If you haven’t heard of Booktok or Bookstagram, let me introduce you. It’s the unofficial book/reader/author communities that have been created within social media sites. Instagram and TikTok are currently popular platforms for this group. In my experience, someone can thrive on one or both platforms. Depending on your personality, you may find that you prefer one over the other. What started as a creative outlet in the early Fall of 2020 quickly became a fun hobby for me. I used Instagram to review the books I was reading and engage with those who were reading others or the same stories as I was.
The actual creative exercise was starting my TikTok. It focused more on following trends to get interactions and engagement with the content I was creating. As someone who took media classes in high school, TikTok has been a fun platform.
Before joining either platform with my book account, I was using Goodreads. While not a social media site at its core, it allowed me to show my ever-growing book collection with ratings. Enter Instagram, and now I was adding reviews. With the beginning of this blog, the reviews are becoming longer, and my analysis of books is more in-depth.
Why did I start documenting my reading journey on social media?
As a young teenager, I loved reading. My favorites were YA romance – think Rachel Hawthorne, Tamara Summers, and Emma Harrison. There is definitely a pipeline that exists from reading these stories to reading today’s current contemporary romance. Maybe it’s the covers of the books or how we can relate to the characters. What starts as puppy love as a teenager is written to convey the emotions we have at thirteen versus the adult relationships we have as we age. Therefore, relating to these types of stories is effortless.
While I would read other books, for example, The Mediator series by Meg Cabot, the Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard, and the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, YA romance was my go-to.
As my courseload increased throughout high school then college, reading for fun became non-existent. I never felt like I could justify reading something for joy when I had reading for classes or studying that needed to be done. So, my fun hobby went away for several years.
Enter 2020, before the pandemic, I’d started reading a bit more after discovering Goodreads at the end of 2019. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren was my gateway back into the escapism that makes reading about other worlds inviting. I’d set myself a goal of reading twenty books and hit eleven. For someone who hadn’t read for enjoyment in many years, I still considered this a great achievement.
September of 2020, I discovered Bookstagram. It was a place I could share my love of books with others who could relate. Not only could I post cute photos of book stacks, but I could post reviews of what I loved. The number of people I met across the country who felt like close friends grew over the months. It boosted my confidence in an area that in the past would have made me self-conscious to openly talk about. As many of us can probably relate to, a love of reading wasn’t considered cool or trendy growing up. Now that I’m an adult, it’s a beautiful time to no longer care what people think of me and my hobbies.
In September of 2021, I started my TikTok account. This allowed me to be more creative and follow the trending songs or videos, but add a twist for BookTok. Recently, I began showing my face on the videos. It’s increased my confidence in myself and who I am.
What did I gain from all of this?
There are many things I gained by joining this community among the two platforms.
- Creating goals and working towards them
- It’s no secret that planning and goal setting are keys to succeeding in what you’ve set your mind on. In my case, setting a reading goal and working towards that makes me feel accomplished. School was my entire life and focus until I graduated college. After that, it’s your career that takes its place. However, I wanted to ensure that I maintained hobbies that couold eb done anywhere. For me, that’s reading and writing. Though I may not always accomplish my Goodreads goal or post 1-2 posts on this blog a week, it’s still something I’m working towards because it makes me feel good.
- Better attention span
- Initially I picked up reading again because I felt that my attention span was shortening due to consuming fast media. Now, I understand you may be thinking, “then why create these social media accounts?” I still enjoy fast snipets of media, but I also recognize there is a balance between that and reading for hours on end. I wanted to increase my focus so by reading and forcing myself to sit for longer periods of time, I’ve helped myself in many ways.
- Additional hobbies
- Finding my love of reading again and couopling that with writng blog post of short pieces for Instagram gives me something to do where I can connect with others who enjoy it as well. I’m reading anyway so adding writing into the mix and sharing that with others is the best bonus.
- Increased confidence
- I’ve found that my confidence in other areas of my life has increased due to me being much more open on these platforms. My confidence at work, with friends and family, and strangers is much better than it was prior to starting my accounts. I’ve begun to find my own voice and passions through this time.
- Creativity flow
- I work in IT so in my daily job, my creativity is a bit hinderd. Whereas in my hobbies, I am able to express myself more. As I mentioned above, reading for enjoyment was limited for many years as was writing. Now that I’m more involved in these communities, I find myself figuring out more creative solutions to problems either at work or in my personal life. It’s interesting to me how our brains work with different areas being active.
I won’t say there are zero issues with Bookstagram and Booktok, as every community has its flaws. However, the positive experience, the people I’ve met, and the benefits I’ve received have made this a wonderful time. I hope to continue sharing my thoughts and providing reviews that get more in-depth. Ultimately, this is as much for me as for those who watch or read my posts.
In the meantime, I’d love to know what got you started within the book community? Was it the pandemic that brought you back to your love of reading, or have you been here all along waiting for the rest of us to catch up? Would love to know, so feel free to comment.
I can’t wait to hear from some of you!