DISCUSSION: Writing Blogs and Making Friends

One thing that I’ve found to be the hardest as I grow up (read: as I enter my 30′s) is making new friends. It’s so easy when you’re in school and you see the same people every day. You take classes with those people and can relate on whether you like the class or not. I was lucky in that I took music in university and met quite a few music people — though, while we were great friends in university, the inevitable happens, we drift apart, and now I really only stay in touch with one of those people.

Recently, I asked on Twitter how people make new friends. I had seen an article in the NY Times about how it’s so hard to make friends the older you get, and Rachelia from Bookish Comforts directed me to another article over on the blog Yes and Yes, which gives plenty of advice on making friends.

Since I’m a big reader, one thing I’d love to find in a friend is someone who also loves books. I’ve met quite a few book bloggers who took to blogging about their reads because they really didn’t have anyone in their life who was also a reader. So that’s what I’d like to talk about — how to find some bookish friends. As with most friends you make, they usually start out as acquaintances, until you both take the steps to becoming real friends. 

How to Make Bookish Acquaintances

The Library
There are a few people who work at my local library who are awesome and who also love books. One of the reasons it’s easy for people to make friends in school is because they see the same people all the time — there’s repetition. I visit my local library at least once a week around the same time in the morning, which means I see the same people there whenever I go. They like reading the same kinds of books as I do, so we always find great things to chat about.

Join a Book Club
I’m lucky enough to be a part of a book club at my local library, where I can chat with other people once a month about books we enjoy — or sometimes don’t enjoy. The great thing about my book club is that it is full of ladies who aren’t afraid to share their opinions, and we recommend books to one another that we might not otherwise think to read. Even though I don’t meet with these people outside of the book club, it’s always nice to have bookish conversations with them.

Twitter
It’s a wonder that I manage to get anything done during the day because Twitter is such a distraction! I’ve met so many bookish people through Twitter that even though we don’t know each other in real life, it’s nice to know who I can chat with about my favourite books, or even just random things.

Through Your Blog
Blogging is a great way to meet new people. You get people who comment on your blog regularly and usually they’re people who like the same books you do. Everyone loves to share their opinions, so a book blog is great to open up the doors to discussions on a book you may have loved and others hated, or vice versa. One of my favourite things to do on other peoples’ blogs is visit their ‘About Me’ pages — it’s always nice to know a little more about the person behind the blog. Sometimes you might have a lot in common with certain bloggers!

Start a Book Blogging Group for Bloggers in Your Area
Through my own blog, I also started a directory for the bloggers in my city — in one week, there was 5 new bloggers added to the list. I had no idea there was that many book bloggers in the city! While there are people on Twitter I might not ever meet, it’s nice to know bookish people in my own city. Through meet-ups and book signings we may attend together, we can all get to know each other better.

So, I’ve met some bookish people, now what?

It’s easy to find some acquaintances in real life and online, but then the real work begins. Yes, friendship is work! In real life, it’s a little easier, I find, though you really have to just get in there and talk to someone — don’t over-think simple chitchat! With the people I’ve found at my local library who I love to talk to about bookish things, I make sure to get there often (but not stalker-often) to say hello and to see what their reading. It sometimes even gets to the point where I want to add them as a friend on Facebook, or seek them out on Goodreads or Twitter.

With bookish people online, it can take a little more work. Obviously, in real life, you have a reciprocity when you’re talking to someone. They’re right there in front of you! But online, you mainly converse with other people through their blog posts or on Twitter. In order to get some reciprocity going on online, there are a few things you should do:

Comment on other peoples’ blogs!
There are a few people whose blogs I really enjoy reading, so I make sure to comment, comment, comment when I can. And don’t just leave a comment that’s a few words long. Write something meaningful to the post they’ve written. Over time, they might just add your blog to their Reader and start commenting on your own blog as well.

Add blogs to your Reader.
So you’ve found a blogger you think is really nice. They write great posts and read the same books as you. Make sure you add their blog to your Reader so you can regularly check out their comments. I’m constantly adding new ones to mine and making sure I comment with frequency.

Chat on Twitter.
Twitter is great because you can make lists. I have a list of bloggers in my city, and a list of some of my favourite bloggers. When you follow hundreds of people, it’s hard to sift through all of the RTs and self-promotion to find the people you really want to chat with. If I check out my lists once a day or so, I can comment on tweets from the people I know I like to chat with.

Tag a friend’s review at the end of yours. 
So you liked a book and reviewed it. If your blogging friend also wrote a review for that book, why not give their blog a boost by tagging it in a “More Reviews” section at the end of your review? In the same sense, if a person encouraged you to buy a book, why not mention it in your vlog or mailbox post?

I’m sure there are many other ways you can get a friendship going with another book blogger! Maybe they live in your city and you can meet up for coffee and a book shopping spree? Or maybe there is a Skype chat or a Twitter chat online you can participate in? Or maybe you just finished a book you know they’d really enjoy, so you could send them a copy? There are so many ways!

Do you have a story about meeting a friend through blogging? Do you have any tips for other bloggers on how to make and sustain friendships? 

© 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved.

33 thoughts on “DISCUSSION: Writing Blogs and Making Friends

  1. I think that emailing is also a good way of establishing a connection online. If you’ve chatted with someone on Twitter, comment on their blog, you can try to take that further by emailing (occasionally, I encourage this if the topic is too long for Twitter or not something I want to discuss publicly). Sometimes it could be as simple as reading a book “together” and emailing each other about what happened. Or you could decide to plan an event together, and if you click with someone, it will naturally evolve.

    I think my friendship with Kelly is a pretty good example of meeting a friend through blogging. I don’t think it would surprise anyone who knows us to find out that we are constantly talking, whether on Twitter, our blogs, or in emails.

    Great discussion post!

    • Agreed! That’s what I’m trying to do with the Edmonton group. We had discussed meet-ups through Twitter, but now I’m thinking that that should be reserved for email. I’m always learning!

      Love the idea of reading a book together! So many times I finish a book and want to talk about it, but there’s no one around. And the dogs really aren’t up to conversation, it seems.

      I don’t think I’ve made any super close friends through blogging (yet), but I’m liking that I have close acquaintances in the blogging world who I feel I can actually reach out to and talk with. When I first started blogging, I had no clue!

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. I’ve met many of my bookish friends through blogging, and I’ve been fortunate to meet a few of them in real life. What began as comments on blogs and random Twitter conversations have turned into regular chat sessions and emails back and forth. I can happily say that I’m never at a loss for bookish friends now – there’s the blog and Twitter to turn to!

    I LOVE this post though!

    • That’s really great, Alexa! I’m happy to have started friendships with some bloggers … it’s nice to have someone to chat with about the books I read, or about blogging.

  3. I love how I’ve met so many great people through blogging! There are certain blogs that I’m constantly reading and I try to always comment, although lately with my work schedule, it’s been a little difficult to keep up. I’m working on getting through the emails though to comment back! I always appreciate meaningful comments, siince it lets me know that the person actually read what I said.

    Also, I didn’t know you could make lists on Twitter!?! Truthfully, I’m pretty fail at Twitter..lol

    I think that since I’ve gotten back into reading I’ve made a lot more friends. I’m shy and find it hard to have random conversations, talking about books makes that easy!

    Great discussion post, it really hits some good tips for making friends :)

    • Yes, me too … there are some blogs where I’m always trying to comment on their content. These are blogs I actually really like reading and the person behind the blog seems like a nice person.

      And yes! You can make lists on Twitter! If you select someone, go to the drop-down where you would send them a DM or @ to them … there should be something in there about adding them to a list and then you can create your list from there. It’s great!

      It’s awesome making bookish friends. Even if they’re from far-away, the internet makes it so much easier to chat with them as if they were right there in the same room as you.

  4. Nicely written. I was so lucky to have found a bunch of bookish friends while attending some of the @indigogreenroom events in Toronto as well as BEA and some blogger publisher events. While waiting in line for various author signings we would chat about ourselves and just really got to know each other. It was so nice to finally find people who were as passionate about books as I am. They have been a fabulous support for me over the last two months as my hubby was transferred to Calgary. Thanks to Social media and the internet we are still able to keep in touch and have been cheering me on on finding new friends here as well. Sorry this isn’t making sense but just had a very long day with my two little heathens. Now must go and do some commenting and replying to emails with these pals. Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions and hope your readers take heart that there are tons of people just like us out there

    • How lucky of you to have gotten to attend so many wonderful events! I really wish there were more events like that in my city so that I could see other bloggers and readers fangirling it up. :) Though blogging is such a great way to “meet” other book bloggers who love the same books I do — or who are passionate about the same bookish topics as I am.

      Nice to meet another blogger from this beautiful province! :) Don’t be a stranger!

  5. Cool post Kristilyn, I find meeting friends in university when it is competitive usually don’t end up as ‘true forever’ friends.

    If I lived in the US I definitely think I would have met up with some bloggers.

    I love meeting new people, part of my job and when I do I always make books the topic, it is so easy to quickly know if you will have reading in common.

    I have thought about reading books with other bloggers, I think the issue is so many of us read at very different speeds in order to have a true discussion.

    I’m not into Twitter and FB though.

    I have enjoyed meeting you from your blog.

    • That is true about the different reading speeds … for me, it depends on the book, but I don’t tend to read a lot of difficult books, so it’s usually easy for me to breeze through something in a day or so.

      I do use Twitter quite a bit and really only use Facebook to post my blog posts, as well as share interesting links from publishers or other bloggers. I wouldn’t say that Facebook has brought me closer to anyone though.

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. I’m pretty new to the blogging scene (I only have 8 followers…. last I checked) but I’ve done pretty well making bookie friends on twitter. Because of a friendship with an Indy author I met on twitter, I now have a new hobby that I started last summer of Beta reading and even a bit copy-editing thrown in there!! I’ve had the privilege of reading 5 books, since then, and I’m about to start a new one, from a new author, whom I met on a facebook discussion group!! I’m really looking forward to meeting up with a group of local bloggers, and I hope to come away with tips-of-the-trade for how to make my own baby blog into something more people would want to visit :) I imagine we will all fast become friends :) See you all next weekend!

    • 8 followers is still something! That’s great that you’ve met some great bookish friends through Twitter! I’d love to do something like Beta reading or copy-editing. Though, I minored in English and probably suck at any kind of editing, but I’m not that terrible.

      Personally, I’d love to find more books by Edmonton authors … must find a way to research that!

      And yes! Blogging was one of the things I wanted to bring up at our “meeting” … it seems that all of us are on various degrees of the blogging scale, so tips and tricks would be a great discussion. We have to help each other out!

      I’ll be sending out an email this weekend about the meet-up … we have a few more members, too! I’m really looking forward to it!

      • I’ll have to check her out! (Ha ha … library joke)

        I bought one Edmonton book from a bookstore once and had it signed by the author. Then she ticked me off with a strange comment. Still haven’t read it.

  7. What a great post! I’ve met the majority of my online friends through Twitter, and I really love using it as a resource. I’m definitely working on being a more active and vocal blogger within the community, and I might try to get to some blogger events in Toronto if I can help it. Thanks for the informative and well-written post – I imagine it’ll help a lot of book lovers meet kindred spirits.

    • I hope it does! I threw out the “book blogger signal” (<– a huge flashing book in the sky resembling the bat signal, but way cooler) and managed to find 7 bloggers in my city! I was blown away! And I've met some great people through Twitter and through commenting on their blogs. Despite all the drama that goes on, the book blogging community really is a great one.

  8. I love this post. My husband and I have this conversation all the time – how it’s almost impossible to make “good” friends as you get older. A lot of the time, the effort just isn’t worth it – we’re so busy with everyday life and our dog and at the core of it, we’re happy with our threesome, so it can be hard to find the time to work on new friendships – especially since older friendships are just easy. Don’t get me wrong, I like making new friends! But often co-worker friends just don’t cut it. Like you said take away the common interest (like work or school) and you often don’t have anything else in common.

    I have ‘met’ some great bookish people through Twitter and blogging though. And it’s so exciting to discover people that live in your own city! There aren’t a lot of people in my everyday life that share my passion for reading, so I’m thankful for having the internet to connect.

    I am part of a book club that some friends started up 5 years ago (I rejoined when I moved back to Ed), but it’s a rare meeting when more than 50% of the members have actually read the book! And even when most of us have read it, so little discussion on the book itself occurs :( I like the idea of joining a library book club. Also, have you ever hosted or done a read-along? I like the idea another commenter had about reading a book together – but a read-along would allow us to read the same book in a given time-frame (so that reading speed doesn’t matter too much). I’ve seen lots of read-alongs on other book blogs, but have usually been too shy or too busy to participate.

    Anyway, sorry for the short novel here lol. I’m really glad you found me on Twitter! :)

    • That’s so funny that you say you and your hubby are happy with your threesome — my husband and I have our three dogs and we couldn’t be happier! Though, he manages to keep a great relationship with a lot of friends he’s had growing up, even if they don’t see each other too often (read: rarely), but then I’m so selective that I only have a few that I can have that kind of relationship with. I’m at the age where I’d love to have friends who enjoy the same things that I do, or read the same books I read. When I worked, I had plenty of acquaintances, but that was about it.

      I do wish I could find a book club closer to home with people who read the same genres I like to read. But I readalong sounds like a good idea! Maybe for the next Edmonton meetup (which I’ll be sending an email out about soon!) we could pick a book to read and I’ll host a readalong. That way posting a recap post once a week, or even on a certain day, would let us all discuss the book together. Don’t feel too shy about participating! I’m so shy (and slightly awkward), but am managing to overcome it through blogging.

      I’m so happy to have found some book bloggers that are in the city. I honestly thought there weren’t any!

      • One of the reasons we wanted to move back to Edmonton was so we could be closer to my friends and family. But really, I don’t see my friends *that* much, but it’s nice knowing they’re there and that I can see them when I want. I can’t imagine throwing a child into the mix one day! Although I guess I might see my friends who have kids, more often that way ;p

        Which library do you go to for the book club? Is it the Leduc library?

        I look forward to the email and meet-up!

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  10. You inspired me to blog tonight (no easy task)! Check it out here: http://reading-in-bed.com/2012/07/27/words-with-friends/

    So far, Twitter has been so great for meeting like-minded people and book lovers of all kinds.

    I like the read-along idea! I haven’t heard of that before. It does sound more effective than the usual book club. I’ve been invited to join a book club; they meet in September and the book is The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje. I don`t know if this is a `serious` book club or a wine fest :) Either would be okay with me, but if I take the time to read the book, I will want to talk about it!

    PS Brie – yeah – throwing a child or two into the mix is a good way to throw off your reading BIG TIME! Blogging helps me keep focused. I quit reading altogether for six months after my first and it was awful. I *need* to make time to read, it`s so important for my well-being!

    • Twitter is great for chatting with fellow book-lovers! My problem with book clubs is that a lot of them always meet on the South Side and I’m not even in the city, so it’s just too far to go. I do like my library one, but haven’t liked a lot of the books we’ve read.

      I’ve read ‘The Cat’s Table’ … wasn’t a favourite of mine! I really need to read something else by Michael Ondaatje because I don’t think this was a good introduction to his writing.

      Reading is so important for your well-being! I love it … these days, I don’t know what I would do without it! I took May off and only read 3 books (which is a crazy low number for me), but I was creating music ALL flippin’ month, so I was still working my brain. And my fingers. And my back. (Playing piano ALL month really does a number on your system)

      Yay for reading! Now … I’m going to go read my book. :)

      Thanks for commenting!

  11. Thanks for such a thoughtful post! I’m new to the book blogging world, jumping in because I wanted to talk about and share the books I love with other like minded people. It’s hard at first but so far I’ve met some wonderful people! Thanks for the tips on how to widen my book friends circle! :D

  12. Wonderful thoughts. If it weren’t for the blogosphere, I would be friendless in my new city right now. But because of book bloggers and Twitter and the like, I met two amazing chics who I felt like I knew for years by the time we actually met face-to-face. They introduced me to a local book club and well, I’m just happy as a clam. :)

    It IS harder to make friends the older we get. I am no longer that outgoing ball of excitement I once was, and I have trouble walking up and introducing myself to others. I’m so very different online than in person, which I think is the case for a lot of us. When I do get to know someone however, I can be a total spaz and let my true colors shine. :)

    • That’s so awesome! I’ve lived in my city forever and am just now meeting bookish people. I think I had a knack for hanging out with the WRONG people that I’m finally finding the right ones.

      And I agree — I’m not an outgoing ball of excitement either. I’m so shy and so self-conscious that I rarely walk up to people!

      And I’m a spaz most of the time … just watch some of my vlogs. :)

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