Standing Back, not Stepping Down

I have been ruminating on this post for a while. I’ve had various versions scheduled to post but delayed posting, however I think the time has finally come. As many of you will appreciate, juggling the demands of blogging, work and real life are not always easily managed. Sometimes, something has to give. I’ve reached the point, where I need to get myself back on track and it’s my intention to step back from social media, or more particularly Twitter.

As many of you will appreciate Twitter has a habit of eating into time, but I also find that increasingly it is not just draining my time, but also my energy and enthusiasm. I suppose I’m becoming increasingly uncertain as to its value, as very often all I seem to do is retweet posts that effectively bat the same books around the same group of people.  As blog tours become more prevalent and to my mind excessively long (this morning I saw one with 52 dates!!) I can only see this getting worse. I really can’t believe that I’m the only one that’s bored with seeing the same books for days on end. It just feels like a marketing treadmill that once on is very difficult to get off and I never had much enthusiasm for that aspect in the first place.

Despite the fact I have over 1700 followers, I interact with probably less than 80 people. That interaction is also very much restricted for the most part to book related posts. If I post anything personal or put something none book related out into the ether, the response is normally a deafening silence. I sometimes feel like I only exist as Jill’s Book Cafe and  I already have enough confidence issues without creating more for myself.

So for the minute I think the time has come to revert back to doing to what I felt happy with which is just reading, reviewing and posting to my blog, I will also maintain my Facebook page. My blog will stay linked to Twitter, for the purposes of keeping my profile up to date, but I don’t expect to be dropping in or participating on a regular basis  – famous last words. (I’ve rethought this strategy as of course it will make it look as though I am tweeting, so this blog will be unlinked for the time being).

I don’t want anyone to feel that this is a criticism of the blogging community or choices that people make. As this week has shown, it’s amazingly, friendly and supportive and I have nothing but admiration for what everyone achieves, the issues are all mine. There are times when I feel like a fish out of water, so basically I’m just getting out of the Twitter pond for the time being.

I’m hoping that perhaps I’ll actually be more productive on the blog as I rediscover my joy of reading and start to make better use of my time. So I shall still be here, but just quietly doing my own thing.

I’m still feeling conflicted about posting this, but I know it’s the right thing for me to do, with the way I feel about things at the minute, so I hope you’ll understand.

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106 thoughts on “Standing Back, not Stepping Down

  1. You’re right to do exactly as you think best, Jill. I didn’t have a Twitter account until I started my blog. I do like it but with that and Facebook I’m often sat up at night with matchsticks holding my eyes open. I often think why don’t I just go to bed and read but I keep on scrolling. I actually find Facebook a worse time eater and I think that’s because it’s not just book stuff on there but a mixture of so many pages that I like.

    Anyway, I think you’re doing the right thing, especially as you don’t do blog tours for which having a Twitter account is more important. You can just enjoy your blog for what you want it to be – a reviewing platform. I look forward to reading more of your excellent reviews in the future.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I don’t think that was what they meant, the gist was everyone is simply posting between themselves and it doesn’t necessarily relate to sales as we’re swapping the info to people who have already had a free copy. It’s how many book buyers are actually being reached. Also once you go into Twitter there is a sort of you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. and it’s hard to stop the train. Personally I’ve never been comfortable with Blog Tours as by default it means signing up to something in advance without knowing too much about it and by default the assumption is that the response will be a positive one. i can understand why outsiders can question the impartiality of reviews in that situation. It also depends on your motivation. Many bloggers do it for the love of promoting authors or publishers and I’ve always seen that as secondary to the book IYSWIM. I think it’s the librarian in me, my review is for the reader primarily to promote the book and not the author. They are intrinsically linked but it’s coming at it from a difficult angle.

        Liked by 7 people

      • Food for thought Jill. Thank you for that. I’m rethinking my approach over the Summer. I’ve a mountain of books that is challenging me daily. I’m exhausted trying to juggle. I love it but I need to reevaluate my approach. I think my OH would like that too tbh!!!

        Liked by 2 people

      • That is interesting about us all sharing between ourselves. I don’t know about anybody else but the majority of my blog followers (rather than social media) are other bloggers. Obviously they’re also readers but it does feel as though we’re all just passing a baton round. I’d like to get more lay readers (if you will) interested but don’t know how, although I have more of those on Twitter.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sending you some lovely squishy hugs, I completely understand what you are saying my lovely & at the end of the day you need to do what is best for you. If taking time away from social media is what’s needed then you should do it. Go & get lost in a world of lovely books & enjoy every second of it! I’ll be sure to keep stopping by your Facebook page & blog regularly for reviews. Take care Jill, maybe catch you around in the land of the internet world sometime xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Completely understand, Jill. At all times, do what’s right for you.

    Twitter is an incredible time-sucking thing. A few days ago, it took me 3 hours to get through the last 10% of a book. I use it only for reviews and to share stuff from other bloggers in support of their time and work. If at any point I decide to share something personal, it won’t be on twitter. Like you, and probably most of us, there’s a very low interaction point when you take follower amounts into account.

    I hope you do rediscover your love of reading and I look forward to seeing you update your blog. xx

    Liked by 3 people

      • I do see, yes. You said it yourself, I think it’s a generation thing too. You see it on twitter and on tumblr, for instance as well. People will quickly hit that “like” button without interacting with someone. It’s why I’ve always preferred a forum environment, where you talk to people and actually get to know them and even make friends. And it’s also why I’m trying harder to keep up with people’s blogs. That’s where the interaction is, I think.

        Your post is making me think, Jill. I like that.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Im another one who is uncertain as to the value of Twitter. it seems that to get any kind of traction at all you have to post multiple times every day – I dont have enough time nor enough to say to warrant that kind of schedule.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Couldn’t agree with you more Jill. I really don’t know what the worth is of the same books going round the same people. And sometimes, when the publishers can’t be bothered to retweet it I just think why waste your time.
    I have done what you are doing now and stepped back, which was a decision I had to make because of work commitments, but I have felt much better. You realise the world doesn’t stop just because you don’t retweet for a couple of days.
    Enjoy your new found freedom. I’ll still look forward to your posts. Xx

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I totally get this post Jill I struggle to keep up with everything but I do think a break from all the social media stuff definitely helps and you will be surprised at how much more productive you can be. Enjoy your break and enjoy your books 😘😘😘

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Loved your post Jill and totally understand your thoughts and have to agree with them 100%! I am sure we all get into this way of life through our love of reading and discovering new books and authors, but at times I do feel that the blogging community is just used for advertising and it has lost its’ soul a little! Look forward to reading your reviews still via the blog and facebook! X

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Jill, I understand where you are coming from. I don’t get to spend as much time on Twitter as I would like and need and only really have chance to share posts in the morning. I’ve also took on less blog tours and less review copies in general recently to give me chance to catch up on reading all my books! Will be sure to check out your reviews still x

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Totally understand where you are coming from Jill. Twitter often feels like that to me as it is the same people who see my posts who I know are pretty well following all the same people. It does make you wonder if it is worth it.

    Hope you find your peace being tweet free
    Jen

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Jill I completely understand where you’re coming from. I’m not on Facebook and don’t think I’ll join and only use twitter for sharing posts and interacting with publishers and authors which has been really fun. I do most of my interacting with other readers through commenting on other’s blog posts and on Instagram. As I head into my 9th month of blogging and with the summer months almost here & a gazillion books I want to sit outside and read, I’ve been thinking about making some changes in terms of exactly what you said…the constant round and round of sharing the same books and posts on twitter over and over again. I haven’t come up with the best answer for me yet but something has to give as you said. I’ll continue to enjoy chatting with you on your blog:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • It wasn’t an easy decision, but reading and reviewing is how I started and what I enjoyed. I don’t enjoy Twitter. Hopefully this will free up time to also spend more time interacting via blogs, I’d stopped doing that as I just didn’t have time and I missed that real contact.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I follow your blog and your Facebook so I’ll still have some Jill in my life 😊 I totally get it, I’m currently revising for an exam next Thursday and I’m thinking, I haven’t shared blog posts to twitter yet, I must do it now… I worried people will think I’m rude if I don’t but while I’m not leaving Twitter I’m considering taking a step back. It’s hard to find a balance but once your not enjoying you know it’s time to take a step back xx

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I totally understand Jill and admit to feeling the same at times. I shall still follow your blog and look forward to reading your posts. Enjoy your Twitter free reading. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh Jill you have articulated some of my thoughts exactly. I admire your strength to stand back. I am in the process of moving so that has forced me to cut down slightly. I did begin to question my sanity when I was more concerned about missing posts or RT’s rather than being excited about a new house! The blogger community is wonderful but as mentioned, who else actually takes note of the books we tweet/promote? My reading time is suffering which is crazy because that’s the thing that started all this! Have a peaceful time .. I follow your blog so will spot any reviews xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good luck with the house move, we’re trying to sell, but no joy yet. Doing what’s right for you isn’t always easy, I guess it’s part habit and part not wanting to put your head above the parapet. But social media shouldn’t be taking control. Be brave, it’s your life – enjoy! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I understand where you’re coming from completely (as do many others based upon the comments above), and I’ve been thinking about stepping away from Twitter (the only social media tool I use) for a little while as well. There are only so many hours in the day, and I’ve found that fitting everything in is becoming increasingly difficult. Enjoy the break, Jill! x

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Thank you so much for your raw honesty, Jill! I’ve noticed the same thing about Twitter. I was so excited when I reached over 1000 followers, but I there are maybe 75 I actually interact with. Also, like you, if I post something that isn’t a review the response is ***crickets***. I’ve also noticed blog tours where sharing and re-tweeting is just among the same people over and over. There are a couple of authors and publishers out there that take the time to thank me, and that I appreciate. I’ve also been contemplating a change in my ‘touring’. I want to continue to review, but I want my books that I choose, not because of a tour. We will see if I stick to it.

    I look forward to reading more of your reviews. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Good on you, Jill, for doing what you feel you need to do. I used Twitter a lot before I started blogging so it feels normal to me and I don’t use it purely for my blog. However, I do see where you are coming from about the same books being shared amongst the same people.

    I started my blog about 6 weeks ago and I am still only reviewing and talking about books which I have either bought or acquired through giveaways. I’m being very careful about any requests I get as I ultimately want my blog to be what I set it up for: to talk about books I love and share my passion for reading.

    Enjoy your reading time and your Twitter break. xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  17. You should always do what makes you feel comfortable and happy. I’ve taken extended breaks from both blogging and Twitter in the past both of which have done me the world of good. Sometimes we just need time back in the real world! I hope your break gives you everything you need from it. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Jill, you’ve echoed a lot of my thoughts. I have an as yet unpublished draft post very similar to this.
    Enjoy your time away. Will miss you but will carry on reading your blog posts
    Thanks for introducing me to Throwback Thursday! 😉.

    Although I do enjoy Twitter on the whole, it’s become a bit frenetic. I can’t keep up on the sharing side.
    I’m cutting down on the blog tours after those I’ve signed up for and getting off the hamster wheel for a bit. I find I’m putting aside books I want to read in favour of those I have to read. Feeling stressed as the books pile up, instead of loving the thought of them.
    I’m on holiday but tonight was stressing about getting everything right for my spot tomorrow on a tour. As thrilled as I am to be on it.

    Will see you on Facebook too.

    Caryl x

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think Blog Tours have a lot to answer for, but that’s just my opinion. I’ll still be just as active, and still around just not on Twitter, for a while at least. Hope you’re holiday weather has improved, it looked a bit wet, the last time I spotted your photographs? xx

      Liked by 1 person

    • A reply to both you, Caryl, and Jill – I was talking to someone else about this the other day, someone else who, like me, doesn’t get involved in the endless sharing of posts. I sometimes feel guilty about not sharing more (I do RT a lot, though, which I prefer to the shares), but I agree with what Claire Brizzle Lass said about doing what makes you feel comfortable and happy. Once it becomes a chore, it’s time to stop. Or simply to tone it down, and do what suits YOU.

      When I’m looking for book bloggers who might be interested in reading the books I’m working on at the moment, I do despair a little, as so many blogs seem to be centred around the currently popular ‘grip lit’ (if it hasn’t got a missing kid, domestic violence or a psycho neighbour, forget it!), or the pink swirly writing beach and cupcake chick lit. It’s why I like being part of Rosie’s review team, because we are offered a variety of genres. But it’s obvious, I suppose, that bloggers will review what’s currently popular, if they want their blogs to be of interest to many. Fair enough!

      Maybe if you follow people outside the book/blog world, you will expand your ‘Twitter experience’ (I can’t believe I just wrote that); I quite often have mild chats with people about history, TV programmes, and odd, general day-to-day stuff.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I agree Terry. I will review something that’s popular if it’s something I want to read, but have stopped requesting forthcoming titles to break the cycle. I want to get back to reading my books, to my time scale, although I’ve never really been pressured as I don’t do tours. Any pressures I have are self imposed. I have tried having conversations on Twitter, but they don’t happen often. Partly due to the fleeting nature of tweets and also because the bulk of my followers are virtual strangers. I don’t have friends or family or work colleagues to make interaction less bookish. I think sometimes people are loath to jump in because it feels like I intruding or eavesdropping, but Twitter is public. Anyway, no doubt I’ll drop in again, but I want to break what seems to me to be a marketing cycle of constant book promo’s and get back to basics.

        Like

      • Terry, I like Twitter for the random conversations about all subjects and do enjoy that aspect of it. Also for news about books and the book world. Love to know what is going on. As far as blogging is concerned I know I’ve fallen victim to the Fear Of Missing Out syndrome and only have myself to blame for that one 😉
        I also have blog posts for a lot of different genres. I’m getting a bit fed up of all the grip lit, similar cover books, so have started to avoid them and turn down blog tours and reviews.
        One publisher whose books I enjoy and is a joy to work with is Karen Sullivan from Orenda, so will carry on with those. Also the books she publishes are very varied and enjoyable.
        Just have to learn to say no and go back to basics a bit. Less is more! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  19. I completely understand, Jill. Directing your efforts toward doing what you love is THE most important thing – everything else just steals precious time and energy. More importantly I’m so glad to know I can still visit you here 🙂 Have a great weekend. Take care. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I think sometimes we all have to take a moment and reevaluate. There is no right or wrong in what you participate in – only what you love. I’ve recently learned that I will NEVER read everything I get sent and I’m tired of feeling obligated to. I will never review all the books that I DO read. It can get overwhelming and the moment you don’t love it you need to take time for yourself and your sanity! Cheers to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Jill you have certainly given me some stuff to ponder! I do feel a bit guilty for sharing this via twitter, how’s that for ironic? Haha. I definitely see where you’re coming from and will look forward to keeping up with you via your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Totally get where you are coming from Jill. I disappeared from my blog and Twitter last week for 3 days. No one noticed and I felt so free!!!! I do find that for some bloggers FB works better for them than twitter-I think bloggers usually have a preference for one over the others and your FB page has the most interaction so keep with that and knock twitter on the head if it’s not working for you.
    Blogging shouldn’t ever be stressful it’s not our job it’s our hobby! Xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cheers Jo, that’s another issue, I’ve never felt I was a blogger, I know I have a ‘blog’ but that’s where the similarity ends. I think I joined Twitter because I felt I had to, to grow a following, but why. They’re just numbers. I don’t do tours, I don’t have publishers sending me books, so I don’t need a visible presence to justify it. I’m happy to go back to being low profile and putting in my two pennorth worth about the books I’m reading now and again. xx

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think once you stop worrying about numbers it takes a huge weight off your shoulders. I have had to stop “thanking” people on twitter so they probably think I’m rude or don’t appreciate it but it was taking up so much of my day!! It’s been lovely recently to just read books I’ve bought and then rave on my blog about the ones I love. Blog tours are a way of getting your name out there but they are such hard work and so demanding as you have to read the book by a specific date. And for what end? Do books sell more? I don’t think they do and at the end of the day that’s the publishers job so when they don’t share the posts what’s the point? I love your blog as it’s YOU and I respect your opinions and advice so stick to who you are and what makes you happy 😊😊

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks Jo, interestingly I had a conversation with a publisher who is not convinced that Twitter or Blog Tours do contribute that much to extra sales. The posts are very often preaching to the converted, or others on the same tour. It’s getting the word out to the ordinary reader. Sure our reviews will bring books to peoples attention and may result in a sale or two, but it’s a lot of hard work for bloggers if the end result is not quantifiable. It’s great marketing and publicity but that’s a job somebody should be paying for, in my opinion. In fact publishers are paying someone to do that job, the individuals organizing the tours. I know bloggers want to support publishers and authors, but it feels quite cynical at times to me. It’s like exploiting the enthusiasm and goodwill of people who want to share. Anyway, that’s my old age and cynism creeping in, not helped by my daily despair at the political state of things. I take things too personally and can’t keep my mouth shut, but that’s me.

        Liked by 2 people

  23. I completely understand it, Jill. Ill still follow your blog and FB page so we’ll be seeing each other 😀

    I have two twitter accounts, one personal (in SPanish) and this one, and to be honest, I have more followers here but I have more fun with the other and interact with way more people. Here is just sharing and sharing and sharing… I don’t know, I’m also not sure if it’s that useful!

    Like

    • Twitter just started to feel like an endless wheel of sharing and liking, but not fun. I had time to talk via the blogs before Twitter and that had stopped. My free time was spent sorting email notifications and retweeting – not fun and not sure it’s of any value. So back to basics like the old days. The nice thing is, most of my blogging friends came via the blog, not Twitter so nothing is lost. Have a great week end, Saludos xx

      Liked by 1 person

  24. I read this when you first posted but wanted to ponder a little before responding in full.
    I do think twitter has a benefit by getting the book cover onto a wide number of peoples feeds and that’s why I do share blog posts there from other bloggers. That said for me personally, it isn’t a place for ‘getting to know’ people. Those I have interactions with, often have made contact via my blog or email which is far preferable.
    I have the same issue that we all do in that if I want to run a book blog which I continually remind myself was set up for other readers (a point I’m with you wholeheartedly on) then I need to read, and I can’t do that if so much of my free time is spent scrolling through twitter, Facebook or any other social media – I love reading other bloggers posts and often do this on my phone where it is hard and fiddly to respond (and sometimes to be brutally honest I feel I’m just making a noise to say I’ve read it) then sharing on twitter is a way of showing my appreciation. The you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours also makes me wonder how many people are now sharing my post unread because of the lack of time – I think my blog has reached the tipping point whereby if I were to visit and read everyone who visits each day, I would have no spare time at all!
    Now I come to blog tours – I’ve only participated in very few as from a blogger perspective I don’t like agreeing without having read the book, it makes me uncomfortable, and secondly it is a nightmare to read and then schedule posts around them – typically I only agree to very few and those for authors I already know and love. Lots of bloggers love them, I don’t and now publishers are shouting that slots are scarce I’m happy to leave them to those who enjoy sharing book love this way.
    I suppose what I’m trying to say is we are all individuals, it doesn’t take much to realise that for various reasons spare time is short and each of us have to prioritise the way we see fit – good on you for opening up the debate!
    P.S. I wrote this on my laptop and not my fiddly phone 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your reply Cleo, I appreciate your thoughts. I understand that in expressing my thoughts I’ve touched on subjects that we will all have different views on. I’m also aware that my post was by default picking up on the things I was unhappy with so might have implied a criticism of subjects I touched on, which is not necessarily the case. In particular I’m aware that my references to Blog Tours fall into that category. It is always the danger when making a passing comment in print that the background thought process or balance is missing. For this reason I am in the process of putting together a more detailed post regarding Blog Tours, which explores the positives and negatives and helps explain my views. I appreciate it might be committing blogging suicide, but I do think there are issues that need to considered and they are much easier seen by someone on the outside, than when you are a participant. There is part of me saying don’t do it, but then the older (no wiser) part of me says, if that’s what you feel and want to say, say it – it is my blog after all. I like to blame my Yorkshire bluntness, which I prefer to think of as honesty, but I’ve always been the same, so I can’t see me changing now. It will address a number of issues affecting the wider blogging community, which I believe are linked. Whether anyone else agrees remains to be seen, but it will further open up the debate. It is not intended to be inflammatory, but just to question certain aspects of the process. I’ll get my flak jacket ready now. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Jill I really don’t blame you at all and completely get where you are coming from. I have thought this way re merely sharing among other bloggers for a while. I took a few days out from social media the other week and actually got more reading done. I have been debating installing Jetpack on my blog but really the only people who will follow is likely to be other bloggers who see my stuff anyway! Not that I am being negative towards bloggers – they are all amazing and lovely people and I appreciate the support. I admire you for what you are doing and it feels very much to me like you are being true to yourself. You have spurred me on to think about how I manage my own blog. Big hugs to you xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Abbie, thanks for your comments. It is hard at times to stand back and rethink how you’re operating as it’s so easy to get caught up with how everyone else is operating. I think I had noticed though a divergence between what I would have on my blog and what I was reposting on Twitter which made me question my Twitter use. Largely it seemed I was providing a marketing outlet for things I personally wouldn’t read, but was doing so to support other bloggers. This seemed to be at odds with the way I operate on Facebook and made me feel uncomfortable. Still not sure what the answer is going forward, but when I re-enter the Twittersphere it will be with a different methodology. All I can say is do what’s right for you. We all operate differently and have different motivations, there is no right or wrong, just what makes you feel comfortable. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your page your rules 🙂 I’m just not comfortable with promoting some books that I feel cross the boundaries for me. I guess I either have to decide that Twitter is totally separate from my blog and FB or keep the same ethos. I find it difficult to balance posting something on Twitter that I wouldn’t post on my FB page. I acknowledge that that’s not a concern for most other bloggers but it is a conflict for me based on how I operate my FB page. By the same token I don’t expect others to share everything I post.

        Liked by 1 person

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