Book Twitter Community: Cool, Various, yet Anti-Critic
Books are cool. Twitter is cool. So, it is getting even better to talk about books on Twitter.
Or is it not?
In a social media era, we can connect to almost everyone, not only with friends from our school or co-workers. We can also connect with anyone who loves things we love. You can start a new Taylor Swift fandom at any minute, and boom, it goes viral. That is why talking about books on social media is a smart move. It started on YouTube, as people made videos with their camera, speaking about their reviews of books they read there. Then, people start to use Instagram for sharing about books they like or have read. It gets a different algorithm since Instagram is about some beautiful photos (yes, bookstagram was the initiator of taking some beautiful photos of books or a collection of books, but we’re not going to dig about that).
And as Facebook has built its unique books niche consisting of groups for book discussions or groups for selling some preloved books, Twitter also has its books niche with its style. Nowadays you can find some reviews of books you love, hate, or you’re curious about on Twitter. It’s unique because it uses tools such as thread so the reviewer could blabber more and more about any books they want to talk about. In the tweet inside of the thread you could share 4 photos maximum, so if your thread consists of 10 tweets and 4 of them use some photos, you could share a total of 16 photos for just one book. Speaking about flexibility to blabber about books rather than reviewing on Instagram, Twitter is…cooler (since one Instagram post could only share 10 photos).
The thing is one thread consists of 10 tweets, unlike Instagram which gives only one space for other user comments about your reviews or their opinions about the book you had reviewed (or maybe about your angle in taking the pictures since Instagram comments are wild), people could still reply your tweets inside of the thread or quoting your tweets as a place to speak their opinions. Now hear me out, most of the time people agree with your reviews or are happy to see you share your thoughts about books, especially if they had read the books or they love the books. It’s getting quite scary when your opinions and theirs aren’t resonating and one of the sides couldn’t take the attitude of agreeing to disagree. Let’s say I said that I don’t like R.F. Kuang on Twitter, and people could attack me for that. It’s hilarious? I know!
Now, I am a Twitter user from Indonesia. I created a new account on Twitter in the year 2019. Long before that, I had used Twitter for ranting or anything else, sometimes to talk about books I’ve read. It was a small account with a small niche since I made the account in my high school year, so I talked about books only with my high school friends. At that time, it was easy to be chill about anything. My friend loved K-Pop yet at that time if I said I hate K-Pop, me and my friend could still agree to disagree about that. Agree to disagree is a simple attitude that saves a lot of miscommunication or dispute, especially on social media. Hence I don’t understand why so many people cannot understand that now. Sadly since some people can’t quite comprehend about agree to disagree attitude, any different opinion about books has led to a whole different drama on Twitter.
Having a different opinion is not bad. Opinions are born because the facts we know collide with the value we bring inside of us, so the more various opinions people have, the more critics are produced and finally, authors or creators could create something better in the future. It should be some good communities to develop ideas and learn about originality, but Twitter has changed the way we think. We think that a majority opinion is the best, yet, in reality, it’s not.
If you are very active on Twitter you would know a second that Twitter is a place for drama. Not for telling the drama but actually to watch the drama, since a different opinion is considered a controversial post. But bringing drama into the book community is the least we can do as readers. The drama of the book twitter has been talked about by Claire Handscombe, the author of Unscripted, on bookriot.com with the article ‘The (Un)importance of Boo Twitter’. She mentioned some drama from early 2022 when Jeremy Schneider on his Twitter account said: “please know, if you’re someone who brings a book to the bar… nobody likes you.”
Claire showed that by the time she wrote about that post, other people had so many things to say until Jeremy followed up a few days later with a thread apologizing and pointing out the error of his opinion. Ironically, some people feel the apology is not genuine. Claire then explained about “canceled” or the phenomenon when people with their controversial posts are no longer accepted. As I read this, I agree with Claire’s opinion, that what happens on Twitter pretty much stays there. Why? Because Twitter is an ecosystem and an echo chamber all of its own. And hear me out, but what feels like all-consuming and exhausting for a day or a week on Twitter, turns out are not some significant problems outside the platform.
Shortly: all those dramas about books and everything are only on Twitter. You could say that you dislike J.K. Rowling and cancel her, but her books are selling anyway.
How is this possible? You might ask about that. But it is easy to be answered. The drama is not that significant because not everyone uses Twitter. To be short, Twitter is not an accurate reflection of what the vast majority of the real world is talking or thinking about.
Twitter drama is only entertaining for the users, and although Twitter is useful for the book world (authors can use it to announce and sell their books, and we can get tons of recommendations we want), it does annoying when the readers are more anti-critic than the authors. Some people has reached their offensive mode when they defend the books they like, until I wonder, does it the author’s pride or the readers pride that has been attacked?