Source : The New Indian Express
Social media has been opening up new worlds for its users.
BENGALURU : Social media has been opening up new worlds for its users. For bookworms, Instagram has been a platform to share their reading habits, post reviews and interact with like-minded people. Several ‘bookstagrammers’ from the city have thousands of followers, and the numbers are only growing.
Software developer Pooja Singh talks about her bookstagram account – a.book.by.the.window. “I share my journey of reading, the books I am currently reading, reviews of my favourite books, my book-buying habits and the places that I visit to read. Basically, a kind of online journal where I talk about my book habits in an attempt to inspire others to read more and connect with other readers,” says the 24-year-old. She has close to 3,000 followers.
Pooja started this account around five months ago, and started posting reviews on her personal account. “At the time, I wasn’t aware of such a big ‘bookstagram’ community. But when so many people started having conversations with me, I thought of using my personal space to talk about my love for books,” she adds.
‘I was an average reader before starting bookstagram’
Pooja was average reader earlier, reading only about four to five books a month on an average by a select few authors. “Now, I read more – around 10 to 15 a month. I’ve discovered so many new authors, I have a whole community of people to talk about books to, which instantly motivates me to challenge my own reading habits,” she says.
Pooja says Instagram also helps connect people across multiple social media channels, such as blogs. “Also, with stories, live feed and IGTV, Instagram also provides various means to broadcast video content,” she says. However, building a well engaged community on Instagram takes lot of time and effort. “Creating good content is one thing, but pushing it through all your followers’ feed requires immense effort. If your posts are not well engaged, you can see your content being pushed back by Instagram. This has brought in competition,” she says.
Pooja has been reading since her childhood. “I used to read newspapers, comics and detective stories. Having eaten a healthy diet of Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Khushwant Singh, Munshi Premchand, Mahadevi Verma and Suryakant Tripathi during my school days, I developed a love for literature. Although,my current profession keeps me far away from literature, I reunited with my books a few years ago after reading A thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. There has been no looking back since,” she shares.
‘Helped connect with fellow readers’
Another user, Aishwarya MR, started a ‘bookstagram’ account to connect with her fellow-readers and participate in readathons. She was inspired to start her account ‘Love2reviewbooks’ by her favourite booktuber, Emma. “While I initially started watching videos by various booktubers on YouTube, they would say, ‘Follow me on bookstagram’.
That is how I came across the bookstagram community. Then I researched and found that there are so many like-minded readers out there. I could check out various profiles and click with those who had similar tastes in reading, and also follow profiles that motivated me to read more,” says the 22-year-old, who is pursuing her MBA.
She says she’s been able to reach out to other people through hashtags. “Instagram has also helped budding authors reach out to readers,” she adds. The Bengaluru girl plans to open a library once she has enough books in her collection. She has over a thousand followers.
She got into reading when her father insisted she read and write in her native language Malayalam. “I started reading a Malayalam comic called Balarama, and later on, discovered that I wasn’t reading just to learn my language, but I loved reading stories. That is when I started reading English books as well. I started with Three Little Pigs, Nancy Drew and The Secret Seven, and gradually moved on to other books by JK Rowling, RK Narayan, Nicholas Sparks and Dan Brown,” she recalls.Her all-time favourite books are the Harry Potter series and Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. “My favourite authors are Cassandra Claire and Adam Silvera,” she says.