Another day, another Friday book chat!
Yet again, it’s another Friday where we haven’t read our next group read, but we promise! It’s coming soon!
Like last week, we’ve been embroiled in the thrilling adventures of back to school madness, so we’ve been extremely busy and very tired.
With that said, we really wanted to talk about social media and how it propels YA and much of the discussions currently happening in YA.
What that said, enjoy!
Eden: How do you guys feel about book social media?
Caitlynn: Do you mean social media surrounding books, or social media in books?
E: Social media surrounding books like bookstagram and book Twitter.
C: Honestly, when we first started the blog I was really into it. I’m not so much into it anymore.
Jenn: I think that social media as a whole, if we were to summarize it into a bite sized piece, is that it’s a complete double edged sword. Where, it can be great for the positivity that it can bring to certain books and the recognition for debut authors. However, at the same time, it is definitely part of the cancel culture. Cancel culture can be great for calling out things that might be problematic. But, it can also turn into a sort of mob mentality. It turns into them trying to cancel individuals rather than truly educating the community as a whole.
C: Twitter for most things is a platform where I see scrutiny and that goes for books, pop culture, or really anything. So, I really try to avoid Twitter because I don’t like to have negative connotations about things if I haven’t experienced it for myself. When I am experiencing those things. However, when I am experiencing those things (for example when talking about different cultures and the terminology if it seems off or problematic) I would have taken to Twitter. Twitter is where I would go to learn about issues with books. On the other side, Goodreads is where I will always go and rely on stars. I know if it’s above a 3.6 and it has a lot of reviews it’s probably going to be a really good book. That’s my own, personal experience, but that’s what I like about Goodreads overall. Instagram is just pretty.
J: To kind of play off of that, I do agree Goodreads is going to be the social media that I will consistently use. I don’t know that I will consistently use either of the others. Twitter is overwhelming for me. I always feel like I have so much to catch up on. That’s kind of why I like Instagram. I view it as a condensed version where I can get the information in a more succinct way without so many voices in the discussion. I also really like Instagram because if I follow someone that has very similar reviews to me, I know I can see books that I may be interested in. Instagram is the one that I ebb and flow from the most. I am either fully engaged in it, or I am completely not looking at it at all. I think part of it is that that’s the one that I have to make the most effort to engage in.
E: On the thread of Twitter, it breeds mob mentality. When someone decides that they dislike something that they’ve read in a book you immediately get everybody jumping on board. It might be because they agree with the book being an issue, or it’s just that they dislike the author. So, I actually really like going through book Twitter. I feel like you get more of author’s personalities. I follow mainly authors on Twitter. I’m not so much into other people’s perspectives. But, I also hate Twitter. Because, I’ll be reading through something and I will see that someone has jumped to the highest level of scrutiny in about two tweets. It’s just absolutely insane.
J: I think that with Twitter it’s kind of like our day and age’s personal blog for a lot of authors. So, I agree that we get a lot more personality out of it versus the other social media outlets.
E: Which do you prefer, as far as social media for books?
C: I would definitely say Goodreads.
E: Jenn, you said Instagram?
J: I go back and forth. I’m most consistently on Goodreads, so that would probably take first place. That’s the information that I trust the most. But, the one that I find myself sitting and scrolling through the most for the longest periods of time is Instagram. So, it kind of depends on my mood.
E: I prefer Goodreads, but I like being on Twitter because I like feeling closer to those authors. I like feeling like I have that connection to an author and learning about why they wrote what they wrote.
C: It’s kind of cool, because the way Jenn seeks out new books is totally different from me. The way I seek out new books is through Goodreads. I go through the lists on Goodreads for new and upcoming releases to see what people are excited for. So, it’s kind of cool to see what each of us go to to find new books,
J: I agree, I also think it plays into where our priorities are when we start reading books. I don’t want to know how everyone feels about it. I like to go in completely blank. So, if I see it on Instagram I don’t have a lot of information about it. Whereas, Caitlynn, you like to know what other people think so you aren’t wasting a read. Then, Eden you want to know as much detail as possible and why the author wrote it. So, I think all of our choices are very reflective in how we approach our reading.
E: I completely agree with that.
E: Social media has played a big role in elevating YA in the past 10 years or so. Where do you think YA would be right now if social media hadn’t become such a prevalent thing in society.
J: I think it would still have the same connotation that it used to have, and that the lines wouldn’t be as blurred as they are now. I think one thing that really helped YA in the social media realm was the Vlogbrothers and John Green because he kind of started the first “booktube” -esque channel. Then booktube took off. Now booktube has trickled over to other social media sites. So, I think that Green starting that initial push and the new generation bringing about this fast media cycle that is targeted towards a younger age range helps. It has made people much more comfortable talking about YA as adults, because I think there was a stigma. Even when we were in college, I felt there was a stigma. If I was reading a YA book there was a stigma about it. Now, people that aren’t even active participants in the book community discuss YA and read it regularly.
E: It’s funny that you say that the way people received YA was so different. Because, it’s true. If I was reading a book while on campus at the University of Florida I would constantly try to hide the cover. I didn’t want someone to see it and judge me for reading YA at 20 years old. Now, if I were to take a YA book out nobody is going to judge me quite so harshly. I think social media has changed it in that sense of judgment.
C: Thinking about it, if I didn’t have Twitter or Instagram or Goodreads to influence me, I don’t know how far away from the dystopian world I would have gotten in YA. When someone says YA my immediate cover is The Hunger Games, it’s like the epitome of YA. I feel like YA really got started as a prevalent genre with The Hunger Games, because it opened up the door for all the dystopians. I still love dystopians. It has evolved so much. If it we didn’t have social media I think we would eventually get there. But, I don’t know that many of the books we’ve read would have fit in. Like would Strange the Dreamer ever have fit into our perceived YA genre if we didn’t have anything?
J: Also, I will say that I would really like to see somebody else our age talk about this. Because, our social media feeds are all attuned to our interests. So, we are in this niche realm. We have found our people. We have found people that have the same interests. So, I’m wondering if it’s our perception has changed because we are surrounding ourselves with likeminded people on social media and the rest of the world’s perception hasn’t changed. Maybe we’ve become more comfortable because it feels like there’s more of a community?
E: Are you trying to mess with our brains today?
J: I’m just saying! We create our social media presences and we select the people that we follow. We choose what kind of narrative we are going to align ourselves with. So, if we didn’t choose those people would we ever see anybody talking about those things? Because, if not we might have the same stigma. We might think we were the only ones talking about it.
E: But, then again we’ve met people who read YA that are similar to age as us.
J: I get that it’s more prevalent. I just don’t know that that included diving into books that aren’t blasted everywhere. I don’t think that many people are comfortable walking down the YA aisle to find an interesting book. They’re more likely just going to look at the front display of the New York Times bestsellers.
E: Do you have aspects that you love about book social media? Dislikes? Hot takes?
C: I can guarantee that if I’m scrolling through bookstagram and there is a book that keeps popping up over and over again, I’m probably going to pick it up.
C: I do like that. I like going in not knowing anything about a book. But, to that means that a lot of people are talking about the book. I have found that if the mass population likes the book I pretty much go along with that. How I felt about Gone Girl, it was a genre I never read so I didn’t think I’d like it. But then, over a million people read it and it had such a high rating on Goodreads that I decided to read it. So, it’s the same with Instagram. If I see that a million people are reading it, I’m going to read it.
J: I definitely agree. I think you kind of form trust with other users on social media. You can look at their feed and know that you have very similar opinions on many different books, so you kind of can trust when they talk about a book it’s worth it. It can be really overwhelming to look for books. Even if you’re just looking at reviews it’s hard to know which books to pickup. So, I really like that it narrows my scope a lot. I also like that I can see from author’s interactions who they recommend.
E: Whenever authors that I follow closely do book birthdays, I’m always interested in what I see. Because, authors are not just going to promote them without reading it. So if I see someone like Stephanie Garber saying that it’s a great book that is being released I will go and pick it up.
J: As for dislikes, I think the same thing kind of deters me from some books. There are some people that have very different opinions on books. So, if I see them talking about it I am much more hesitant to pick it up. Sometimes bloggers preferences don’t line up. But, that’s okay. I just know that I may have a different opinion from what they are saying.
J: Also, social media can really make me buy just because of the cover. Instagram is the worst and causes me to cover buy.
E: Of Fire and Stars was one of those. It was all over social media. It was something that really aggravated me. People were really into it. We read it and I felt like people were just saying this was a great book because there were so many ARCS, and people can feel pressured.
C: It was an Owlcrate book as well.
E: Yeah, it was an Owlcrate book as well. When book boxes do a book that they’re really big on I don’t trust them anymore. I’ve received so many books through these subscriptions that I haven’t like that I am reluctant. It seems like they’re hyping it up to make sales. That’s their job. That’s how they survive.
J: I will say that I think that it’s gotten better because there are so many now. It seems like they all kind of stick with what their niche is. So, you can find a book box that goes with any preference. I think that has alleviated some of the issues with us getting books because they’re able to get the books.
E: Book boxes have been the thing that I disliked most about book social media, because people go crazy about the books in them and it seems like the book was overhyped.
J: I have a hot take. The authors that become authors, because of social media. So, like the booktubers that become authors. I’m talking about those that never mentioned writing or that it was a passion before the book deal. It seems like it’s a work made from opportunity rather than from passion. Reading the books you can tell. There are some that got into the book world because of their love of stories and storytelling and had a desire to become a published author one day. But, there are some that saw an opportunity and took it. Which , I don’t blame them at all. To act like it’s the same as these authors, or aspiring authors, that have broken their backs and worked endlessly to become published feels wrong. To have these influencers write these books and put them out within six months feels like a slap in the face.
E: It shows so much in the writing. It also shows how shitty the publishing world can be. You have the Susan Dennards and Stephanie Garbers and all of these authors that have spent years struggling and writing and being denied over and over again. Then they put out these insanely rich worlds. Whereas these Youtuber have a following so the publishing companies decide to cash in on it really quickly.
J: I just feel like it’s okay if writing isn’t your thing. Do something else to be able to profit off of your following. You don’t have to pretend like it’s always been your dream to be an author.