5.29.2014

Armchair BEA - Expanding Blogging Horizons

http://www.armchairbea.com/

The Day 3 topic for Armchair BEA that I've selected is:


Expanding Blogging Horizons
What do you think about when you think about going beyond blogging or expanding your horizons? Is it a redesign of your blog? Have you branched out into freelance writing or even published a novel of your very own? Or, have you moved into a different venue like podcasts or vlogging? This is the day to tell us about how you have expanded on blogging in your own unique way.

(To find out more about Armchair BEA and to join in the fun, go here.)

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This is an interesting topic, because I've discovered through blogging that there is so much more going on in the online book community.

I started out this blog with a mind to post reviews. That was pretty much it. Then I found that I occasionally had opinions on things. Opinions I wanted to share, or just to work out by writing about them. So I started posting the occasional discussion post. I didn't actually think anyone would find my little bookish corner of the internet. I didn't expect any followers or for people to much care what I had to say. I guess it was more of an online journal I was keeping so that I could look back on the books I barely remembered reading, and to encourage myself to engage with the literature I was consuming more fully and deeply.

Over the past year, however, my relationship with both my own blog and the online blogging community has changed.What began as something of a small personal project and hobby has morphed into an actual thing. I have a few followers now - people who like what I have to say enough to want to see more of it. Which is both incredibly flattering and humbling. But I think the most important element for me is the interaction I have with other bloggers and bookish folks. You guys leave me comments and they make my day. I love hearing what your thoughts are on a topic or book I've written about, and I love it when a comment becomes a conversation.

Which is part of why Twitter has become such a huge part of my blogging experience. I don't use it to drive my blog - I normally don't even remember to share links to my posts. I use it as somewhere I can have more of those direct interactions that I've found in comments, but in real time, and at greater length. It's also somewhere I keep an eye on what's happening in the bookish world and what you guys are talking about and, more importantly, reading.

Looking back, even a year ago I had no idea what this experience would become. I've learned so much, I've constantly changed and updated my blog, added new link-ups and participated in Readathons. I've "met" other bloggers and even, I hope, gotten to know some of you well enough to call you friends. I feel more a part of a community in this little online network than I have experienced outside of university, and while I'm still a small little blog, I feel like I've found a place.

I don't know if this is really what the Armchair BEA folks meant with their question, but it's where my mind took it, and it seemed like a good opportunity to reflect on how far I've come - both as a blogger and member of the online book world. It's one I'm proud to be a part of.

What about you guys? How has blogging helped you expand your horizons?

6 comments :

  1. I think the best part of being a book blogger is the community that we are a part of. I didn't expect any of that when I started out 2 years ago, but it is by far one of my favorite parts. I started out wanting to talk about books, maybe find a few like-minded individuals who might want to read what I had to say. I could never have imagined it would be what it Is today. In 2 years, I have accrued nearly 30,000 page views and over 1000 comments.

    I agree with what you said about Twitter as well. It seems the trend is moving away from traditional comments and moving more toward real time conversation on social media. I have not decided yet how I feel about this.

    Lisa @Just Another Rabid Reader

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    1. It really is amazing, isn't it? It's been so wonderful. And I think in part because I didn't really have any expectations going into it, and I still don't, every comment or new follower feels like this amazing gift and a great surprise.

      Yeah, I resisted at first, because in the past I've found Twitter to have a lot of ups and downs. But when I began using my dedicated blog account and only really following and interacting with book people, I discovered that it's a very different experience. If you're looking for where the nice people on Twitter live, it's in the book community. There's a lot less (nearly no) snarkiness and everyone is so supportive and willing to take the time to chat with anyone who chats with them. It's become my happy place - outside of an actual book, of course!

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  2. Great post! It's amazing how a little tiny hobby can turn into something so much larger. And like you I love twitter for the immediate conversations that can turn into great discussions--I love comments but they're just not quite the same as talking in "real time."

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    1. Definitely. I think I value both equally, but for different reasons. With blog posts and comments I'm able to present my thoughts in more depth and have time for more reflection and editing before I post. Likewise people who comment are able to say as much or as little as they want. So I find it is sometimes easier to get into topics more deeply.

      That said, if you actually are having a convo on Twitter that goes back and forth, there is still the possibility of really getting into a topic - even if you occasionally have to break a point up over multiple Tweets. And I really love that I will respond to people I don't know, then follow them and find their blog. I've found some amazing blogs in this sort of reverse discovery. And I feel like I get to know people better with Twitter than with comments. It's a pretty cool thing, for sure!

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  3. I'm so proud of youuuuu. Your blog is really a great place that I always look forward to visiting. You post so regularly and it's always great content. I know I don't often comment on your book reviews (because I often can't come up with anything to say to any book review written by anyone), but I always read them and you get me interested in books I wouldn't have otherwise heard about!

    I'm glad Twitter's been such a great place for you. I try to use it, and I always hear about the great bookish conversations going on there, but I still feel like I'm not sure how to use it. Like I know HOW to use it, but not how to make the best use of it. I hope I can get more into it!

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    1. Thank you! You have no idea how much that means to me, because that's what I've found in your blog, and the other blogs I follow, and what I aspire to. I find that the reviews are the posts I get least comments on - but I'm fine with that because I do tend to wander in terms of the books I read, and I don't expect that there will be a ton of people who just happen to be reading the book I'm reading very often. I'm the same way. I kind of figure reviews are more for people to research books they might want to read, where as the link-ups are more discussiony. (Which isn't even a word, but it's getting late, and you know what I mean.) I'm the same way with your blog - I read all the reviews but it's more difficult to comment when I haven't read the book yet!

      I'll get you into Twitter, it takes a while to feel comfortable in how it works and just feel confident jumping in on what people are tweeting about. But once you get used to it, it's really fun. I promise. (Despite the utterly stupid name.)

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