Back to Goodreads: Unclogging a Piece of Social Networking

I hear myself saying this a lot to people–if social networking isn’t fun for you, don’t do it. And I’m serious about that–I have fun here on my blog, fun on other people’s blogs, fun on Facebook and fun on Twitter. And, yes, if you add them up in some fancy mathematical equation, it’s way too much fun.

I don’t know about fun with LinkedIn. I’m there, and I check in every so often, but–honesty–haven’t figured that site out yet. If you have a brilliant epiphanetical revelation for me about it, please do share. So…I wouldn’t rate LinkedIn as high on my fun scale, but it doesn’t cause me any stress either.

Unlike Goodreads. Or, to be more specific, the current state of my Goodreads account. When I first signed up for GR, I did like it. For a long time, I liked it. And then, I think, I let myself be sucked into the social-networking shoulds:

  • You should use X to market your book
  • You should link your blog to X
  • You should friend lots and lots of people at X, especially if they send you a request


As a small piece of social networking, these should are true.  But, and here’s the important thing, I think–we can’t do everything everywhere!

I like Goodreads because it gives me a place to rave about a book I love, and the site makes it super easy for me to share that rave with people on…yes Facebook & Twitter. I like Goodreads because, when I’m running low on book ideas, I can scan people’s lists and get ideas. Except, as it stands, there are way too many people and way too many lists for me to do that. My site is clogged. So do I use Goodreads for the part that makes me happy? No. Am I using Goodreads productively for social networking? Definitely not.

A while ago, Sherrie Petersen announced on her blog that she was stepping away from Facebook. As much as I like it out there on FB, Sherrie’s post made it clear that this was a great choice for her. And that doing a reality check every now & then about our social-networking habits can be sanity-making.

Time for me to back up. I’ve decided I will no longer use Goodreads as a piece of my social network. I’m not closing out my account, but I will be going through my list and deleting quite a lot of the people there. Most. This feels a little bit like crossing people off the wedding list because the park isn’t big enough. (Yes, we had our wedding celebration in a park–where else can you find a big enough BBQ pit?) And that part isn’t the best feeling.

The part about just leaving people on the list whose book recommendations I really, really want to see sounds great. I often get a craving for some seriously great fantasy–I know who’s list I’m going to go to for those. I am on constant look-out for new MG and YA and PB books; I’m going to keep some big readers in those genres. Mysteries, historical novels–I need a steady feed of suggestions.

But that’s it. If you read my blog and if you friended me on Goodreads and if you find out you’re no longer on the list (is that even possible), I still do want to talk. Come find me on Facebook or Twitter, where I’m having actual conversations! For me, Goodreads needs to be the quiet corner of the public library, where I quiet-as-a-whisper pass books back and forth with a few like readers.

What’s overloading your right now? Is there a piece of the social-networking pie that you’d feel happier (and lighter) without? Drop into the comments & share your thoughts. Or don’t! 🙂


  1. Susan Taylor Brown says:

    Good post on something that everyone should think about with the various social networking sites we’re all involved in. With my accidental time off it’s allowed me some space to think about what I miss and what I don’t and what clean-ups and close-outs I’ll be doing of my own.

    Goodreads never worked for me. I started with Library Thing and Goodreads right after it and really wanted to catalog all our books and have a great reference point for them. But I stink at the follow-through on that sort of thing. I’ve been thinking of closing Goodreads for a while and using Library Thing to catalog the reference books that we keep around here so I don’t keep buying several copies of the same thing.

    When it comes to looking for what to read next ideas, I like just throwing out a comment on FB or Twitter and getting feedback of the moment.


    • beckylevine says:

      I do a lot of tossing out requests for recommendations, too, but sometimes I like to go just browse. Trimmed my list SERIOUSLY, though, so hopefully I can get back to using GR this way. 🙂


  2. Becky,
    I agree. Social networking can become more of a burden than a help. I also have barely figured out LInkedIn, never bothered to learn how to twitter, and only check in on Good Reads when I want to leave a review or update my list of books to read. (That is its best function for me!)
    Congrats, by the way, on getting close to being done your first draft of your ms. I’m jealous. And congrats on your article in WD. I look forward to reading it! Caorl


    • beckylevine says:


      Usually I love the networking, but this was starting to feel like overload. Solution–unload! 🙂

      Thanks for the congrats. Hope you enjoy the article.


  3. nrhatch says:

    When we take time to simplify our life . . . we make room for what really matters to us.

    Good for you, Becky.


  4. I’ve been going back and forth about Goodreads. I like being able to rave about a book I love. But I’ve also had the experience of reading an author’s book who is on Goodreads, and author I know, who might *expect* a good review from me, and then feeling guilty for not writing it up. Because I don’t love the book. *sigh* I hate these kinds of dilemmas.


    • beckylevine says:

      I think I’ve decided that Goodreads is for me. The guilt thing, I totally get–it’s why I rarely put out there that I’m currently reading a book, just when I love one, I post about it. If/when I have time & I’m inspired. 🙂


  5. Scribbly Jane says:

    I always have such a long list of books I want to read that I don’t feel the need to go to GR. Every month or two I browse, mainly to follow a former professor, but I’ve decided it’s not really my thing.

    As a former finance person, LinkedIn makes a lot of sense, but I don’t visit it often because it is too serious and I like to have fun when I’m cruising the web.

    We are entering a period of distillation. All this stuff on the internet needs to be sorted & sifted. Are there such things as a meta-blogs and meta-sites?


    • beckylevine says:

      I almost always have that list, but every now & then I get craving something different–then I go check out some lists. LinkedIn IS more serious, isn’t it–hadn’t thought of it that way. 🙂

      I like the distillation idea.


  6. I’m on Goodreads, too. I like it and I like being able to post what I’m reading there – it’s really quick, much faster than inputting URLs etc into the sidebar on my blog. What I’ve been considering backing away from is twitter. If it wasn’t for all the people I’ve actually really connected with there, I think I’d have unplugged a long time ago. I find all the info that comes through there can be seriously overwhelming. Sometimes it’s really helpful, other times it depresses me or just weighs me down. I really need to sift through which links to click and which to pass on. I actually feel better and “lighter” when I haven’t visited twitter in a few days. But I still want to know what’s going on so I keep going back. It’s like a bad drug! :\


    • beckylevine says:

      That’s my thing about Twitter-I KNOW people out there now! The other reason I stay is that I think I get more educated about publishing and where it’s all headed (or where we THINK it’s headed) out there than on Facebook. Seems like more pub professionals are tweeting.

      I do a lot of skimming on Twitter. And every now & then (I’m on Tweetdeck), I just clear that column that’s getting too long and too overwhelming!


  7. Good for you for following that instinct to pare down, Becky! I know it’s not easy to do.

    I appreciate the sense of connection that FB and LJ give me, especially now that I live overseas. But weekly posts are the most I can manage if I still want to get real writing done — and I do! Maybe once Sweetpea is in school, I’ll be able to do more.


  8. Jackee says:

    Sherrie is a fountain of thoughtful good advice, I think. As, I’m finding, are you!

    I like using facebook and Goodreads mainly for a gathering of friends. But on Godoreads what to review is a dilemma. I use blogging for networking and I’m still too scared to commit to Twitter!

    Thanks for visiting my blog, Becky, so that I could find yours!


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