[Note: I originally wrote this on 2/21/2022, and found it in my notes yesterday, 7/1/2022, as I was working through updating my reading here and on Goodreads. Seemed relevant still to what I’m doing so I decided to post it now.]
One of the things I’ve been trying to work through as far as how I want this website to function and how I want to participate in, or, more commonly these days, avoid various social media platforms, is how best to explore and share my reading life. I didn’t attend, but today lurked and poked around with interest on the notes and blog posts associated with the recent IndieWebCamp Pop-up on Personal Libraries. I always learn a lot when I start poking around on the websites of participants in the IndieWeb, and today was no exception. However, I did not find in the discussion or posts a viable alternative for Goodreads, at least not for my needs.
The key for me is that I’m already connected to many friends, colleagues, and, on occasion, even actual authors on Goodreads - it is one of the few social networks that I still participate in that actually kind-of works without distracting me too much from my original purpose. My original purpose when I’m on Goodreads is to explore what books these people I know are reading, or share my own reading with them, or find new books to read myself or purchase/share in my school library world. It’s not like twitter, where I log in at work to do a specific social media task and end up doomscrolling and angry about a bunch of different things that really have nothing to do with me. And in my experience there is not a lot of toxicity on Goodreads, at least compared to many other networks. (It does have its moments, though.)
There’s mainly just the philosophical problem that it is kind of a silo, and it is tied in with Amazon (though not as much or as well as it could be, to be honest). The fact that design-wise it is stuck in 2007 is maybe actually an asset these days?
At any rate, I’ve discovered nothing in the IndieWeb or decentralized offerings shared that I could ever hope to convince all or even a few of my contacts on Goodreads to adopt as an alternative to Goodreads. Even if there was something completely awesome I don’t know if I could do that; No one likes me that much to follow me to a whole new platform - it would have to sell itself.
So I’m going to post reading updates on my website so that I have them for myself, but I’m also going to continue to use Goodreads. I think I’m also going to continue to use Letterboxd for movies, and for now I’m continuing to scrobble all my listens to Last.fm. I can’t be a pure evangelist for the indieweb. For my website updates I may eventually figure out JSON or something to make them fancy or standardized, but for now I will just be typing things into markdown and html. That’s the origin and mode for a lot of what I do with this site, anyway.