Friday Find: #FridayReads (Redux)

You may remember that way back in January, I named the #FridayReads hashtag a “Friday Find.” I wrote:

It’s a little scary to me, the extent to which Twitter seems to have taken a hold on my life. But one element of the Twitterverse that isn’t scary at all–nay, it’s inspiring!–is the #FridayReads hashtag.

As the energetic Bethanne Patrick (@thebookmaven) phrases it: “Basically, if it’s Friday where you are, we want to know what you’re reading.” And in 140 characters or less, people are sharing those titles every Friday. All genres (no judgments!). And if you’re reading the same book for two (or more) Fridays, that’s OK. You can say so.

Yes, @thebookmaven offers some giveaways, but that’s not what’s motivating thousands of people around the world to reveal what they’re reading each week. There’s something else at work, and I am just one of many, many readers happy to be a part of it.

So follow #FridayReads to enjoy the sense of being in good reading company and glean some titles to add to your own TBR list. Share what you’re reading, too, and don’t forget the hashtag. (NB: In the past, you had to have an active Twitter account for at least a few days for your hashtag posts to show up, so if you’re just activating your account now, you should be able to participate fully no later than next Friday.)

I still participate in FridayReads fun, mostly by applying the hashtag to a post each Friday in which I mention my current reading. And I really do enjoy seeing what others on my timeline are tweeting out as their #FridayReads selections, too. Best of all (I’ll admit it!) I love seeing Quiet Americans pop up as someone else’s #FridayReads title.

I haven’t met Bethanne “in real life,” but all of our e-mail and public online exchanges have been pleasant. So I felt pretty guilty when I “unfollowed” her Twitter feed a few weeks ago. But my life has become busier and busier lately, and I have had to be ruthless about my timeline. Bethanne’s prolific tweets, including what was seeming to me an ever-increasing number of Twitter chats with authors, were simply too much for my poor, screen-challenged eyes to deal with on the margins of the day job.

So I didn’t immediately realize that a big brouhaha had emerged about FridayReads (and, by extension, Bethanne). I’m not going into the details here. Read these posts for more info.

But I will say that increase that I’ve perceived in Bethanne’s tweets—and in her Twitter book chats—now makes more sense to me. I don’t have a big problem with Bethanne making some money from her social-media expertise, especially since, in the end, she is being paid to promote books. Admittedly, I’m less comfortable with the new knowledge that she’s being paid for running giveaways—like some others, I figured that the publishers had simply donated them in exchange for some pretty excellent publicity—than I am with the fees for the Twitter chats, which for some reason I assumed were part of the deal once I began to sense how frequently they were taking place.

But basically, if I have any issues with Bethanne’s success and visibility, they come down to my pathetic inability to keep up. And that is really my problem, not hers. (However, I will also say that I’m glad to know that Bethanne is now making her “#promo” tweets much more identifiable. I think that’s a wise and reassuring move.)

In the end, whether I follow Bethanne or not, I will continue posting my #FridayReads. Because I continue to think that at its core, it remains a good idea.