Friday, 14 August 2020
Book Blogging vs. Booktoking Aka "Why Can't We All Just Get Along?"
If you're a regular on book twitter, you may have seen a bit of a fight between book bloggers and booktokers. Now for those of you who may be unfamiliar with the latter, booktok is a new branch of the popular video app Tik Tok. Users share short videos about anything book related. Since booktokers use the video format, there is often a great level of creativity that can be used, such as playing with different sounds and songs to put over the videos, different aesthetics, outfits, anything!
I've had to limit my use of Tik Tok lately because I was becoming a little too obsessed with it, but pretty much the only Tik Toks I watch are book-related ones. I mean, it makes sense, since reading is probably my biggest passion! So when I saw that book twitter and book bloggers were coming after booktokers, I was a little confused. After doing some digging and consulting a booktoker I know, I figured it was about time to discuss all the drama and see if we can find a happy medium.
The drama basically started with booktokers saying that book bloggers were old and that the medium of blogging is a dying art. Book bloggers retaliated by saying that booktokers do not work hard enough, and that their reading is unoriginal and not diverse. Now that last point, I have admittedly noticed on booktok. My cynical self really did look at someone recommending The Fault in Our Stars on booktok and I said: "what is this, 2012?" I do think that sometimes booktokers can be a bit behind on books that book bloggers have been talking about for years. But, if someone is enjoying a book for the very first time, no matter how old it is, is it really worth it to fault them for that?
I have personally been struggling to find some more diverse booktokers. A lot of white booktokers do recommend diverse books, but I do think there is a lack of POC on the site. Now this could be because booktok is still a very new and growing medium. They're not going to solve everything in a day. I can only hope that white booktokers create a greater platform for diversity.
In a way, I could get book bloggers' frustrations. Book bloggers work so hard to create attractive sites for people to follow. We work in a format that requires a lot of writing, and because we do not get that video aspect, we have to work twice as hard to make our work as visually appealing as possible. With all of these new social platforms that have been coming out such as bookstagram, booktube, and now booktok, book bloggers have been feeling a little underappreciated lately. It sucks that we don't get as much as the recognition as we used to. So, when a new platform such as book tok comes along, it makes sense that we would get a little territorial. It's almost like we want to say: "I've been in the book community for so long I deserve a senior's discount. Back of the line, sis!"
But, I wonder if there's any use in tearing a new platform down in order to make ourselves feel better. I feel like booktokers could learn a lot from us veterans, and similarly we could learn new innovative ways to grow our platform from them. Now the internet isn't perfect. With any online platform, there will be drama. But I don't think there's any point in automatically hating a new platform just because they're new. We could all learn something from each other. I hope we will.
And now to the interview portion of this post. My cousin Molly started book toking this year. I really wanted to get a booktoker's experience on the drama, and on the whole idea of booktok. So here are my questions, and her responses:
1. What drew you to tik tok as opposed to another platform to talk about books?