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    The Bookstagram Effect

    As a reader, there is something that I have struggled with since the Instagram algorithm was launched during the summer of 2016….. Staying engaged with #bookstagram.

    For those of you who do not know what Bookstagram is – there is a community of readers on Instagram who have connected thanks to a very specific hashtag. Then the algorithm went live and it has been incredibly difficult to connect. Essentially the algorithm undercuts the purpose of the hashtag. Prior to July 2016, if an Instagram user added #bookstagram it allowed for an easy connection between all book lovers.

    I used to wake up every morning and scroll through my Bookstagram feed to see everyone waking up and follow their journey with books. Because it was structured chronologically, I never missed a post. I would work my way through every friend made – and these were all people whom I knew by name – and then I could comment and connect with ease. Now it’s hard to be discovered by new additions to the community or even connect with old friends.

    The camaraderie is much harder to find, and I struggle with the idea of just abandoning the platform all together. But I haven’t! And I honestly don’t think I ever will – unless IG decides to require a FB login (then I’ll be gone in a flash…. sorry, I just hate Facebook).

    Reasons why I have not left the Bookstagram community behind:

    1. I absolutely love having a special place to go that enables connection with readers from all over the globe.

    It is so incredibly unique. Even Goodreads doesn’t achieve what Bookstagram was able to achieve. It’s the ultimate book lovers club.

    The way that it feels to know that any bookish thought or craving that you think no one else will understand, there is a book lover on Instagram who gets it. There’s something so special about being able to discuss binge buying books or having a TBR pile that is wayyy too big to ever finish – and this community gets it! I wish I have always had this kind of a bookish support network.

    2. Looking through the Bookstagram feed is the easiest place to find new books.

    From the day I started my own book account, I found endless awesome releases and books from a while back that I just never saw in my local bookstore. Before my account and my new book friends, I used to wander Barnes & Noble in the hopes of finding a cover or title that intrigued me.

    To this day, I find it much more helpful to discover authors and books through this Instagram community than wandering Barnes & Noble, or using Goodreads or Amazon. In all honesty, I barely used Goodreads – didn’t even realize they had reading challenges. As for Amazon, learning how to scan a UPC in app was the best discovery ever because it allowed for me to budget way more books.

    3. It’s one of the only places that I feel comfortable completely nerding out.

    Bookstagram is filled with people exactly like myself who fangirl over fictional characters and become completely flustered when meeting an author whom they admire. It’s the best place to go and freak out about the ending to a book that made you cry or find other readers who are also craving new voices and different character POV.

    One of my favorite discoveries was that my book hangovers were not uncommon. There are people out there who are huge readers who also finish a book sometimes and realize they need to take a breather. I love knowing that other readers become so deeply impacted by the words in a book that they too need some time before they move onto the next one.

    It’s great to be able to talk about the best covers of a book or TBR lists or book signings – and receiving genuinely enthusiastic responses. I also love that some of my friends on Bookstagram are in relationships or live in a house where they get interrupted while reading, and they respond very similar to me (either blocking the person out or getting frustrated). It’s just great to find like minded people from all different backgrounds and countries.

    4. I read so much more than I ever did.

    Being a part of a community that is constantly reading inspires you to constantly be reading. I will admit that as a competitive person I respond very well to the Goodreads yearly challenge, and I love seeing who has read what and how many. I am very inspired by people who double my challenge or even more. There’s something very special about hearing other’s tips and tricks for achieving such a goal.

    I also love that I’m constantly discovering new books – as mentioned prior – because it means I have a never ending supply of truly interesting reads. My library has gotten to a point where I can find a book for any mood – great nonfiction, business, history, romance, sci-fi…. I have options for whatever I need in that moment.

    It has even expanded my scope of reading to Audiobooks! Audiobooks get me through long drives and household chores. I have found that it’s the best way for me to experience an auto-biography. It also allows for my brain to be processing a great book without having to sit down and hold a hardback copy every time.

    For all of these reasons – I don’t think I have it in me to ever leave.

    If Facebook requires a login, then that’s a different story (and yes I am VERY much aware that Instagram is now owned by Facebook and are collecting your data as such).I’m not sure why those two scenarios – FB login vs simply owned by FB – are different to me, but they are. Until that changes I will stay loyal to Bookstagram.

    I just have so much history on this account. More history than my own personal account because that seems to fluctuate between stages of my life. I made a very conscious choice not to delete all of my earliest photos. There is a struggle to want to delete photos when I realize that I hate my very early photography. But the book tags and early commentary are very special to me and so many of them will stay.

    My photos will continue to be very average because I don’t like purchasing all of the bookish props. I just don’t like collecting things. Books – Absolutely! Candles/funkos/pins and so on – I just feel like I’m collecting clutter.

    I appreciate everyone who does purchase those things because they love them, but I don’t want to impress on anyone that they need to spend money or put value in things that may not reciprocate in adding value to your life.

    Books expand your world view and exercise your imagination – and because of that I will never stop reading or investing in books.

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