Today is my first boostaversary – My one year book blogging anniversary! Exactly one year ago I published my first review on Instagram and entered the wonderful yet sometimes confusing world of Bookstagram.
Even though I am the oppostite of a social media person and never used Instagram privately, writing reviews, taking photos and creating content soon became a beloved hobby – and also a huge part of my life. And now? I wouldn’t want to miss it anymore. I made wonderful friends in the bookstagram community and discovered more amazing books than I could read this year.
So, 265 posts and numerous stories later here I am starting my own blog. This is huge step for me. Venturing forth into the blogging sphere, building my own website with all the complicated details which that encompasses – it’s been a challenge but also an adventure at the same time.
This blog will be a little different than my bookstagram – essentially it will be the same: Me writing and goshing and rambling about all the topics I care about. However, it will be a little less bookish. I’ll still talk about books – don’t worry – but I also want to expand a little and use this space to write longer texts about my other interests such as politics, feminism, sustainability, mental health, creativity and of course I’ll also report about my own life every now and then.
For my anniversary I have something different for you though: I will recap what I’ve learned so far in my still young and foolish life as a bookstagrammer. Maybe this will be helpful for some of you who are thinking about starting a bookstagram or entertaining for those who already have one and made similar experiences.
1. You will learn a lot
The bookstagram community is a little world of its own and as any human community it follows its own social conventions of togetherness. When I first started my account it took me a little while to adapt these unspoken rules and find my people within the ever-growing number of bookstagrammers.
Beyond the community aspect one also learns how to manage an account, when to post, how to engage – that is until the algorithm changes and you suddenly have to figure these things out again. Before starting bookstagram I had no idea what templates were, how to create stories or use hashtags. In conclusion, I didn’t know how manage Instagram properly. Now I do and I believe that this is a very useful skill for both my personal and my professional future.
But Instagram aside you will learn more than you know by starting your own book account: You will learn how to express yourself and write short poignant texts. You will increase your photography skills. You will boost your creativity by trying to figure out creative and new way to present your books. You will find your own style and aesthetic brand – even if your brand is to simply not follow one single aesthetic. You will become more organized because it needs organisational skills and techniques to structure one’s account and content creation. And last but not least and the in my opinion most important aspect: You will become more self-confident. At least I did.
2. Make your own rules
This lesson sounds so simple and obvious yet it is sometimes hard to learn. By making your own rules I mean that you need to figure out what kind of content works for you. You need to focus on what is fun for you and not on what others do. This is difficult since Instagram and other social media apps trick us into comparing us with other people. We want to be liked and we want to do well. That’s only natural.
But it is important and necessary to take a break sometimes and ask ourselves whether we’re doing this for us, because we really want to – or because we feel the need to live up to some perfectionist and often unrealistic standard. I too get caught up with likes and follower count from time to time. Of course it is disappointing when you worked a lot on a post or story and it doesn’t do well – Maybe the algorithm is to blame or maybe it just turns people off when you post about German books? You’ll never know.
So let’s not worry too much about this. Trust me that’s easier to say than to actually do – I still tend to overthink this a lot. But making your own rules makes things a lot easier: You don’t need to post every day. Post whenever you like. Find your own pace. Follow accounts because you enjoy their content and not because you feel an obligation to do so.
Create the kind of content that makes you happy: You only want to post reviews? Fine. You don’t want to post any reviews? Also fine. You don’t need to keep up with the newest releases and the most popular books. Read and share what you are passionate about. And don’t feel like you’re restricted to any niche, genre or even bookish content only. There are tons of bookstagrammers out there. People follow you because of you. So do what feels right for you and be yourself, an authentic, imperfect and wonderful human being.
3. Bookstagram is a wonderful place to make friends
I admit this lesson is a little anticlimactic but it is important nevertheless. It might take some time and it might not go as expected but the bookstagram community is an amazing place to make new friends. That’s where the social part of social media really comes to play.
Having a common interest makes it easier to connect with people from all over the world. Bookstagram provides an opportunity to cross borders and make friends outside your usual bubble. You love the same book? Great. You hate the same book? Even better! In my short time in the bookstagram sphere I managed to make wonderful friends and meet interesting people. Some of them through a common reading taste and others despite that.
Take my friend Sara for example. She is the funniest, kindest and most adorable person – yet we never met in real life. We live in different countries, speak different languages, read completely different books (She’s into fantasy, I’m into nonfiction) and have different ways of photographing and posting. Despite all that we connected almost instantly and she’s been with me since day one (or at least month one). We have been texting almost every day and talked to about all the banalities and the big stuff going on in our lives. When I started bookstagram I really did not expect to make such good friends through a book blog.
Which important lessons did bookstagram teach you? Tell me in the comments!