This past Friday, as the dust blew across the pages of my reading Kristin Hannah’s latest and greatest, Four Winds, (review to follow) another storm brewed on the pages of Facebook. One of the reading groups I regularly follow, Book Club Girls, run by Harper Collins, announced they would be shutting down the group by August 31st. An ensuing uproar lit up my feed as the 40,000+ followers learned HC would shift their focus to other social media channels, including Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.
Book Club Girls offers/offered a means for readers across the states and around the world to bond over a shared love of discussing and recommending books. Unfortunately, those other channels lack the structure to stimulate discussions. One might ask, how is Instagram, TikTok and Twitter “social” in one of the basest definitions of the word? They are one-way “conversations” and most of us know how those conversations usually end: an unengaged and disappointed receiving party.
So, I’m not surprised to see the dust-up and sadness as group followers reacted to the decision: I don’t care for and don’t use the other platforms they chose to continue with. I feel like those are the antithesis of book clubs. Let’s tweet about a book in 280 characters, a short video clip, or photo instead of having full on discussions and sharing?! Maybe I’m just old.
Same, maybe I’m just old, or maybe I just don’t have the patience for the time-suck which social media creates in our day. Facebook is enough for me. The connections I’ve made through FB groups matter the most in filling a void, particularly one which raised its ugly head this past year. Another post aptly summarized the feeling: I found this when the pandemic sent us all into quarantine. All the book groups that I normally participate in were placed on hold, and I realized how much they were a part of my life and something that I needed to be happy. This group gave me a chance to talk books with others from the safety of my home as well as led to me finding an online book group with a group of ladies that I now consider friends.
Friends. Connections. Lifelines. Relationships. The foundation and mainstays of any book club.
As a sales and marketing professional, I understand the demands on HC’s marketing staff to manage multiple platforms for thousands of new books every year. They’re a business which needs to sell books. Managing a FB page to monitor for spam and discourteous posters takes time away from their promotion work. I get it.
The good news? From the disbanding of the HC group, many of their followers stepped up and created new groups and offered the BC Girls a place where they could come together again, to be social, to be connected. One that I’ve joined is Girls Who Love Books. They’ve already attracted 5,000 members and the posts are inviting and engaging. Check them out!
It’s okay to be frustrated and sad, but it’s also okay, as another follower posted, to embrace change and try something new. Turn the page and move on.
And, come follow me on my Facebook Author page. I promise – no drama, no abandonment, no cutesy TikTok-type videos. Just reviews, Kindle specials I recommend, updates on my writing journey and hopefully, conversations with you about great books.
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