What are we, but remnants of our old digital identities?

Hello. Today’s post is a bit different, just a quick break from book reviews to share some thoughts that have been on my mind lately.

I don’t know if anyone was a tidy teenager who kept track of all digital accounts and e-mails they owned alongside the corresponding passwords. I certainly wasn’t, and I deeply regret it.

As a millennial, my digital life began with my first Hotmail account in 2004 when I was eleven years old. To be honest, I can’t even remember the e-mail itself, though I’m pretty sure it contained the word “princess” somewhere in it. What I do remember is that I created my first blog shortly afterward using Windows Live Spaces, where I’d write entries as if they were my diary, only that they were public and everyone could read them. Yes, very cringy. In parallel, I came across Matmice and created my website. I remember the platform was targeted at kids and teens and allowed the users to connect with other kids around the world. My page used to have a pastel pink background and a ton of glitter gifs and images from DollzMania.

My curiosity for creating and customizing websites led me to set up another site using FreeWebs (now called Webs). It consisted of tons of dolphin pictures since this happened during my short era of sea obsession, where I even asked my parents to paint my room aquamarine. Having a dolphin website was not enough, and around 2006 I created a Xanga account. I’d dare say it was my first “real” blog, where I began writing book and film reviews and mixed them with ramblings of my personal life. I named the blog “Decoding Scribbles” and that name stuck with me when I later used it for my first Blogger site in 2009. By then, Xanga was long outdated, and Google’s Blogger became the home for my ramblings during the remainder of my teen years until 2011.

Continue reading “What are we, but remnants of our old digital identities?”

Bookstagram 101: How to become a Bookstagrammer

Hi there! Today’s post is a little different. I’ve been on bookstagram for a while now — almost 3 years already! What I love most about this community is the general kindness and easy connection. What a better conversation starter than book you share in common with someone else! I’m pretty sure if you start your bookstagram account, you’ll soon start making new friends.

Today I wanted to share some tips about the things I’ve learned these past few years. I gotta admit, the first year and a half I wasn’t as active, weeks could pass without me even logging in to my account. That changed on January 2020, when I decided I’d been on bookstagram long enough to start taking it more seriously, while still having fun.

Here are 5 tips to get started:

  1. Choose your handle: It doesn’t necessarily have to be book-related, but it helps if it does. You could include your name to help others identify you (e.g. Amy’s Bookshelf). But if you want to stay anonymous that’s completely fine too. I’d suggest going for a name that’s easy to pronounce/remember. While coming up with a name, keep in mind that are opportunities for becoming a book influencer or building a personal brand later on. So how would you want to be remembered?
  2. Select a profile picture: I’ve personally struggled with this one. Deciding between a logo or a photograph can be tough. I’d recommend going for a logo if your vision is more on brand-building, perhaps opening up a book-related business or bookclub — it’s also useful if you want to remain anonymous. A photograph of yourself can generate more connection with potential followers, people are curious and always want to see the person behind the account. However, if you’re a bit shy or simply don’t want to go through the process of creating a logo, a picture of books will work just fine! Or in my case, I have a picture of myself holding a book, but my face isn’t entirely visible — many bookstagrammers do this too.
  3. Pick a theme (or not!): You might be thinking “we’re in 2021, themes are so 2016“. Yes, and no. Keep in mind that bookstagram is a visual place, the accounts with the nicest aesthetics are the ones who generally have more followers. You can play around with different editing apps and use a theme to communicate your reading preferences (e.g. dark academia lovers tend to share somber pictures). But if you rather not do this, that is okay! Not everything is about the aesthetics.
  4. Find your niche: Which leads me to this point, it’s useful to determine the type of content you’ll be sharing. Some accounts focus more on photography and briefly discuss books. Other accounts focus more on sharing reviews. You can also concentrate on sharing certain genres of books only — such as YA novels or classic literature. It’s up to you to decide how narrow or wide you keep your content.
  5. Experiment: Nothing is written in stone. Trends shift over time and so does Instagram’s algorithm. Don’t be afraid to start. Share pictures, connect with other fellow readers and along the way you can determine if you’ll be sticking to a theme or switching it up later. Just be you.

Last but not least, a bonus tip: share often. If you want your bookstagram platform to grow, it’s important to be posting often (2 – 3 times per week), sharing stories and engaging with other accounts. And if you’re curious about statistics, switch up to a professional account. You’ll have access to data that can help you see what’s working and what’s not.

So are you ready to start your bookstagram adventure?

For any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via the Contact form or send me a DM on Instagram. ‘Til next time!