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My Blogging Family Tree

July 20, 2014

What does your blogging family tree look like? Who led your way into social media?

Over at BlogHer, they’ve been talking about blogging family trees. It got me remembering.

I came to book blogging through ink and paper journalism. Fran Wood, then features editor of the Star-Ledger tapped me to do some book reviews in 2007. Of course, I loved the idea of free books, and, even better, the chance to write about them. Periodically, packages of books would arrive from Fran, along with wordcounts and deadlines. It was like having a birthday every month!

I began exploring Twitter and Facebook around the same time.  (Fun fact: my Dad was the one who prodded me to get into both. He enticed me onto Facebook with promises to play Scrabble with me. A decision he later came to regret, when I started doing things like playing “BANJAX” on triple word scores. He won’t play with me anymore.)

I grew up on the Internet, of course, in the age of AOL disks and the understanding that cyberspace was not a place for real names or identifying information. Before book reviewing, and starting to blog about books here, any web journals I had were veiled under a screen name. If they were about connecting with others, they were about fandoms, or staying in touch with real-life friends, rather than participating in a deliberately created blogger community. So it felt distinctly odd to do things like use my real name to make my blog something that could be found and deliberately connected to me.

Making the transition into book reviewer and book blogger, and becoming more active on social media introduced me to Sassymonkey, who I see as a “blogmother,” both someone to steer and start conversations about books, and also a model of how book blogging worked. Sassymonkey introduced me to the community of BlogHer as well as being an entry point to various other book blogs. Through Twitter and other book blogs, I found my way to participating in blogger events like Booking Through Thursday and Dewey’s Readathon, expanding my family of book bloggers further still. Beginning to attend the Book Expo allowed me to meet some of these excellent book bloggers in person, along with introducing me to the writers, publishers and publicists who keep us all reading. (It was the community of librarians at the Book Expo who convinced me to go for my Masters in Library Science, but that’s a different family tree altogether).

In 2008, my social media life took a turn for the deliberate and professional, and found me taking on work as a social media manager and blog editor. Working to create and publicize content that focused on the interests of specific populations (women over 40 and fashion illustrators, to be exact) honed my ability to tailor social media content to a specific audience, and start conversations geared towards promoting a message to them. Now I do the same in the world of business books.

Working in content publishing (and publicity for a publishing company) while also blogging book reviews, and learning how to be a librarian, my blogging family tree starts to branch out in all directions.

Because of the way the different bookish and blogging interactions twine around one another (for example, my former Star-Ledger book review editor asked me for some tips on starting her own book blog), I think my blogging family tree may be less a tree than a trellis of ivy.

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