(Blogger is refusing to insert pictures this morning - or to center this one.)
Today's theme for BBAW is "Community connection." As the organizers point out, "We all know that the book blogging community is BIG, and it’s growing every day. It’s really easy to feel overwhelmed or totally lost. We want to know how you feel connected."
My first introduction to on-line book discussions - lord, going on twenty years ago now - was through listservs. I joined a Georgette Heyer group first, which led me to a Jane Austen group, and first to reading and then
When I started my blog, it was in part to talk about what I was reading outside of the group discussions. I had already begun following some blogs, and commenting on the posts - very nervously, because unlike the familiar listserv discussions, I wasn't sure about blog etiquette. On blogs like Shelf Love and Stuck in a Book, I could see a back-and-forth conversation about the books, which was really what I wanted (craved). I began to recognize bloggers in their comments on other people's posts, and I began to see connections in the community.
For me, those conversations, primarily through comments, are still the main way that I feel connected to the community. When I discover a new-to-me blog, it can feel a little intimidating to post a comment, particularly in a lively discussion where everyone obviously knows each other. I've found that bloggers are generally welcoming, and those I follow regularly make an effort to respond to comments and keep the conversation going - I do on mine. If a blogger never responds, or doesn't respond to my comments, after a while it starts to feel like I'm intruding on a conversation, and I usually stop commenting.
I don't use a lot of social media, but I joined Twitter, first to follow bloggers and book-related accounts (though I'm easily distracted). I've joined in some book discussions there, like last year's #6Barsets read of Trollope's Barchester series. The character limit does require creativity! And I use Library Thing, but while I have found bloggers through it and now have "friends," I haven't really figured out that side of it yet.
I have yet to meet any bloggers in person, though I would love to. There's talk of a meet-up at the national Jane Austen society meeting in Washington later this year. And I have a standing invitation for anyone visiting the Houston area, for coffee/tea/adult beverages and a bookstore crawl.