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.