Good Bye to Weekly Geeks…Thinking about Community

This is the final week of the meme Weekly Geeks. It feels bittersweet to me because I am one of the “older” book bloggers, and I knew Dewey who started this meme (along with several other, very popular events). When Dewey died in 2008, it was a shock. She was one of those people who seemed to be everywhere at once…the consummate community builder. I still miss her.

I joined up with some other bloggers to keep Weekly Geeks going in her absence. It has had a good run, but with attendance down, it became apparent that it had run its course. I am okay with that – although, it feels like I am saying good-bye all over again to my friend, Dewey.

Florinda has written a terrific post about the changes in the book blogging community and it got me thinking about how different it is in 2011 than it was way back in 2008. There was a time when I was familiar with most of the book blogs. I subscribed to them and read their posts daily. Somewhere along the line, I realized that I could no longer keep up. My Google Reader became overwhelmed, often showing more than a thousand unread posts. I had to make the tough decision to unsubscribe to some blogs and stop adding new blogs to my reader with very few exceptions. Our tiny community was no longer a “small town” but more like a large city.

There are, of course, some good things about that – book bloggers have carved out a niche in the book publishing industry, we’re an important part of marketing and education, and we wield a bit of power now. But, on the downside, we have splintered into more specialized groups and sometimes we feel more like a mouthpiece for the publishers than individual voices. It feels like every month there is something new and it is harder and harder to keep on top of all the changes.

Change is hard. Those who can roll with the changes and adapt continue to maintain their blogs year in and year out. I have a feeling Dewey would have been one of those bloggers who embraced the changing environment while trying to keep the connections alive. She would have wanted us to hold onto our individual voices while joining together as a community. I try to imagine what new event she would have initiated to accomplish those goals. Because, I know she would have come up with something – that is just who she was…

Book Blogger Appreciation Week is fast approaching and it is an opportunity for book bloggers to set aside their differences and celebrate their common goals. It is a chance to pat each other on the back a little, thank those who have helped us along the way, and take stock in our community. I love this event as I love other community events which open their doors to everyone regardless of genre, size or popularity. I believe we need to be involved in these kinds of celebrations as a reminder that no matter how large we become, we are still connected by our love of literature in all its myriad forms.

Sometimes a big city can still feel like a small town if we remember that it is individuals who make up a community – people with families, pets, lives lived away from the Internet; people who grieve and celebrate; people who volunteer, help a stranger, or provide care for a friend. Dewey understood this maybe more than anyone – it is why so many bloggers flocked to her blog and joined her events.

Yes, things change, but some things stay the same…and that is a good thing.

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  1. Florinda’s post and the end of weekly geeks has made me feel a little sad and nostalgic too – things have changed a lot since Dewey’s death. I used to have a lot of interaction with bloggers in other genres, but people seem to be getting more insular all the time. Cliques are forming and it is impossible to know who is influential in each area. I guess we just have to accept the changes and make the most of what we have. Bloggers are still a wonderful bunch of people. 🙂

    • Serena on August 30, 2011 at 10:22

    What a fantastic goodbye. I’ve read both posts, but I’m still sad to see Weekly Geeks go since I started participating again.

  2. I think you’re right – Dewey would have been rolling along with our changing community and trying new ways to bring bloggers together. I miss her too…and I miss the way things were when she was with us. But time marches on. There are other link-up, community-building memes now, and I think that some of them have drawn in newer bloggers who didn’t know Dewey and didn’t have that connection to Weekly Geeks.

    Thanks for linking to my post, Wendy!

  3. Everyone is posting such heartfelt, incredible posts on this, today. Thank you to you and everyone else for all that you do to keep the book blogging community alive and well. <3

  4. What a great post! I remember when Dewey started Weekly Geeks and I definitely agree with what you said about how she would have embraced all these changes. Yes, the community has changed quite a bit, but there are great aspects to those changes. I’ve met new blogging friends even recently that I know weren’t around back when I started, and I’m so thankful for those friendships. While the community has grown a lot and expanded, it’s important to keep in mind that we can still keep our connections with one another just as strong as before.

  5. Dewey was so great at bringing us all together. The book blogging community is so big now. There was a time when I thought I at least knew who everyone was even if I didn’t visit all the blogs regularly. Recently, I came across a book blog list and I didn’t know one name on it! I felt out of the loop. Oh well, I’m happy to have my own little part of it all.

  6. I never really knew Dewey, but knew of her incredible contributions to the community, and knew of all the people who called her a friend. I was saddened to hear that she had passed away, and was in awe of those bloggers who kept her alive through their continuations of her traditions. I am sad to see weekly geeks go, and even though I didn’t participate, I have answered a lot of questions and gotten a lot of enjoyment out of it. I also agree that the blogging community has changed. I have been doing this for about 4 and a half years now, but much of that time I was not connected to the community like others were. I was sort of doing it in a vacuum. But it was easy to see that there were real relationships and connections being made. The blogging community just seems so much bigger nowadays, and even if you wanted to follow and know everyone else, there is not enough time in a day to do that. I am not lamenting the changes, because like life, things continually evolve, but I do have a ot of nostalgia for the days of the past.

    • Suey on August 31, 2011 at 13:42

    An amazing tribute, both here and on the Geek site. Awesome job. It’s making me sad!! 🙁 I said the same thing, that it feels like saying good bye to her all over again. But now you’ve got me thinking… what new thing would she have come up with by now? I wonder. Well anyway, here’s to the changes and to book bloggers every where.

  7. Has it really been almost 3 years since Dewey passed away?!?! I can’t get over how the years are flying by. I missed my 5th blogiversary last February and was going to post a belated entry, but the time got away from me. Maybe I should prepare a draft for #6!

    I agree that the blogging community has changed quite a bit since we first started out and while I try to keep up with a lot of blogs, I stick mainly to those I knew in those early days. I just don’t have time to add more to my blog roll/Google Reads and I like the sense of community we “old-timers” have created. I guess I’m a small town girl, at heart. And I’m glad you’re a part of it. Beautiful post, Wendy.

  8. I started my blog in 2008 when I was taking a long break from work. I had more time then so thought that was why now it seems overwhelming to try and keep up with everything but I think the community is so big now that it is hard to stay in touch as much and now we have Twitter to contend with too! All that being said I didn’t know Dewey but feel sure, based on what those of you who did know her tell me, that she would have found a way to bring us all together again. I think you are quite right that the BBAW is a good place to start!

    • Wendy on September 12, 2011 at 07:22

    I am really late responding to all of you – my apologies!!!

    Jackie: I know what you mean – it is harder to follow blogs outside one’s genre just because of the sheer volume of them! But, despite our growth, there is still a lot of community here.

    Serena: I know – it was a tough, bittersweet decision to end things.

    Florinda: Yes – there is constant growth! And I do love to see all the new faces, even though it is getting harder to keep up with all of them!!!!

    Pam: Aw, thanks for such a sweet comment! Right back atcha!

    Heather: I agree – I have met new people too … individuals who I am SO glad to have met and would not have had the opportunity if not for this community.

    Chris: *laughs* I know what you mean!

    Heather: Well said – and I agree. I don’t dislike the change, but I sometimes miss the days when everyone knew everyone and it felt like a “small town.” Despite that, the growth is a good thing in many ways…it just makes it more challenging to keep connections feeling intimate.

    Suey: I wish Dewey could drop in for a day and give us some ideas of new ways to unite this ever-increasing community!!!

    Les: Thank you for such a nice comment – I’m glad you are part of this community too!!! It is hard to embrace all the growth sometimes, but then, at other times, I see the beauty in it.

    Kathleen: The BBAW is a terrific event…and I think it is a reminder to keep those connections. I hardly go on Twitter because it completely overwhelms me!!!

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