My Three Least Favorite Things about Book Blogging

There is a lot of homogeneity in the book blogging community. Book bloggers tend to be very specific people. They're usually socially liberal, ethnically European (i.e., "white"), middle class, young women from the U.S. or Canada (and if they're not, they tend to be from Australia or Europe).

Now, I don't mean to say that there aren't conservatives or ethnic minorities or men or older people or non-American/Canadian/Australian/Europeans in the community. There are, and I follow more than a few who fit at least one of those demographics. It's just that in my experience, I've found the overwhelming majority of people I'm following hit almost all of the above categories, meaning that there's just not a lot of diversity to the people behind the blogs I'm reading.

Of course, this could just be me. Maybe I'm following those demographics most because that's who I gravitate towards or because it's who bloggers I respect gravitate towards, and I'm just not digging deep enough into the community to find subcultures of other demographics. Or maybe it's a real representation issue in the community; maybe there really aren't as many (or many at all) book bloggers who are conservatives, ethnic minorities, men, older than their mid-thirties, or from countries other than the U.S., Canada, Australia, the U.K., etcetera. (The one obvious caveat here being that U.S., Canadian, Australia, and U.K. bloggers are most likely to blog in English, which is the only language I can read.)

I'm not trying to argue that this is a huge deal, of course. It just strikes me as a bit... strange when I notice it. Because, going along with the prevalence of social liberals in the book blogging community (I don't think I've ever seen anyone I could reasonably describe as conservative, and I myself am far from a social conservative... but, of course, it's always possible that they tend not to talk about their politics as often or as openly as socially liberal bloggers, so I overlook them), there's a lot of talk about making sure there's diversity and representation in our books... but I haven't seen a ton in our community itself. It's a little eerie, honestly, and sometimes I worry that we're in danger of becoming--or have already become--a hivemind.

At the very least, it makes me want to keep an eye out for more bloggers who aren't in those (perceived?) majority demographics.

Book bloggers are very respectful of each other's opinions of books... but some (especially on Tumblr) turn vicious when social politics come into the equation. As I said earlier, pretty much every blogger I've ever seen has been a social liberal, myself included. So it's no surprise that when I see a politically charged post, it's about an issue that's traditionally "liberal". There's a lot of talk about ethnic diversity and representation in books, gender and orientation minority representation in books, and prejudicial language in books and everyday life. Usually, my thoughts are similar to the person posting, and that's okay; sometimes they're not, and that's okay, too. Except that every now and then, I'll see someone commenting on a politically-oriented post to offer a dissenting opinion and be torn apart by the people who agreed with the blogger (and sometimes, the blogger themselves). I've seen this most often on Tumblr, where I actually saw more than a few instances of bloggers telling people who disagreed with their opinions of certain books, words, new articles, social issues/concepts, etcetera to "get the fuck off my blog" and the like. I was floored when I saw it; having a different opinion about whether a demographic is represented respectfully in a book or whether a word is acceptable in a particular context (or ever) means that person isn't welcome to talk about books with you or look at your blog? Holy shit!

This, unfortunately, was what led me to stop using Tumblr (for the most part), as the problem seemed to be so much worse there. I've also seen it happen to a lesser degree on a few other blogs, but thankfully, most of the time the people running or commenting on a Wordpress or Blogspot blog tend to keep their heads a little more and try to maintain at least some respect for each other.

The blogging itself can become overwhelming... and when it gets too overwhelming, the stress can dampen my desire to read, too. Blogging can be a big responsibility, and sometimes you can bite off more than you can chew. Maybe you've downloaded too many eARCs, maybe you're fallen far behind on your intended posting schedule, or maybe you've signed up for way too many reading challenges. I've done all three in the past, and each tends to inevitably lead to a day when I realize that I'm sunk. I'm not going to be able to catch up within any reasonable timeframe, and with that realization goes my urge to continue. And that gets me even further behind schedule, which makes me even less likely to catch up, which makes me even less interested in trying, which keeps the cycle going and going and going until I just throw in the towel.

Seriously, at some point in this whole blogging thing, you--well, I, specifically--need to learn to bite off only what you can actually get down. Or, you know, what you can actually get done.

So what do you think? Is there anything that bothers you about blogging or the book blogging community? Have any input on any of my observations? Let me know in the comments below!

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