Superlibrarian wrote a really good post on the fracturing of the Romland online community last week, and Sunita followed it up with a second post. I don’t have anything material to add to their posts or the thoughtful comments.
Both posts made me think about my participation in the community online over the last several years. (Dear godlings, I just checked my archive, I’ve been blogging intermittently since 2005…I am a crone in internet years.) Some very thoughtful reader-bloggers have come and gone as I’ve stood on the sidelines. (I hope they left in good health and are doing well in real life, and just left Romland as their interest/time waned, but don’t always know.) Other bloggers, like Superlibrarian and Rosario, just keep reviewing with a consistency that I find amazing. AAR went from being Laurie Gold’s to not. ATBF changed its board/commenting. Authors had message boards that got closed down due to flame wars. First the big blog platforms were LiveJournal and Blogger, and then it was WordPress.
Later came other platforms and social media, both of which integrated marketing and selling to a degree that was much more obtrusive than earlier platforms, IMO. GoodReads never felt particularly welcoming to me, so I didn’t join the migration there. Amazon boards felt like a free-for-all when I visited, so I clicked back as fast as I could. I used to be much more active on Twitter, but have mostly let that go over the last year or so; all the romance Twitter-folk I followed seem to RT a lot of promotional material that I just was not interested in. For all the community noise about DA and SB being reader-blogs, I’ve felt like they were author (SB) or industry (DA & SB) blogs for a long time now, well before the Jen/Jane brouhaha.
My impatience with the constant promotion on social media corresponded with a giant reading slump. Add in a market shift to subgenres I’m not interested in, and a marked drop in editorial values across the board, especially noticeable in self-published work? Well, I’ll find some other entertainment, thanks but no thanks.
I’m spending probably the same amount of leisure time online…but it’s less likely to be in Romland spaces. Instead it is in fandom spaces. Someone getting the geography of Pittsburgh slightly wrong in a 100k fic might make me roll my eyes, but doesn’t make me want to bang my head on my e-reader the way a content or continuity error like that in a boutique-pubbed $8.99 ebook will. (And that kind of things is *definitely* out there; it’s the reason I delete samples and return books.)
I’ve sort of lost the thread at this point. Which means it’s a good thing I am posting this on my own blog, where I can be self-indulgent, rather than wasting comment space on Superlibrarian’s or Sunita’s blog.