Insomniac Thoughts on Blogging and Social Media

Disconnected thoughts about blogging and social media:

  • I am neither a critic nor book-reviewer, though I occasionally try my hand at both. Above all, I love to read. Time’s Flow Stemmed is where I write about the books I read. My intentions are multiple, but mostly this blog is a commonplace book of sorts. If my enthusiasm for books is catching I feel in some small way that I have succeeded.
  • There are so many places to get a literary fix online. I read fewer books since I started blogging and participating on Twitter.
  • The recent (it is always recent) debate about the mutual admiration culture of literary Twitter or blogosphere is recognisable, but there are choices. It is not all pervasive. There is always choice in which blogs you read and who you choose to follow.
  • I miss blogging before Twitter and the “Like this” button, mostly because it seems to discourage comments. I’m delighted that anyone takes the time to read my blog, and not immune to the affirmation of someone ‘liking’ a post or retweeting a link, but I preferred comments. I enjoy the conversation.
  • I read a tweet recently that alluded to a culture of laziness amongst lit-bloggers. I could debate whether a lit-blogging culture or community exists but I won’t. As far as I know, most people who write about books on blogs or Twitter are amateurs, not professionally part of literary circles (though many would like to be). Certainly for me, this is, to use an old fashioned and much-maligned word, a hobby. The ‘Unsubscribe’ or ‘Unfollow’ button is always available. I appreciate anyone whose passion for reading impels them to share their thoughts on any form of social media, but I choose which blogs I read and whose timeline I follow on Twitter with the same care that I choose what books I read.
  • Thank you so much for reading Time’s Flow Stemmed. I don’t spend any time looking at analytics (should I?), but I am thrilled that 65 people choose to subscribe to this blog, and that 600 or so people follow my Twitter timeline.

Here ends tonight’s insomnia.

11 thoughts on “Insomniac Thoughts on Blogging and Social Media

  1. I can’t sleep at night either, Anthony!
    Keep up the good work here on your blog. I miss your tweets since I left twitter, but I don’t miss twitter generally.

    You are a source of inspiration with your posts and reviews!

    My best wishes

    • Hello Agata.

      I don’t normally press publish with my insomnia-induced posts, but this one got through.

      Very nice to hear from you and thanks for the generous words. I miss you on Twitter but understand why you aren’t there. I worry about the distraction.

  2. good morning anthony.
    i wondered about you being insomniac because of the times you appear doing things on the net… hope the insomnia gets better…
    i was wondering too about twitter and blogging and even though still a bit new to twitter (and after initial excitement i slowed down on it) agree that blogging suffers to some extent… the conversation does not take place at one place anymore but is sort of spread and fragmented…. and that can be frustrating, but also helpful at times. the advantage i see in twitter is that you can dump a link there to get it into the world in cases you can’t (time, knowledge) really write a long blogpost or somesuch. and in this way separated twitter can be quite useful without taking up too much time….

    • I find Twitter very fruitful as a research tool, and somewhere to initiate a thought process, which is why I persist with Twitter, despite reservations. Since Twitter though I read less books. There is only so much time. But without the blogosphere and Twitter the direction of my reading might be less rewarding. Twitter is a great distraction from insomnia.

  3. There’s a debate about a mutual admiration culture? I’d wholly missed that. Twitter though I agree is a mixed bag. I like it, but when a blog post gets discussed there I do find it slightly frustrating. Points are truncated, and quickly lost.

    What’s the culture of laziness concept? Given we’re not being paid for this, how energetic are we supposed to be? Surely one just spend time reading posts one doesn’t find interesting?

    I occasionally suffer from insomnia, but thankfully not badly. You have my sympathies.

    • Yes, this Jacob Silverman piece sparked endless, mostly tedious, debate:

      I get more irritated about the argument that bloggers are too lazy to produce “worthwhile” criticism or “proper” book reviews. I’ve seen writers complain about it on Twitter. I agree with you that the default option has to be to read something else. This is a hobby for most of us, not a career choice.

      Thanks for the sympathy. Insomnia has its brighter moments too.

  4. Am also a little ambivalent about Twitter, although I have found it to be an incredible resource for anglophone book and reading recommendations. Priceless to me while living in Switzerland.

    And yes, I share your irritation with the endless debating about the “role” of the litblogger and the value of his/her “criticism”. I suspect one of the things fueling this debate is that bookbloggers have become enmeshed with publishers (for whatever good or bad may come of it) for book publicity, and so they suddenly need to be categorized and defined and put into some kind of hierarchy. Despite the fact, as you say, that most book bloggers are not professionals and just interested in talking about books in whatever ways they feel comfortable.

    • Hi Michelle. I agree fully with both points. My main reason for remaining on Twitter is for reading ideas and links to critical material I’d likely miss without Twitter (though blogs used to serve a similar purpose, arguably better). I enjoy the conversation but would far prefer it was happening on blogs, imperfect that they are.

      The relationship with publishers is a step too far for me. It would turn an important hobby into an obligation, and I have enough of those.

      • I’d also agree that pre-Twitter blogs were doing a fine job of curating and passing material around – and often with thoughtful commentary attached. Perhaps there needs to be a “slow book blogger” movement. I’m only half-joking.

        • I thought for a while that Google+ might be a venue for that sort of curation and conversation, but it hasn’t worked. I like the idea of the “slow book blogger” movement.

  5. Pingback: Lately … | Time's Flow Stemmed

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