I am writing after a very long time. Emphasis on the word “very.” If I am to be precise, it has been a couple of months. Like I said with the emphasis, “very” is a very very very subjective word. Hehe! Keeping up with the subjectiveness of the word, I would like to remind you that all my posts up on this blog are true to my experiences. This is specifically required for the post I am writing today. All insights presented are subjective and true to my experience. Everyone has the free will to differ and so explore my insights with an open mind. Operate on my thoughts with a critical mind. With that said, today we are going to explore bookstagram. Okay, what about it? As a former user of bookstagram, I would write about my experiences with the space. This would help those of you who are planning to enter the space in 2023 and the years to come.
What is bookstagram? It is a book-focused Instagram account. For those of you who love lengthy definitions, it is a space on the internet provided by Instagram to talk about anything and everything related to books. It does sound like a paradise for an avid reader. As an avid reader myself, I would say I wish that was the case. It was the case up until reels were introduced to Instagram. It is after short-form videos became more popular; authenticity lost its identity. The more time I spent running a bookstagram account, the more I realized that “authenticity” became one with being alien.
What happened? The answer to that would be all over the place. For starters, just like any other space on Instagram, bookstagram is all about numbers. It is not easy to gain those numbers these days. One of the obvious ways to earn them is to promote one’s page. However, that is not a viable option as it is not cost-efficient. Cost-efficient options come with consequences. First, there is peer pressure. Nowadays, what makes one popular in the bookstagram space is to read what everyone is reading and rave about what everyone is gushing about. Speak in favour of the book in as many ways one can. Story highlights, posts and the most rewarding of them all. Reels, reels, and more reels.
What if you were not to like the books others are adoring so dearly? Follow trains with extra loaded peer pressure to the rescue. Bookstagrammers introduced bookish follow trains which is an elite synonym for follow for follow. A couple of bookstagrammers host follow trains wherein one is to follow all hosts and drop their bookstagram ID in the comment box for the hosts to follow back. These trains would be deleted after 12 hours. Even if you were to participate in the bookish follow trains, there is no guarantee that one’s posts, reels and stories would get the required number of shares and comments which caters to further reach.
What other options can one seek when follow for follow trains do not work? Here comes a not so cost-efficient round about. Aesthetics! Make sure you have stacks and stacks of pretty hardcover books hoarded in all corners of wherever you are. If not hardcovers, paperbacks would do. Bookstagram accounts featuring physical copies do well compared to those featuring eBooks and audiobooks. Bonus engagement if your feed is filled with lots of bookish merch. Merch adorned with aroma candles and fairy lights. Not so cost efficient was only a pun in disguise. Aesthetics are expensive when one must plan out of their own pockets and purses.
With all that jazz in the foreground, there do exist genuine avid readers in the hard to find background. If genuine readers do exist, why didn’t I try and be consistent? If I was already consistent, I ought to have been more consistent. My concerns do not just end here. It is one thing to be enjoying books portraying toxic relationships but to be gushing about them? Sure, one can read what they enjoy. However, it is also important to acknowledge that books have an influence on one’s mindset. With our regular thoughts processed by our brain on a daily basis, there is this bookish influence that resides in some corner of the brain hidden by a subconscious veil. When the time comes, the influence is unveiled and creeps into our thought and actions. So many toxic relationships are portrayed as romance and I have a problem with that.
End of the day it is all about numbers and consumerism. With everything I have said, if you still wish to be a bookstagrammer make sure you know people in the community before being a part of it for a faster reach. YouTube is a better option for getting into the community. Instead of buying physical copies, a better approach would be to have access to libraries that provide the books you wish to read. I have neither and even so with my best efforts at consistency I was stuck at 91 followers for 3 months straight. With 91 followers and a growing hoard of books I decided to bid my farewell to the place. Thank you if you have read so far. Thank you for your time and patience. Whether you chose to join or leave the community, I wish you all the best.
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