Wednesday, May 13, 2015

You Can't Sit With Us


I’ve noticed, especially recently, how much people feel like there’s a barrier between older and newer bloggers. Between people who have been around for a LONG time and others who are just starting out. I hear the word “cliquey” being thrown around sometimes, and I’ve read many conversations on Twitter and on blogs discussing this very thing. But I wanted to share my thoughts, what I’ve experienced personally, how my blogging days have changed, and why I think the term “cliques” has created some tension.  In some ways, it’s such a negative word, and people take it differently. But I also feel that it has some truth, and that many people don’t mean it in a bad way. I think many of us just find it hard to fit in, even in such a warm and welcoming place as this. I know I did, at first, until I developed close friendships with others, in my own little “clique” that I wouldn’t give up for anything.


When I started blogging (in November 2012), it was not about books. It was about college, a safe space I needed so I could write freely, and then it slowly morphed into a book blog from there (in May of 2013). But! I barely inched my way into the community back then. I think I did most of my socializing on Goodreads, so it wasn’t really with other bloggers but people in groups. I didn’t realize back then how much Twitter was such a big part of book blogging. It is, in my opinion, the biggest social media platform we have, and the one that mostly everyone uses. So, suffice it to say, I missed A LOT my first year (give or take a few months) of blogging. I didn’t form friendships because I didn’t talk to anybody. I commented on other blogs, but I don’t think I even did it that often (which is seriously the worst and the saddest, and I wish I’d done that first year differently). But everything worked out okay, because last summer, after drowning in loneliness, I escaped online. I slowly but surely inched out of my shell. I started using Twitter more often, and I finally joined the Top Ten Tuesday meme, which I am pretty sure brought me two of my best friends in this community (thank you, The Broke and the Bookish).


Clearly I can’t say how much this community has changed, since I didn’t really pay that much attention to it until last year (even though I was not a newbie). But I can say that, once I actually TRIED to form relationships, they happened. Once I stopped being so afraid of joining conversations on Twitter, I actually started making progress in the book blogging world. I STILL find myself hesitating to jump in and add my two cents. But not because I feel that others are cliquey or intimidating. It’s because I am very shy, and it’s hard for me to share things about myself or strike up a conversation. I can’t tell you how often I stare at someone’s tweet and take like ten minutes to reply. Because I want to be funny. Because I want to be cool. Because I want people to think I’m someone that they can converse with. Because I want them to WANT to talk to me. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tweeted something that I wished I could take back. Because it sounded ridiculous. Awkward. Because I wasn’t sure if the person I was replying to would find it funny, wasn’t sure if my tone was taken in the way I wanted it to. All of these things constantly run through my mind, and it’s why I still find it hard to tweet at people, especially older and more established bloggers.


In a way, they ARE a little intimidating. But that’s not because of who they are, it’s because of ME. It is my awkward penguin ways of socializing. This also makes me think of the saying hi to intimidating bloggers challenge that went around on Twitter, what, two weeks ago? I remember people finding it great, but others being confused and even offended because how did anyone ever find them intimidating? Maybe that wasn’t the word we wanted there. It has a little bit of a negative connotation, but I know no one participating in the challenge meant it in a bad way. It was a challenge to get people talking, to get people to say hi to those bloggers they’ve followed for a long time but have been too scared to talk to. It was a GOOD idea. And it created a great night of blogger love, something we’ve all needed after all of the drama and negativity.


I think, when people use the words “intimidating” and “cliquey” they don’t mean them in a bad way. At least, that’s what it seems like to me. I think, like myself, people just have a hard time jumping into conversations and talking to bloggers they look up to. They don’t know how to “break in” with those groups that have formed through all the years they’ve been blogging together. Because that’s all it really is. They aren’t “cliques” in the total sense of the word, and especially not in a negative light. It’s only natural for people to gravitate toward their friends, so easy for them to fall into conversations on Twitter (I keep using Twitter as my example, but only because I feel it is the most conversational platform, more so than blogs, because that is generally one-sided). And yes, it can be intimidating to even think about interrupting those, because you feel like you’re intruding on something you shouldn’t. It can especially be that scary when you’re someone like me, someone who finds it harder to socialize, someone who is NOT outgoing or funny but who tries so hard to be.


It took me a long time to make friends in this community, and an even longer time to feel like I found a place here. But when I started TRYING, when I started putting myself out there and stopped being so afraid to socialize, things changed for me. Yes, I find it hard to talk to some bloggers, especially when they’re conversing with their friends, because I don’t want to seem rude or pushy. And some of them just intimidate me with their coolness and hilarious tweets, and I AM SUCH AN AWKWARD PENGUIN I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TALK TO THEM.


But I feel like this has sort of made the barrier between older and newer bloggers more noticeable and wider, making people look unapproachable and exclusive, making it seem like no one wants to welcome beginners. And I KNOW bloggers who are offended by the term clique and what it means, especially when it’s thrown around in a negative way (which I haven’t seen except a few times, so I can’t say if it happens often enough to make it a problem). There will always be groups on here, because that’s what happens in life. You find your people, and you strengthen your relationships with them by talking consistently. But that doesn’t make you exclusive, and it doesn’t make you intimidating. I think a lot of this clique talk just stems from our own insecurities (at least, that’s the way it is with me), and by our own frustrations with trying to be heard in this community and not finding our own group of friends. It WILL happen, trust me. It might take awhile, and it’ll be hard. But the friendships you make in this community? They’re worth everything.


I don’t know what to do about this gap, or about the “clique” comments being tossed around, but I do know one thing: it means different things to different people. And to me, it carries a bit of negative connotations, but I also feel that it’s true, in a sense. In some ways, the community does feel like an almost impossible clique to break into. But in truth, we’re just a bunch of fangirling, squealing, warm people who just love talking about books with others. We love fictional characters, feels, and ships. If we’re a clique, we’re the best damn clique around.


And in the spirit of Mean Girls:

Just fyi: Never be afraid to jump into my conversations with people on Twitter. I LOVE chatting with new people and finding new favorite blogs to read. So don’t hesitate, okay? You CAN sit with us, always. :)

*****

How do YOU feel about the term "clique" when describing bloggers? Do you think it's negative, positive, both? Do you think there's a noticeable gap between older and newer bloggers? Have you ever found it hard to become a part of this community? I'd love to know your thoughts!

29 comments:

  1. Great discussion post, girl! Thanks for putting yourself out there. I do the same thing on Twitter sometimes - hesitate to join a conversation because I'm not sure I'll say the "right things" and end up feeling foolish. But I do think being on Twitter is the best way to get your blog out there and form friendships. Sometimes I hate how much Twitter is needed, because there's no way I can spend tons of time on there with work and then also trying to blog, but I do like how easy it makes it to communicate with my friends.

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    1. Thanks, Danielle! That is exactly how I feel on Twitter--I always worry about tweeting foolish things, and then I get really upset over them too. I can't delete, so I'm stuck with them. Ugh. And yes, I think it's the best way too. But it is so very hard to be on there enough to catch up with everyone!

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  2. Yay, I loved this! Although, I totally think you need to add the "You can't sit with us" gif at the top. ;)

    Anyway, oops, when I said intimidating a couple weeks ago, I didn't mean it negatively, I don't think it's a negative thing. If I considered a blogger intimidating, like you said, it's because of who they are and who I am.

    It's like, you go to meet a favorite author and you've read all of this author's books, but when you go to meet them, suddenly you can't talk because of who they are and their books means everything to you.

    "Amber, don't make analogies anymore". Duly noted.

    Anyway, I think you're right about the word "clique" being as there aren't really any cliques, it's just people who have gotten to know each other over YEARS and become such good friends that they talk to each other a lot, which is understandable.

    I definitely don't always jump into a lot of conversations on Twitter, especially if a lot of people are talking, it's just like "Um....no." Lol. That's a me thing though.

    This was a great post. :)

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    1. Haha, I thought about it but I wanted my feature image there instead. :P

      We've already talked about this, but I know you didn't mean it negatively! I think it's mostly just who we are and not about the person we're intimidated by. Haha, that analogy works just fine. :) Thank you!

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  3. I love this post so much! My first fourth months of blogging were so isolated and bad. I would forget to post and when I did it was such bad quality. xD I made some friends but not many. Then I started commenting more and joined Twitter in July, and I made some more friends! I feel like Twitter is a great place to meet authors and bloggers and just chat and have fun. I used to be kind of shy on Twitter, but I've learned to just jump in and plow through and be myself. I used to be sooo intimidated by bloggers, but after meeting Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner I feel much calmer and peaceful! They're not intimidating at all ;D We all have our groups, it's basically human nature to congregate in groups. I think sometimes people are just scared to try something new, to be the one to introduce themselves, to say "HI." I think the most important part is to be yourself, like you said. Haha I always jump in on your convos ;)

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

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    1. Thank you, Rachel!

      Twitter is definitely like THE hot spot for the book blogging community, and it's so easy to become friends with people on there. It's got that conversational aspect that is sorely missing on our blogs. I'm learning to just jump in anyway, even if I'm feeling awkward! But it's still hard catching tones. And oh man, I'd love to meet Jamie! I feel like, once I meet bloggers at BEA, I'll feel more relaxed with this community. When I get to know them in person, it'll help me feel more confident about interacting with them online. So I can't wait to meet everyone! I also think it's natural to form groups, and I think that term is better than clique.

      Just fyi, I love it when you jump in on my conversations. :)

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  4. Yay for putting yourself out there, lady!

    I think one reason why some people come off as "intimidating" or cliquey is because once we find those people that we relate with, or talk to often, it's who we turn to. Plus, it is hard to jump into conversations, especially when it's with a group of people that you know her tight. So while a group of 3-4 of us don't feel cliquey, we probably come off that way because others see our conversations.

    Personally, I don't think cliques are a bad thing - they are a natural thing that just happens. Do they have negative impact? Sure. But in a sense, we are ALL in a clique. The book bloggers! lol

    Twitter is the best place for bloggers, for those that are busy, like me, it's hard to get on and have those long conversations with so do think we are at some sort of advantage. However, I didn't know there was a community either when I stated blogging, and while I love it (most of the time) and love making friends, it's still had for me to wrap my head around it. If that makes sense.

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    1. Thank you!!

      I love your second paragraph, because that is EXACTLY how I feel. I think that's why people refer to the community as cliquey. There are tight-knit, close friendships throughout that may come across that way but not because they mean to! To an outsider, it just looks really intimidating.

      When I, personally, talk about cliques and groups, I don't mean it in a BAD way. I think it's natural that they form when you've literally been talking with people for YEARS.

      That makes complete sense! I still don't know how I've grown so close with other bloggers and I think about how big this community is all the time and that I don't know nearly half of everyone in it. I think Twitter is the best place for us bloggers! Not that our blogs aren't great, but they can definitely be one-sided. And Twitter is a very natural way for conversations and friendships to grow. :)

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  5. I ABSOLUTELY remember being a blogging newbie and what I went through when I first started to socialize. When I first started my blog, I didn't even know people would comment much less that people were on Twitter. I didn't start my account for months (it took me a while to realize that it was an important communication and marketing tool). It's hard to be the new person in any situation or reach out to someone you've never even spoken to before!
    As far as "breaking into groups"... I don't really like that turn of words. Online or in person, it is nearly impossible to "break into" a group of friends. I'm not saying a group won't be friends with anyone else but okay, here's my example -- I met my two best friends via blogging. We commented, then talked on Twitter, then texted, then we texted all the time and now we're IRL BFFs as in I take trips to see these people and they were MY BRIDESMAIDS. Yes, I met my two best friends via blogging but we've grown so close and become best friends and now we have this established friendship and a group text that never stops. I don't consider them my blogging friends – they’re just my friends. For life. And how does one possibly "break into" a group of best friends when they've had an existing relationship for years? It's not something you can attempt. It either happens or it doesn't. And I really think that's the same with any friendship! You make your attempts to forge a relationship but you either click or you don't. I'm acquaintances with MANY MANY through my blog, friends with lots, close friends with few, and BFFs with a couple. It's just the nature of any human and any stage of friendship.
    I def see how that's perceived as cliquey too. I understand that some people don't really mean it as a negative thing but the word by nature is negative. I don’t think of my friends in terms of groups (except for my two besties because I legit talk to them all day), especially because I’m friends with so many people! I definitely don’t want to seem closed-off or snubbing because I don’t feel like that’s me at all and I definitely remember what it was like to start forming those friendships!
    I understand the hesitance to talk to someone new but we are our own worst enemies sometimes. I think a lot of us need to try let go of that anxiety of how we come off online and I know that’s not an easy thing because who doesn’t want to be liked? But it makes me sad to hear that someone was so hesitant to talk to me for fear of coming off weird or too excited or too scared or whatever. I’m on Twitter to talk books with ANYONE who wants to talk books! It’s why I started my Twitter account and I’m always up for saying hello to new people! I guess I get that not everyone is as welcoming to newbies because the community is large and we have established a lot of our friendships… but you never know what kind of awesome people you will meet and there’s not a set limit on how many friend we can have! We all remember what it was like being new to this community and I try to chat and even help out with any questions that someone might have.
    Anyway, this was VERY long-winded but thank you for taking the time to write this! I especially appreciate sharing that once you started talking to people, the friendships just happened naturally. We won’t all be best friends. We just can’t. It’s not possible to be BFFs with 50 or 100 or 1000 people. But we can all support and be friendly and most of us don’t bite ;) We’re bound to have a negative experience here or there but don’t miss out on the positive ones because you’re too afraid to take that chance!
    Finally, blogging and this reading community should be FUN. There is no right or wrong way to blog but I think if it’s causing someone THAT MUCH stress then there may be something fundamentally wrong about the approach! This is a hobby and we are community. We’re all here to share and have a good time so let’s all let loose and just have fun!

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    1. First of all, THANK YOU for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment!!

      I completely understand how the phrase "breaking into groups" sounds and I hope it didn't come across badly in my post. I just meant it in terms of people adding in conversations on Twitter with bloggers who are a group of friends and who've known each other for a long time. They might feel hesitant because they're the "outsider", so to speak. So I guess it's not exactly about "breaking into" the groups; it's just that the others don't know them so people might feel like they're intruding on something they shouldn't so they say nothing. If that makes sense? But I love what you said in that paragraph, especially in the last couple of sentences! I have acquaintances, people I talk to occasionally, and then close friends, and I'm social with anyone who replies to me or comments on my blog. I used the term "group" because I thought it was better than clique, but I can still see how it's a little exclusive and negative. I guess, what I meant with that, is that it's a little intimidating to newbies joining because they see all of these people who've known each other for literally YEARS and they might wonder if they'll ever make friends. But I hope people realize that it does happen, whether gradually or quickly. And you might not click with everyone, but that's okay. Like you said, we're not all going to get along and become best friends.

      I think, it's because of that, that people find the community cliquey. But I don't think many use that in a negative way (even though the word itself is not a very nice one). I hope people don't find me intimidating, or find my friends and I cliquey! It's so very natural for others who've known each other longer to talk and support one another's blogs. And I think that's what's intimidating about it. Not that anyone is cliquey or exclusive, but that it's hard to socialize because you're the one who hasn't built rapport with people, and on one knows you.

      We are definitely our own worse enemies! I know I am. I've pretty much gotten over the hesitance and the fear of jumping into conversations. But I still always constantly wonder how I come across on Twitter, especially since it's extremely hard to read tones. And I hope we all stop that hesitancy, because (mostly) everyone in this community is just so warm and welcoming, and I'd hate to see others miss out on this or not find any friends because they're too scared.

      Again, lovely comment and thank you for giving me much more to think about! I really want to see the terms "clique" and "intimidating" go because I think they're pretty negative. But I also know that many people mean them in a more positive way.

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    2. I didn't think you came across poorly with that! I just wanted to throw my little spiel in there because I know that was something *I* did when I first started. I tried to talk to the bigger bloggers because they were the names that I knew, you know? So I got upset when they didn't talk to me and bring me in... and then I thought that was silly! It wasn't like they weren't nice to me. No one snubbed me but I had to take a step back and realize that I wasn't going to immediately become BFFs with a "big blogger" just because I talked to her (again, this from real life experience when I was a newbie, not that I did this to someone else). People do have their established friendships and I've actually become friends with a lot of those people because I kept on talking to them casually and consistently. We're still not best friends but you know what? We don't need to be. I value their friendships but I have my own BFFs and I treasure that I didn't get blinded by the goal of trying to immediately squeeze into a group :) :)
      I definitely understand the feeling of the community being cliquey! It's hard when you see the same people talk to the same people. But the truth behind it is, either they talked to me or I talked to them and I liked what they had to say so we just kept on talking... and that's how we became friends! We took a chance on starting up conversations and it just kind of flowed from there!
      We keep saying how we want to see more conversation in the book blogging community but we may have to take that step ourselves first in order to make it happen! It takes several people to kick it off.
      Thanks for this discussion!!!

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    3. I think, in the beginning, we've all kind of done that! Tried to break in with the bigger bloggers, or at least, become someone they know by name. It's so hard to inch your way into this community when you're a newbie because there are SO MANY OF US. And it's kind of cool when you become familiar with people who've been around for a long time (this is almost like high school sometimes. LOL).

      But yeah, I believe that if you try hard, if you start talking to people consistently, you can form friendships. Maybe not with the people you wanted to, or the people you thought you would, but it'll happen. Three of my best blogging buddies were NEWBIES last year (and I clearly am not), so I definitely believe people will find those they click with in due time. But if they work at it and just stop focusing so much on "breaking in," they will naturally build up confidence and a rapport with other bloggers.

      I love that you said it takes several people to kick it off, because it's true! It takes more than one person to develop a friendship.

      Thank you for continuing the conversation!! :)

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  6. MY LITTLE AWKWARD PENGUIN IS SLOWLY GROWING UP AND GOING OUT INTO THE WORLD. Oh my little awkward penguin <3

    I second THIS ALL. I know there are cliques out there, and I don't really have an opinion since I understand that people have their own friend group, but I think it isn't nice if the clique ignores someone talking to them. WHICH IS WHY I THOUGHT THE CHALLENGE WAS COOL in that people could overcome their fears and assumptions about the cliques!

    I know we (Shannon and Amber and us) talk A LOT on Twitter, and I feel that people may not jump in because we seem like such a tight knit group, BUT I ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO ANYWAYS.

    AWESOME POST HOLLY, you little penguin

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    1. hehe thanks Val. Love you. <3

      It's definitely not nice when people get ignored, but sometimes I feel that's not because of the bloggers they're talking to but their own insecurities. I've never seen outright rudeness or exclusion. I think everyone's pretty chill and welcoming. And I loved how the challenge helped give people the courage to say hi to those bloggers they were too scared to talk to before.

      I hope people don't feel like they can't jump in our conversations! Because boy do we have A LOT. and honestly? I think people aren't scared. Haha, given how many have jumped in before! And I always try to be as welcoming as possible when they do that. If we wanted a conversation to stay private, we can always DM or gchat anyway. :)

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  7. Great post! I'm guess I never pegged you as a shy person because you've been around longer than me and I see you online. Practically everyone in the book community has been so welcoming and I love chatting online. I'm MUCH shyer in real life than on Twitter. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!!

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    1. omg I am SO PAINFULLY SHY you wouldn't know by the way I talk on Twitter and on my blog. I promise I am though. And I love chatting with everyone; it's so much fun!

      Thank YOU for sharing yours! :)

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  8. Here comes the newbie post....

    (This started off with a point but it honestly got lost along the way. Suffice to say I liked your post.)

    Hiya,

    Alright first things first - I loved your post. I am what one would call a extreme newbie book blogger but at the same time I am not unfamiliar with the book blog communities. I just started my own book blog maybe a month ago because lets be honest I have no life outside my mom, boyfriend and books. I have always traveled around the blogs I see from Goodreads but I never thought I would start one because why should I? There are so many out there starting another just seemed plain redundant. Those cliques you speak of are extremely numerous and also quite intimidating in a sense. How does a newbie connect with them? Will they simply shun us because we are new? Why would anyone care about a new blogger? How to we integrate ourselves into the communities in the first place?

    There are so many book blogs now that keep getting created that on one hand I understand some of the “intimidating blogs” hesitancy to add them to their “cliques” because statistically speaking how many of these new blogs actually stay together and don’t fall apart within a few months? However, on the other hand, I do think some of the bigger blogs need to maybe reach out to the little guys that see potential and maybe help them along. Almost like a book blog mentoring program (OMG genius idea, don’t any of you take it!). That would actually be really ideal because traversing through blogs you can tell that some newbies know what they are doing and there are some that have no idea.

    Another interesting thing about these newbie bloggers is all the Goodreads posts about follow for follow requests. I think people are more interested in blog follower than content half the time, which is not always ideal. I understand a blog needs followers but if you have crappy content then what is the point. There is also the issue of newbie bloggers who follow others and never return to the blogs. Again, why even follow? Being a newbie myself I love the whole idea of the follow for follow however, it never works to it full potential because half the people never follow back and even if they do it does not guarantee they will actually care about your blog. Most of the time I feel they are simply trying to promote their own blog by showing their “followers” as if stating their blog is successful. I would honestly be fine with 5 followers and simply have nice conversation of comments. That is more important personally, rather than a bunch of random followers who never say hi.

    …OK random comments aside…


    This is embarrassing..I wrote too much I have to post in two posts.

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    1. First of all, DO NOT BE EMBARRASSED!! I LOVE that you wrote enough for two full comments. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and for not cutting back. :)

      I'm sorry you felt you shouldn't start a blog because you thought one more would be overkill. IT ISN'T. We need everyone's voices in this community. Everyone's. But I am so glad that didn't stop you from creating a blog and joining.

      I think putting more of this on bigger bloggers isn't necessarily a fair thing. It's so much harder for them to reach out because they don't know these newbies. They don't know who's joining anymore because there are SO many of us. It's a lot easier for a newbie to put themselves out there, but it is SCARY. It is intimidating. Many of us try so hard to welcome everyone into the community, but the fact of the matter is that we can't reach out to someone who hasn't showed up our radar, whether it be through mutual friends or the blogger themselves. But a book blog mentoring program \would be a GREAT idea, and it would help beginners integrate more easily into the community. Though, again, it's probably not totally realistic given all of the new bloggers showing up year after year.

      As for follow for follow, I can't say much because *I* used them in the beginning. I think they are, in some ways, a good thing. It helps get your blog out there; it helps you find others like yourself, people who are just starting out and who have no clue what they're doing. But I definitely feel, personally, that followers who WANT to read my posts is more important too. I want people to follow only if they want to, not because they had to or thought they did. :)

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  9. Newbie continuation...

    For me, I was hesitant to create a book blog because I saw all this. But then I was basically like screw it. I want to do it. I read way to much as it is, I might as well do something with it. SO ta-da my little blog was born. Now, though I am 22, I am the worst social media person you will ever come across. I hate Facebook, I never understood twitter, instragram is beyond me, and pinterest bores me. That being said I opened half of those simply to dedicate to my 0 follower blog so I could pretend that one day I might take someone’s interest. Yay for being proactive!

    Though I am not a shy person by far, however, for some reasons I appear quite shy with online communities (which makes about zero sense because you don't actually know these people) but nonetheless it is true. It’s almost as if you have no face or personality to go with whomever you are interacting with that you instinctually fear what they may or may not say. It’s a silly thing to think about but for those “bigger bloggers” (aka the intimidating ones) I am not sure if they all necessarily remember what it was like starting their blog. Yes I am sure they remember some details however coming from a point of review from a newbie, those blogs can be way scary.

    After your reading your post it made me realize I have to work more on Twitter (ugh…I do not understand twitter). Also I completely understand your hesitancy to join conversations because I always feel the same way. But alas, I shall try. After all my favorite quote says it all:

    ‘Tis a lesson you should heed:
    Try, try, try, again.
    If at first you don’t succeed,
    Try, try, try again.”

    All the best,
    Casey

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    1. Haha, yes "screw it." I'm so glad you decided to start one anyway! I'm the complete opposite! I'm much shyer in real life than I am online. It's a lot easier for me to share things I normally wouldn't. But I was still pretty shy in the beginning and hesitated to jump into people's conversations. I've basically gotten over that by now, but I still constantly wonder what I should tweet or if someone took it the way I meant it.

      You don't HAVE to have a Twitter, but I definitely feel that it's the best way to make friends and develop relationships. Not just with bloggers, but with authors and publishers too.

      That is such a great quote; love it! :)

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  10. With all the talk on Twitter (and this post) about the divide between newbie bloggers and older bloggers I had to really look at myself and realize the reason I don't have as many friends online has to do with how I act not how the older blogger are. I'm never thought of myself as a shy person but I've realized with each tweet/comment I write and rewrite and ultimately delete I'm loosing out on what could be an amazing friendship. I've really tried to be more vocal and social on Twitter lately and I noticed a big difference, people I was afraid to annoy with my silly tweets were so kind and welcoming. I think it has to do more on how we view ourselves than how we view others or think others view us.

    Thanks for your post!

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    1. Exactly! My slow beginning was not because no one was talking to me or giving me a chance. It was because of ME. It was because I wasn't putting myself out there or TRYING to form relationships. But once I started, and got over my fear and hesitancy, they just happened. It definitely has a lot more to do with how we view ourselves than how we perceive others. But with that, it's created some tension in the community, and I hate that. It's why I wanted to write this post and sort everything out for myself, as well as give others a new perspective. :)

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  11. Well, as I said before you even posted this, I totally agree! Now since it isn't 2am, I have some (mildly) more coherent thoughts. Basically, I think your analysis is spot on. And here is my two cents, for what it is worth:

    I kind of equate it to a high school-like situation. The new bloggers (the freshmen, if you will) are kind of in a shock- they just started, they are trying to figure out the ropes, they are kind of scared to jump in (hell, I know I was!), and they're still trying to figure out their blogging identity to an extent. Then you have the middle bloggers, the sophomores and juniors, if you will. (This is where I think we fall in the grand scheme of things.) They know what they want out of their blog, they have a core group of blogging friends, but they still feel like they haven't quite hit the big time. They've been around long enough to know who they admire, but not long enough to feel like a peer of said admired blogger. Then there's the vets, the seniors if you will. They have been around a long time, they've been working on their blogs AND their relationships for a long time, and know the ins and outs quite well. They are happy to help a newer blogger, but they do kind of have a group of friends that they've taken this journey with.

    And how does all this eventually change? (Because it DOES change, we aren't all newbs forever!) The newer bloggers learn the ropes, meet people, find their niche. Some of the seniors move on to other things in life, and sometimes blogging just doesn't fit for them anymore (they're the graduates, yay for them!) and then everyone kind of starts shifting up into the next "year". But it's super gradual, to the point where you kind of don't realize it's happened until you're writing a comment on a post that you pre-read because you ARE making close friends, and you just outed yourself as "not a newbie", and even though it's been true for awhile... saying it loud is both fabulous and weird.

    You know I love this post. You're welcome for the accompanying novella ;)

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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    1. You basically summed up everything, and I LOVE how you equated it to high school! Also, your last paragraph? Complete GOLD. So much everything. Could you just put this in a post of your own and share with others? Because it's seriously that great. :)

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  12. Amazing post, Holly! I'm glad that you wrote this one and shared your insights with the rest of us.

    I was one of the people who was tagged a couple of times as someone "intimidating". Many other people before that Twitter event have actually confessed to me that they are first found me unapproachable and that they're glad they talked to me in the end because "I was so much fun to hang out with" (we're all close friends now) and each time I was like, "HUH?! REALLY?! BUT WHY?!"

    But I really do understand. Before I was considered an "experienced" blogger, I was a newbie, too. I opened a blogspot account, I stalked popular blogs then (Wendy, Reader of Fictions, The Book Geek, Cuddlebuggery) and desperately wanted to be like them - to be as witty, amazing, and influential, and I found it hard at first and was so shy to even talk to them. The first time any of them commented on my blog, I was in heaven! And then I decided to muster up my courage and decided to just talk to them, and now we're all friends and acquaintances, and I was able to find my own group of friends that I could talk to everyday and rant stuff with! It's really about gathering your courage and putting yourself forward and meeting like-minded people in the same boat as you. That's what I did and I even overcame my fears of forming friendships with veterans.

    That's why I always, always encourage people to tweet me or chat with me or simply email me. I don't bite! I've had three people email me how to be a book blogger and I gave them sound advice, hoping to help them and welcome them to this community. Sometimes, just a little encouragement from someone would give you that major push to boost your confidence!

    Faye at The Social Potato

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  13. Hi Holly

    Not sure how I found my way to your insightful post, glad that I did. As an old book blogger (8 year old blog and in my 50's) I love meeting anyone who has a passion for reading regardless of how long they've been blogging or their age. Since I don't tweet, I did not know (honestly glad I didn't) this was an issue. I've formed some great relationships with other bloggers. Many are still continue today, others have been interrupted due to "real life issues" that have taken them away from the blogging platform. All this rambling to say, hi! glad to meet you.

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  14. From looking at all the comments, it seems to me you already have lots of wonderful and supportive blogging friends! And that's where it all starts, right? But I understand where you are coming from with this post because it is intimidating putting yourself out there and there are people who simply don't respond. I don't know why, maybe they're busy, but what I realized when this bothered me is that there are hundreds of bloggers out there who will respond and who do want to get to know me and you. We just have to keep blogging and being our genuine selves.

    I'm going to BEA too (my first time!) and hope to see you there!

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  15. I go through spurts of being good on Twitter and not being on for a while. Twitter just didn't seem natural to me at first (I'm older than a lot of other book bloggers, so I think it might partially be a generational thing), but I'm getting better about it! I actually just now went and followed you on Twitter. :-)

    BEA last year is when I met a TON of bloggers, many of which I've stayed in touch with, so I hope you're having a FANTASTIC time there right now!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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Comments always make me smile. :) Seriously. Even if you comment on the post weeks or months later, it makes my day! So don't hesitate to leave your thoughts even if it's been a long time since the post was published. I'll try to reply to you, especially if you ask a question, but sometimes life happens. But I do read and appreciate every single one of them because I know how hard it can be to find the time or energy to comment. So a heartfelt THANK YOU for brightening my day when you do. <3