Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lifting Books is Heavy: Musings on Moving to Goodreads

When I first joined Facebook, my favorite application was the Visual Bookshelf through Living Social.  I loved having an easily searchable place to list the books I had read, was reading, and wanted to read.  Whenever I received a gift card to a bookstore, I would visit my "Visual Bookshelf" and eagerly write down titles of books I couldn't wait to purchase off my "Want to Read" list.  The Visual Bookshelf application was prone to outages, and I unlinked it from my Facebook account to maintain privately some months ago, but I still relied on the site to keep my "want-to-reads" and "reads" in order.

Living Social recently announced on their Visual Bookshelf website that they would be closing their site.  The creators suggested that I import my collection (over 900 books!) into Goodreads.  I did because I didn't want to lose my painstakingly created collection of obscure reading material.  My new Goodreads bookshelf is groaning under the weight of its new additions, but I admit I am overwhelmed by all of the options on Goodreads as well as its social connections.  I used Living Social's Visual Bookshelf for purely personal reasons, so I am unsure how to navigate Goodreads' friends' and apps' features.  And honestly...I am not sure if I want to.

I maintain a Facebook page, a LinkedIn profile, and this blog in addition to my personal and work e-mail.  Do I really need to plug into another online environment?  Can't people who want to know what I am reading follow this blog?  Do I really want to upload book reviews twice to two different sites?  And yet...I could use Goodreads to send traffic to this blog and tap into an audience that I do not reach outside of Facebook.  Here, then, is the crux of the social networking phenomenon.  When your entire life is on display for the online populace, does anything remain personal? 

Friends, I think I'll keep my Goodreads library just for me.

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