Blogging and Social Media – Good or Bad?

There have been so many changes in the way information is shared, in the past few years. Twitter has become a popular website for those of us who love to share articles, news and rise to the challenge of talking in 140 characters. Facebook has taken off becoming the most used social media website online, allowing users to share information with a click of a button!

Those of us in the book blogging world have started to embrace this trend by using social media to help get the word out about our blogs, connect with our readers and take our discussions about books to a whole new level. 

I have never really questioned any of this before. As a 20-something who has been online for roughly 13 years, the internet is like a second home to me. I was there when Live Journal was the place to vent your thoughts to your friends, I jumped on the ICQ bandwagon and enjoyed the benefits of online chat, I went through the MySpace phase and along with everyone else, abandoned it for Facebook. To me, these things are just a natural part of interacting with others online. 

Today I came across a post by one of my much loved book bloggers, Dolce Bellezza. Here she wrote a post called 'Do you "like" this post?', where she talked about the 'like' and 'tweet' buttons that are popping up on everyone's blogs. She discussed the feelings of commercialism that she associates with these buttons, and whether they are right for her blog. It is after all, a personal choice.

This got me thinking. I have always had a twitter for my blog, to keep those who don't want to sign up to my RSS feed up to date with my posts. It seems to be quite a popular medium and I get quite a lot of hits from there. I also use Twitter to discover new blogs and read other bloggers posts, if they aren't in my reader.

Recently, however, I gave my blog a makeover. In an effort to help launch my freelance writing career (oh what a dream! one day my friends :) imagine writing from home full time?!), I created a Facebook page and added an Amazon aStore. 

The purpose behind this was simple. Use Facebook as a place where I can share all of my online writing and expand my blog into a larger space that what I have here at blogger. I attempted to start online bookish discussions and share more than just my writing, but other great bookish stuff I found online. So far, the response has been lukewarm. My discussions have gotten minimum response (thanks to those who did take part, so much appreciated!) and people 'liking' my page over there has been slow. 

The reasoning behind this? I am not sure. I am wondering if Facebook just hasn't taken off in the book blogging community? Maybe, people just prefer to communicate via a blog. Or, maybe bloggers look down on those who have Facebook pages as being overly commercial. Only time will tell. 

Another change I made was the aStore. I did this to share my favourite reads, link the books I review and earn a little extra income... all towards my dream of writing full time. Again, the response has not been good. Now, I don't expect you all to run over to my store and spend money.. not at all! I am only broaching this subject here as I wonder if it was such a good idea to add the store.

Which brings me to my point, what do you look for in a blog? If you see a blogger with a Facebook page, Twitter and online store, do you feel they are "too commercial", and you don't want to read their blog? Have I made a mistake linking my blog with my professional online writing? Is having ads, stores, facebook pages etc. off-putting? Or is it considered a normal part of being part of an online community? Is social media a great way to share  information or a mindless way to  spend our time?

Do you have a Facebook page? Do you use Twitter? Do you affiliate with any bookstores? How has this all worked out for you? Or, do you think this cheapens the blogging experience which is ultimately done for ourselves? Is blogging to share our thoughts on a book really any different to tweeting about it? Does length of post amount to quality or substance?

I know I just asked a lot of questions there but  I've been thinking about this all morning (hence, the length of this post) so any thoughts you have will be much appreciated!

Edit - I think it is also important to note that my blog here will always be personal. I have not and will not change the way I write here to look "more professional". I write a lot of literature related articles over at Suite 101 but they are completely different to how I write here. This is my place to write what I want, how I want. So my regular readers do not need to worry about any changes in content just because I have made other changes!
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