In praise of bloggers...or not?

Posted: 15/12/2014

I hate the word 'blog'. To be honest, I never heard of it until I had written my first book and I know I am not alone there because I have tested some of my friends, including several avid readers like myself and they didn't know the word either. When I checked, I found no reference to it in my well-trusted dictionaries, Chambers and Collins, although it has suddenly dawned on me that I need to acquire updated versions of these two excellent books; I hadn't realised they were so old (1999 and 2004). Whilst I am trying hard to keep up with the ever-changing technologies of the 21st Century, I have to say that I still prefer to search for words in a real book rather than online. No prizes for guessing what I have requested for Christmas!!

So what is a 'blog'? I resorted to an online dictionary (Oxford) and found this definition: 'A regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style'.

The internet is awash with 'bloggers'. I hate that word even more! I have discovered a whole community of them who all seem to know each other (virtually, if not in person) and who regularly post gushing tweets, addressing each other as 'gorgeous' or 'sweetie' or 'lovely girl' etc. Am I alone in finding this a bit false? They invariably agree with one another about everything they read, rushing from one book to the next and writing a quick review as they work through what they refer to as their TBR piles (to be read). One particular blogger tweeted with frustration and the odd profanity that she currently had over 250 books in hers!

I clearly recall seeing a series of tweets some months ago from someone who was supposed to be looking after two children for the day but she had taken them to the cinema so that she could get on with reading her book while they watched a film they didn't even want to see. She tweeted several times that they were restless and bored and were getting on her nerves because they kept disturbing her and trying to engage her interest. She declared in a further tweet later on that she was glad to have deposited them back home with their mother so that she could get the book finished and the review out of the way!

Another blogger commented that she often reads more than one book at a time and sometimes as many as four, dipping in and out as the mood takes her; it stops her getting bored with one story. Is that not grossly insulting to the authors?

A few nights ago I spotted a tweet from someone who said she had fourteen reviews to write before bedtime. It was already eight o'clock!

Having discovered this book-blogging phenomenon, I watched somewhat bemused from the sidelines for some time before unfollowing most of the people involved. I cannot believe that any self-respecting author would actually want a review, no matter how glowing, from a self-styled 'expert' who approaches the activity of reading in the way I have described.

But of course there are exceptions. Thankfully I have come across some other people who run very professional websites with tasteful reviews and who never tweet about authors in derogatory terms or complain about the number of books they have to read.

I love reading. I choose my books by browsing both in bookshops and online and by comments made by other readers or by authors themselves through face-to-face conversations and through social media interactions. I read both paperbacks and ebooks. I rarely read reviews because they can give away too much about the plot of a novel and spoil the surprise element. When I have particularly enjoyed a book, I send a quick word to that effect to the author, via Twitter, and this always seems to be appreciated. On the one occasion that I bought a book because several book bloggers were gushing about how brilliant it was, I was actually quite disappointed and struggled to finish it.

So, I hope I haven't scored an own goal in writing this article. At least I now know what a blog is. And I will soon have a nice new dictionary. I suppose it's a harmless enough hobby; to each their own.....

Oops! Was that a blogpost? I still prefer 'article'!

 

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