Likes & Ranks in the blogging community

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I’ve been postponing this discussion post for a very long time, but today seemed the right time to post it (think : I finally dared to). At this point, I have no idea what you guys think about that, and perhaps I’m yelling in a void…. Anyway, I needed to let it out.

So, likes. I’m going to be honest here : I don’t know any blogger or Goodreads reviewer who :

1) doesn’t feel the need to say that they’re not important, thank you very much

and at the same time

2) truly doesn’t care about them

(that’s usually when you chime in and tell me you really don’t care. Go ahead. Good for you)

And that’s okay! We are humans, we put time into our posts and reviews. Likes are a validation, and we shouldn’t be ashamed to care about them in my opinion.

However, things get messed-up when the hunt for likes takes the precedence over what reviewing should be about, reading and recommending books. Until the whole experience blows up in our face, making us stop blogging altogether, as it did for me.

What? I can’t be the only one who :

– checked the ranking lists every Wednesday on Goodreads ;

– made a little dance when I first entered the global list of best reviewers ;

– anxiously followed my journey to the top 10 ;

… Until without even realizing it, I ended up caring more about the number of likes I got than the pleasure of reading, influencing then my reading choices.

The thing is, likes are addicting. Many bloggers won’t admit it, but when we reach an average of 30/50/100 (whatever!) likes per review, we tend to expect them – and when they don’t come? We doubt ourselves. What was different in my review? What did I mess-up? Is this book not popular enough to get attention? WHAT DID I MESS-UP, DAMN IT?

In my experience, likes on Goodreads depend on several parameters, in that order :

1) The popularity of the book, especially in YA ;

2) The popularity of the reviewer ;

3) The level of activity of the reviewer : do you like other people’s reviews? How many time are you spending on Goodreads, reading and liking your friends’ reviews?

4) The number of times you post your review – in my opinion 2 or 3 times are okay, do it more without adding anything and I’ll side-eye you ;

5) The review itself.

Literally no one will talk about it, but yes, that’s a thing, and honestly? This pattern contributes to over-hyping bland but popular novels over diverse ones, in my opinion. And that sucks.

Last year, I lost my voice. Of course likes weren’t the sole reason for it : as I said in my 2016 review on Goodreads, trolls and politics got to me as well. Because that’s something that few people realize : when you start getting more and more likes – hence more exposure, the number of trolls you’ll get is exponential. Your notifications fill up with adorable comments like you suck, you are such a cunt, this is a terrible review, you didn’t get it, congrats for ruining my childhood, asshole (true story – I got this on a children novel I reviewed for my class),ย who the fuck do you think you are, go fuck yourself and so on. Oh, and contrary to popular belief, publishers couldn’t care less about your Goodreads ranking. They literally do not care. Only blog views count, alright?

To this day, I’m still ย ridiculously proud of the reviews I posted on Goodreads in 2015, and nobody will take that feeling from me – they were original, they were mine. But when I started feeling like reviewing was beginning to become a chore, another work for me to do, when I couldn’t catch up with the 4+ reviews a week I made myself writing…. I put the brakes on.

I stopped caring about rankings, likes, and what book should I read to interest people?

I started caring about myself again, what I wanted to say, what I wanted to read, what I did not want to read, and the hell with everything else.

I still have to catch myself sometimes, but all in all, I’m happy. I’m immensely happy that I could be passionate about reading again, and in the end, that’s what I wanted to say today.

Have you ever felt that likes and rankings damaged your reading or blogging experience?

20 responses to “Likes & Ranks in the blogging community

  1. I totally get what you mean and props for saying out loud what we try to ignore : yes, we do expect a certain amount of likes when posting a review, for all the reasons you stated.
    I’ve read a poll on GR a while ago, asking “when you like a review, is it because : you read all of it and liked it? Liked it because you’re friends with the reviewer? Liked it because you liked the book?” Etc. And the majority answered they don’t even read the review, or only read part of it.
    It made me very sad, considering the time (some of us? All of us?) spent writing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my GOD SARAH. REALLY??? Of course I knew some people didn’t read reviews but the majority? Like? What’s the point then? I truly don’t get it. I mean, I DO, because I cared a lot about likes as well, but to go as far as liking reviews but not reading them? It makes me sad. Thank you for commenting <333 (and HEY! HOW ARE YOU? Tu tiens le coup dans le bordel ambiant?)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not that active on Goodreads, I’m just starting there. I concentrate a lot more on Twitter and WordPress and certainly do feel like I have to write interesting posts. I post two book reviews a week because I genuinely enjoy giving my opinion on books. However, I’ve seen that discussion posts are more visited. However, this made me realise that I too enjoy discussion posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do too! I mean, I love reviews – obviously – but I really like reading discussion posts as well, they are the ones that make me feel being part of a community, you know? I went the other way, actually. Started with GR, and only recently started book twitter ๐Ÿ™‚ I think that there’s no right amount of posts we should do in a week. I really enjoyed posting a lot at first, it only bothered me when I felt forced to – as long as you enjoy what you’re doing, go for it!

      Like

      • I love your posts on Twitter. I actually made a list of topics that I want to discuss. So I’ve got the ideas. Now just have to write. But I’ve also got to review 12 books – when you’re on work experience and read in your free time… But you don’t have a laptop to write reviews…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! I feel you. I usually use the notes app on my phone to make a list of everything I want to say while reading a book and that I’m scared to forget XD

        Like

    • I was going to say the same thing! I use GR just to keep track of things, but this is a big thing with my blog too. It’s hard to keep the balance between having fun, and being hard on yourself because you’re not doing it right/not doing enough, etc. And I don’t make myself post a review for every book I read. It’s SO liberating.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly!! And YES! Before I was totally UNABLE to refrain from writing a review for every book I read, and it got so tiring…. Now I don’t force myself and that changed everything. Thank you for commenting!

        Like

      • I’ve only not posted one review because I wasn’t sure about the representation of addiction.

        Why don’t you post every review? I like to write loads of reviews so that I have posts that are scheduled for those weeks where I’m busy. For example, I had work experience the last two weeks and had written all the reviews before starting.

        I feel that if I didn’t post all my reviews, I’d mostly not post 3 star ones and those reviews are always write m quite interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree so much with what you’re saying, the focus on likes / visits can be a put off for writing at times and creating more content. I guess eventually you reach the point where you put out content for yourself and don’t force it (: regardless of peoples engagement x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes exactly! You’re so right about this – at least that’s how I lived it. One day I just stopped posting and then when I built this blog, I decided to post what I wanted whatever people thought ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  4. I always read something if I like it, although I still sometimes miss bits if I’m reading fast, and don’t always comment. The stat that kills me is views. I read more new releases and review more biographies, YA, and mainstream fiction than I had planned to because of my blog stats. (I would have read these books anyway, but take the trouble to sit down and review them because more people will read those reviews.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely understand. Back when I started at GR, I reviewed mainly YA and Fantasy and I know that’s what my followers came to expect from me (and I can understand why!). It took me time ( and a big reading slump!) to acknowledge that I was choosing books not on what I wanted to read but on what others wanted to read. As you said, I would have read these books anyway, but I put them before others. Now I’m listening more to myself ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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