BBAW: Staying Connected

BBAWToday’s BBAW prompt is “How do you stay connected to the community?”

For me (Teresa), my ability to stay connected to other bloggers has waxed and waned over the years. I’ve gone through periods when I’ve helped organize events, joined in on lots of challenges and readalongs, and followed and commented on tons of blogs. These days, however, my involvement is a little more low-key.

Although Twitter is far less lively than it used to be (at least for me), I still enjoy it when I can take a dip into it. I am sometimes hesitant to hop into conversations there, especially now that I’m not as present and active as I used to be, but I have had some great interactions there. And I still get a little teary-eyed when I remember the bloggers who supported me on Twitter while my cat Sophie was sick and I was at the oncologist waiting for test results and then a few days later when she died. I have Goodreads and LibraryThing accounts, but I haven ‘t been using the social features of those sites much. They’re more for record-keeping than anything else.

Actually reading and commenting on blogs is my other favorite way to stay connected, but I don’t get to comment as much as I used to. I feel a little strange saying it, but, for me, the secret to keeping up with commenting is limiting the number of blogs I follow. There are tons of superb blogs out there, but if I try to read them all, I’ll never get around to commenting on any of them! In general, I try to comment at least once or twice a month on blogs I read regularly, and I follow more bloggers on Twitter whose blogs I’ll comment on when I have time and their posts really inspire me. But I’ve had to accept that I can’t be everywhere!

I also enjoy blogging events, but I tend to stick to low-commitment events, often deciding at the last minute whether to join in. The (Wo)Man Booker Shadow Panel last year was a big exception, but it was ridiculously fun. And I’ve enjoyed chatting with other bloggers about the upcoming Tournament of Books.

And living in the DC area has make me lucky enough to meet lots of bloggers, both because many bloggers live in the area and because so many come to visit. Last year was especially great because Simon and Eva happened to be here at the same time, and we arranged a big blogger meet-up. And I’ve been on lots of book-shopping trips and several game nights with Thomas and Frances and last year started a book group with Christy and Leslie. That’s been an especially pleasant surprise to come out of blogging.

What are some of your favorite ways to stay connected?

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29 Responses to BBAW: Staying Connected

  1. Laurie C says:

    I have ups and downs in how much time I spend online, too, and I completely missed hearing about the (Wo)Man Booker Shadow Panel! What a great idea! I’ve never gotten involved in the Tournament of Books, but it always sounds like fun, too.
    For staying connected, I’ve been making a conscious effort over the past few months to comment more often and to reply to comments more quickly than I had been doing. I also realized that (maybe because I’m getting old) I stay connected best with the bloggers whom I subscribe to via email, so I went through my blogroll one Bloggiesta and subscribed via email to the ones that I especially didn’t want to lose track of. I think I saw this point about email subscriptions on someone else’s blog or in a comment and didn’t think of it myself, but I don’t know who or where!

    • Teresa says:

      The Shadow Panel was so much fun! We had some great conversations, especially because there were a handful of books we had very strong (and very different) opinions about.

      I don’t subscribe to any bloggers by e-mail. I often read e-mail on my phone, so I’d probably not get around to commenting if I did that. I usually don’t go into my feed reader unless I’m on my computer. But it’s great that you’ve found a way that works for you!

  2. I did that last year for the IFFP Shadow Panel, awesome!

    • Teresa says:

      I remember seeing some of the shadow panel posts. It’s such a fun thing to do!

      • it is, but takes a lot of extra reading. Last year, that’s how I read my most favorite book of the year, but I also had to DNF 3 or 4 books of that list that did not work at all for me. And this year I don’t have time for that. next year hopefully

  3. Trish says:

    I find commenting to be one of the best ways to stay connected as well–which is probably why I’ve feel so unconnected the past year. You’re right about limiting the number of blogs you comment on, but when you’ve been doing this for so many years and have met so many great people and blogs you love, how do you cull that list? Not to mention the newer bloggers who are putting out great content as well. So…I stick to twitter because it’s easier. ;) These events also make it really fun to get reconnected!

    • Teresa says:

      I have to admit, I can be pretty ruthless about culling my feed reader. If I find I’m hardly ever commenting and only sometimes reading a blog, I let it go. And a lot of bloggers in my reader have quit, so there’s some culling that happens without my doing anything. I follow a lot more bloggers on Twitter whose blogs I enjoy but don’t have time to commit to. It’s hard, though, because I know I miss out!

  4. Meaghan says:

    Love tournament of books. Our school library is doing a version of it this year. I need to be better about commenting. This is clearly my bookish New Year resolution. :-)

  5. Oh, I feel you on the commenting. Commenting is my favourite and preferred way to keep up with the blogs I read, but it can get a little hard when you discover more and more blogs. I try to go through my bloglovin’ feed at least once a week, sometimes twice, but there is a lot of good content being missed because you just can’t keep up with everyone!

    • Teresa says:

      It’s so true that it’s hard to keep up with it all. I’ve gotten better over the years at knowing at a glance whether a post in my reader is one that I want to engage with (reading or commenting). I try to keep things so that I can clean the whole feed reader out a few times a week. If I get more than that, it’s time to cull (which I really hate to do!)

  6. Jeanne says:

    Like Laurie, I need the reminder of email more and more, to check when someone has written something new. I try to go through my blogroll and see what everyone’s up to once a week or so, when life events don’t intervene.

    • Teresa says:

      I still like a feed reader (Inoreader is my reader of choice) because all my subscriptions are in one place. I’ve just recently set it up to only show titles when I open it so if there’s something I know I don’t want to read, I can delete it right away.

  7. I have so rarely participated in blogging events, and now that I’m helping to host this one, I’m not sure why! It’s been really fun, though time-consuming, and it’s been such a nice way to feel reenergized about blogging.

    • Teresa says:

      I used to really love organizing Classics Circuit blog tours, even though it was time-consuming. But I don’t have the energy to be more than a participant in things these days. The Booker panel was a fun and energizing experience.

  8. priscilla says:

    I agree that commenting is the best way to keep up, and I also do best when I follow a handful of blogs. Every year or so I get very ambitious and add new blogs to follow, but then I end up feeling so overwhelmed I just stop altogether.

    • Teresa says:

      Lately, I’ve taken to adding new-to-me bloggers to Twitter, and if I find I’m clicking through to their posts and/or commenting frequently, I put them in my feed reader. I do sometimes feel like I’m letting new bloggers down by not reaching out more actively, so if I see someone new commenting here regularly I try to visit their blog right away and add them right to my reader if I enjoy what I see.

  9. Kay says:

    I think it makes sense when you say you do better at commenting when you don’t follow as many blogs. I understand that. And the number I keep up with has gone up and down and up and down. I comment when I have something to say. And I’m happy in my little section of this fun blogging world. :-)

    • Teresa says:

      Yes! I think (hope) we all are able to find our happy corners. And then events like BBAW can help us widen our view a bit and check out other corners we didn’t know about.

  10. BBAW has been a nice shot in the arm for my commenting, but I won’t go out on a limb and call it “revitalized” because I know better than to commit publicly to keeping up the pace. And I am quite envious of your DC-area blogger community!

  11. Commenting definitely is the best, but it really is hard to not get overwhelmed by all the blogs! It’s a constant struggle. I love Twitter for community and I’m super surprised that instagram is also great for it. Jealous that you live near bloggers!

    • Teresa says:

      I know lots of people love Instagram, and I’ve tried it, but it hasn’t taken hold for me. I think part of my problem is that my phone has such a crappy camera. I’m planning to upgrade soon and may give it another try then. I used to be into photography, so it seems like it could be a good fit.

  12. Care says:

    I just started Tsar of Love and Techno! AND 100 pages from finishing The Invaders. (speaking of TOB)

  13. I am so glad everyone has been blogging on these BBAW topics, particularly this one. I am terrible at staying connected to the community–I just cannot get myself to follow challenges or read-alongs, perhaps because most challenges just present more books than I want to feel like I “have” to read–but I am making the effort to be a better commenter.
    And I totally agree that you have to limit the number of blogs you read. There is just not world enough and time for all the great blogs out there! I’ll always keep reading yours, though. Thanks for writing it!

    • Teresa says:

      I really am choosy about the challenges I join. The shadow panel appealed to me because it was a collaboration among people I really like. If I do a readalong, it’s almost always for a book I was planning to read soon anyway.

      And thank you for reading! Yours is among my must-reads, too, and I’m glad you’re blogging more regularly these days. There aren’t many people who’ll snark on that Guernsey book.

  14. Christy says:

    I just added a handful of new blogs to my reader thanks to BBAW, even while knowing that later this year, I’ll probably have to reassess, because as you said, you really just can’t keep up it all, as much as you might want to. I don’t use the same feed reader as you, but I think I use a similar approach – I set it up so I can see all the titles of unread posts on one page and can quickly delete from that list based on my interests. I still haven’t figured out Twitter entirely – but the BBAW twitter-fest earlier this week was a ton of fun to participate in and watch.

    • Teresa says:

      I added some blogs to my reader, too. I hope I can keep up with them all, but only time will tell. I added a bunch more to Twitter because I find that Twitter can be a nice way to follow new-to-me bloggers. If I’m often clicking through to read and comment on their posts, then I’ll add them to my reader.

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