Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Evolution of GoodReads and the Blogosphere in Last 4 Years

I remember the summer of 2009 very, very well. I was a soon to be high school girl who had just moved to a new town and was looking for a good book to read. I stumbled across this site and immediately fell in love.

It took three months for Reading the Best of the Best to be born on September 16, 2009.

I was then introduced to social networks (besides Facebook) and the Facebook for bookworms: GoodReads.

I LOVED GoodReads when I first came across it. I LOVED the blogosphere when I came across it. I LOVED IT ALL. And I wanted to be part of that wonderful, welcoming community where people could talk about book endlessly.

The world back then was so...nice.

CLARIFICATION: I don't like drama. I don't handle it very well. See, I am VERY, VERY opinionated person and I am also stubborn. I know facts to support my argument and I don't say anything without some sort of knowledge but I don't like drama AT ALL. It ruins my mood and I'm not a nice sight when I'm in a bad mood. So, I don't pay a whole lot of attention to it. Actually, I didn't in 2009 and 2010 because most of it I could ignore. It wasn't in my face back then. 
Anyhoo, I loved the book blogging world in 2009. And in 2010. And then mostly in 2011. I'll be honest, I stay out of online drama. I don't see the point in fueling the drama machine. I read very single post, every single argument I can find and I make my my head. I share them with no one but *maybe* my journal. Or I go walking to clear my head. In 2011, drama become a lot more apparent than the 2 previous years (from what I know; again, I didn't go looking for drama and often ignored it.)
But in 2011, if there was drama, it wasn't stretched for long periods of time. And honesty, from my memory, there wasn't a lot of drama in the first place.
And then came 2012 and I swear, instead of line like "2012 is the year of....girl's faces on covers of books" (since 2011 was pretty much the year of the dresses on covers) it should be something like "2012 is the year of DRAMA." 

First, there was the plagiarism drama with The Story Siren. Which EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON seemed to want to write about. It was stretched FROM THE MOON AND BACK. People bullied Kristi. Then they bullied the ladies who were plagiarized and then who knows what happened after that! I no longer have anything to do with Kristi and her blog because I read every single piece of evidence I was given and I made a mental decision. I never posted about it publicly (I talked about it among friends). I have no intention to fuel the drama.

Then there was the whole white washing of the YA covers going on. Actually, white washing is something that comes to light every year and rightfully so. 

Then the whole "who should get the ARC's" after that one blogger posted that 22 minute vlog show casing more than 150+ books she and another chick got at ALA. I'll just link you to The Readventurer blog post about it so you can read it all to your hearts desire. There was name calling and a lot of other stuff. People made some really good points and I've come to some conclusions: which shall stay in my head.

And the one that I'm sure came to huge attention last year: the reviewer/author relationship and the negative reviews and who should read them and of course: GoodReads. 

People are all up in arms over "negative" reviews and "bullying" and a whole lot of name calling. There are thousands and thousands of comments EVERY WHERE.

From GoodReads came The Selection Debacle. When I first read this, I was shocked and APPALLED AT THIS. How could the author and her agent do such a thing? I mean really?

And most recently, came a site where the author's profile people they believe to be GoodReads bullies. I'm not even going to link it here. I don't want them to get any more hits than they are getting. Again, The Readventurer has more information there. When I read their post, I felt so bad for Rachel Vincent who's book was apparently on this sites "Recommended" list and she got lots of hate from this. That is just sad. Really, truly sad.

What is my point is: The blogosphere has changed DRASTICALLY in the last 4 years, from what I've observed of course.

It's not as nice as it once was. People used to make good points without drying to harm anyone else with words. People were respectful and didn't bring out the pitch forks and fire.

Mind you, I still read well written arguments and then there are well written arguments that make me laugh. So, yes, there are still awesome people in the blogosphere. Even if I didn't link them here, I still see them around.
What is the point of this post?!
What I want to know is: WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? Why are we go aggressive these days? WHY IS THERE SO MUCH DRAMA? WHYWHYWHYWHYWHYWHYWHYWHY? 

Why do we feel it is important to create A FREAKIN SITE that profiles GoodReads "bullies." The point of this site? To stop the bullies.

It has all led me to:

I no longer absolutely, without-a-shadow-of-a-doubt love this community. I really, truly don't. 

Maybe that's harsh. Oh well. It's the truth. I LOVE bloggers and reviews but I think we're all forgetting something: WE. ARE. ALL. HUMAN. Does that excuse you from anything when you DID something wrong? No. If you really did write a review attacking the author than shame on you. No one should do that. If you're reviews are well written and not harsh but truthful and you're talking about the BOOK and not the AUTHOR, than good for you!

My point is, we are all human and we all have feelings. Respect them. I always said that everything I needed to know about life, I learned in kindergarden:

If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it. 

Treat people how you want to be treated

The point of this post is my attempt for someone to please tell me WHAT HAPPENED. Why has the face of the blogosphere and reading community changed so drastically? Why does drama pop up and every single blogger get associated with people who are in the wrong? 

Am I the only one who has noticed this? Are you all seeing this too? What are your views on these?


  1. Ha! I'm glad you get a kick out of my rants. :) I just think the greater the community becomes the more pervasive drama gets as a result. More people openly reviewing books, more people to go insane over said reviews. I do not pity anyone that loses their shit on the internet. If they don't know how to conduct themselves online by now then may they eat their own feet. It's not like the internet is a new invention or anything. I try to stay out of it as much as possible and only say something about it if it directly affects me (like the ARCGate thing because as a result of a few an entire community of bloggers are getting shit on for acquiring ARCs). I just can't be bothered otherwise.

  2. I love your rants! They're well written and make a good point!

    I think you're right! The blogging community has gotten SO LARGE over the years but that's why I wish people would just...think! It's very disheartening and I posted about it because I felt like it was putting a bad name to all bloggers, not just the ones who were profiled or had interactions with the authors.

  3. I think many bloggers are on the defensive because other, more established methods of promoting books (traditional reviewers, librarians, book store workers) don't always see our value. So when something a blogger does is called into question by these more traditional method users, the immediate reaction of the community is to jump on the defensive.

    There's also the anonymity, on sites like Goodreads, that allow people to hide behind their avatars and fake names and post the kinds of things that they would NEVER say to someone's face.

    And lastly, there's the amount of traffic that is brought to sites which participate in the drama - I'm almost ashamed to admit that my most popular post, with over twice the amount of views as any other post I've written, is the one I did about The Story Siren. At the time, I wrote it because I felt it was interesting to see how her thoughts on plagiarism before she was accused had changed once she had been accused. Everyone knows there's no such thing as bad press, and the best way to keep your blog in the spotlight is to grab a piece of the pie by blogging about it.

    Why has there been an increase? Book blogging is growing in popularity - more and more people are seeing it as a great avenue to share their thoughts on books with other book lovers. But of course, not everyone is going to agree, and not everyone is going to disagree quietly.

    Just my two cents!

  4. I totally get what you're saying. It is growing very, very fast which is why I think a lot of the calmness is...getting lost, for lack of better wording. I'm very much on the defensive of these kinds of things too because I do see the more reestablished forms looking down on us bloggers; I just don't make my opinions public, unlike others. Of course, it's their choice and all, but still, there should be some filtering.

    Ick, yeah, drama and posts about drama do bring a LOT of 1) traffic and 2) attention to not only the blog but the people involved on the drama, making it bigger with all the attention. It's a little sad.

    Thanks for your two cents!