the Little Red Reviewer

it’s the NEW social

Posted on: April 17, 2011

Yesterday, I led you to believe that blogging/reading can lead to anti social behavior.  It wasn’t a lie by any means, and we had a good laugh, and many of you hit on where the next direction I was taking this.

We’ve all had the experience of asking our friends and acquaintances what they read, often to have half of them say they haven’t finished a book since college, and the other half reads authors that don’t interest you in the slightest. And don’t worry, they feel the same way about your  M John Harrison, Tim Powers, and Cathrynne M. Valente. We’ve all been known at one point in our life as that weird person who reads those kinds of books

Our homes and apartments are often overflowing with books, many of us are on a first name basis with local librarians and probably carry more than one library card. We’re often fluent in the language of interlibrary loan.  There isn’t much we won’t do for our fix.

Bibiophiling and blogging the results can often highlight our genre specific tastes, sometimes making it even more difficult to make book friends “in real life”.

But we’ve got WordPress, blogger, twitter, facebook, and tumblr, who needs old fashioned socializing in real life? In some ways, us bloggers are the pioneers of the new social. We’ve massaged wordpress to find new bookfriends for us (yay tag surfer!), we know the ins and outs of twitter beyond following Jon Stewart and Perez Hilton.

Our main goal in this blogosphere experiment is to find people who have similar interests as we do. People who like vampire steampunk, or new weird, or alternate history or epic fantasy or hard SF or whatever. Beyond the hours of reading every week, we’re spending additional hours writing blog posts or podcasts (or both!), commenting on the articles written by friends, and communicating via twitter. Many of us have had personal conversations with the authors that got us addicted to our genre of choice in the first place. We send fanmail, we go to conventions, we’re active in forums.

Yes, I said hours. That’s in, more than one hour, every single day. And if that’s not a commitment to being social, I don’t know what is.

Blogging isn’t anti-social: it’s the new social.


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6 Responses to "it’s the NEW social"

Great article!

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Blogging IS social. It’s like a big book club where we all share our thoughts and ideas. The difference is it’s so much easier to connect with people online, because your blog tends to attract like-minded readers. How easy is it to find other people to discuss Fantasy Fiction with face-to-face? At my work, out of 300+ people, there are only 3 that share my interest: 1 is an avid reader, 1 reads a few things in common, and 1 likes to read but rarely has time. Outside of work, I wouldn’t even know how to find those people. Approach a stranger in a bookstore – maybe. Start a book club – maybe. Neither option involves copious amounts of social behavior.

This leads to my having book discussions with – wait for it – 1 person face-to-face on a regular basis. In contrast, hundreds of people are reading my blog. Some are responding, including authors. If being social is “the inclination to seek out or enjoy the company of others”, why does that have to be face-to-face?

Since I have time to compose my thoughts, I can be far more eloquent writing words than I can speaking them, and as a result I think I generate more responses and discourse. It’s not like bloggers simply spit out reviews…we also have all kinds of opinions on a variety of subjects (including the current one). Are newspaper columnists ant-social? Are movie and food critics anti-social? Expressing oneself through written word is not anti-social. If I were anti-social, I wouldn’t waste my time blogging, eagerly reading responses or leaving comments…I’d keep my nose in a book.

Blogging is the NEW social, because changes in society are now coming so rapidly that our definitions of words like “social” or “company” must take on new meanings.

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hippogriff, I agree a zillion percent. online communication allows me more time to put my thoughts together, as opposed to “omg, it was so awesome!”, AND I can find people who share my interests with the click of a button.

we’re not anti-social, not one bit. and that was exactly what I was getting at. if you have time, read through the responses of the post right before this one.

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Yes. Absolutely.

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