Online Arts and Literature Editor, Ariane Joudrey, discusses the different platforms of online literature communities.
As an avid reader with a desire to share their love for books, sometimes it’s hard when your friends don’t feel the same way. In hope of finding a connection over a certain book with anyone who will listen, the internet, once again saves the day. Despite the internet often being heralded for the reason that ‘the youth of today’ aren’t reading as much as they used to, the internet also provides inspiration, encouragement and entertainment for book lovers. The internet has provided a home for a social media community who are invested in literature. This community spans across several different social media sites including twitter, Instagram, and of course, Goodreads.
Goodreads provides users with book recommendations based on books they have previously marked as ‘read’, thus also acting as a reading tracker, a platform to provide book reviews, and therefore also forming a community of like-minded readers ready to engage in literary discussion. Goodreads is arguably the most wholesome of social-media outlets with a focus only on one thing – reading (which is wholesome in itself).
“Twitter therefore provides the most ‘tea’ in the literary community, making it an interesting platform for an observer and perhaps a more chaotic environment for a participant.”
Twitter on the other hand seems to provoke much more debate in the literary world than other social media sites. This is particularly notable for fandoms of certain literary series such as The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. Twitter uses seem to have an increased confidence in their point of view which can often be quite blunt and addressed in a way which is ignorant to the fact that others may have a different opinion on a book they love so much. This obsession then becomes infiltrated with a defensiveness and little resilience to hearing any negative comments about their true love. Amongst all this literary conflict, even memes often find their way into the debate, with some provoking hilarious responses. Twitter therefore provides the most ‘tea’ in the literary community, making it an interesting platform for an observer and perhaps a more chaotic environment for a participant.
Instagram, whilst sometimes appearing similar to Twitter in the way fandoms create accounts dedicated to a particular book or series, has another side altogether. I feel that Instagram has the ability to act as more of a respectful online book club. The nature of the posts seems a lot more positive, contemplative, and open to proactive discussion. Instagram has a community of users which simply aim to share their love for books by making posts about their recent reads with the caption being one of their favourite quotes from the text, perhaps followed by a review or recommendation. In a world in which we love be nosy and have an insight into other people’s lives, just as books can provide, Instagram seems to provide this too.
“The online book-loving community truly does act like a virtual book club, with each social media site acting as different personalities within the group.”
The online book-loving community truly does act like a virtual book club, with each social media site acting as different personalities within the group. If you have never ventured into the online world of books, I would strongly urge you to, even if not to participate, but simply to witness the wholesome yet chaotic entertainment it can provide.