WordPress’s follow-up comments via e-mail option e-mails you whenever anyone leaves a comment on that post, but co.mments allows you to peek in to see if your comment has been replied to. It’s so useful!

      • Question: I’ve been trying to use co.mments and it seems to struggle with certain blogs, Blogger ones in particular, telling me it can’t find anything to subscribe to. Do you have that problem ever?

  2. Thanks very much for the co.mments tip. I had never heard of that. I just bookmarked it so I can use it later today. I love it when I learn something new and useful. I have never really participated in fandom. The only one I can think of that I truly keep up with is Supernaturnal. I love that show and the fandom sites.

  3. What Erin said about your comments. 🙂

    I find fandom fascinating, though I’m not sure I have the mental energy to devote to it these days. I mostly dance around the edges, wondering how to get involved without totally exhausting myself and/or stepping on toes. (I worry about that a lot. Most of the sf/f fandom that interests me seems simultaneously welcoming and insular; like, they’d be glad to have you, but you either need an in or the ability to invite yourself into conversations. I was born without this ability, soooo….) Someday I’ll make it in. Someday.

    • D’awwww, thanks.

      Yeah, unless you want to jump on a new fandom (or into an old one via a new entry—for instance, I got into Marvel fandom via the new films), you really just have to jump in with both feet. Information is also a good in, and never be scared to just introduce yourself and hop in. That’s how most people do it. It does help to look into more relaxed fandoms; the older they are, the more relaxed they are, is the rule.

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