Monday, July 28, 2008

Your Opinion, Please

On a regular basis, I get invitations to "friend" someone on various social networking sites such as MySpace, LinkedIn and FaceBook, or library sharing sites like GoodReads and Shelfari. Also, every once in a while, my analytics program will pick up referrals from SF/F forums such as SFFWorld, Fantasy BookSpot and WotMania.

I realize I'm probably missing out by not participating in these communities. I'd love to frequent them all, but I am only be able to visit each type of site two or three times a week. Therefore, I'd like your recommendations. Which is the best:

  • Social networking site?
  • Library sharing site?
  • SF/F forum?
And why? Thanks!


CaroleMcDonnell said...

The best social networking sites for a spec reviewer who is also a writer are:

I belong to facebook, myspace, aboygoesonajourney, shelfari, and librarything but haven't really explored them. So I don't really benefit from them like others do. They aren't particularly intrusive, though. One belongs, one gets email every once in a while

But I also belong to some specialized sites.
(for black folks)

and for Christian folks

Plus there are the yahoo groups I belong to. Pretty much the stuff that keeps me connected to other writers and specfic folks are google reader and wonderlands. Once I have someone in my google reader it reminds me to look at blogs I like and comment once in a while. And the wonderlands and blacksciencefictionsociety nings are good at also pretty fun. -C

viviena said...

The three biggest library sharing sites (LibraryThing, GoodReads, Shelfari) have distinct functionalities from each other.

LibraryThing has a limit of 200 books on a free account ($25 donation for lifetime membership). It's great if you have a lot of books, and tend to be rather pedantic about book details and organisation. IMHO, strengths are the number of sources it has available for adding books and its Early Reviewer programme, where LT members can register their interest with publishers for soon-to-be-released books in return for blog reviews.

I just released that you might already be a member of LT, but I can't be bothered erasing the above. =) Anyway, LT is my favourite, though it can be fairly complex to use (and it doesn't look at pretty as the others).

GoodReads is also an excellent site. It's not as good a choice as LT when it comes to cataloguing books, but it does have more of an emphasis on the social aspects of book-reading. I also use this.

I've had bad experiences with Shelfari, but others seem to like it. It does have the most appealing presentation of 'book-shelves' out of all three.

Scott Marlowe said...

@CaroleMcDonnell I'll check out wonderlands. Thanks for the tip.

I'm currently into Twitter the most. I have a MySpace page, but I don't frequent MySpace much cause most pages are way, way too busy. I like Facebook in that regard, but beyond having an acct I haven't done much on their platform.

I have been looking for a library site, though, so I think I'll be checking out some of those mentioned.

I suppose commenting on blogs is a sort of social platform. I comment here and there and generate traffic/form relationships that way as well.

Neth said...

IMO, the best discussion board for books these days is the literature board at Westeros -

I also enjoy the boards at wotmania OF, fantasybookspot, and SFF World.

As for social networking - I'm not big on the librarything and goodreads type of places. I have myspace and facebook accounts, but don't utilize them. Stephen Hunt of SF Crowsnest fame and books such as The Court of the Air has just set up a SFF-themed social network site that is still in its infancy call Hive Mind -

For my money, forums are the place to be and you can't get better than the literature board at Westeros.

Maria Zannini said...

I belong to MySpace and Linked In, but I do very little there. Basically, they're placeholders in case someone is interested in my profile. It leads them back to my website and blog.

I've gotten more traffic from MySpace than anywhere else though, and an old high school friend even found me through MySpace, so it definitely has potential for reaching a wider audience than the crowd I usually hang around with.

I haven't tried GoodReads yet, but I've heard many good things about it, so that's probably next on my list to try.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have a love/hate relationship with MySpace. It's hard to dress up the page, and I really hate all the ads, but once it's up, it's easy to maintain.

For what it's worth, here's the MySpace page.

All I did was use one of the many free templates available.

My favorite form of networking is still the Yahoo forums. I might not participate as much as I should, but I definitely get a lot of useful industry information.

I also seem to form longer lasting relationships with the people I meet on forums than I have on any other site.

Tia Nevitt said...

Thanks for all the suggestions!

I have found blogging to be the most successful form of social networking that I've experienced, but knew you guys would know of some things I never even heard of. And I was right.

Kristen said...

For forums, I like and wotmania. I think westeros has the best discussion of any forum I've seen and wotmania has the friendliest community. I've started lurking on fantasybookspot as well, which is also a decent forum.

I use both librarything and goodreads and enjoy them both for different reasons. Librarything lets me be anal about my books - I can record when I got them, when I started and finished them, choose the cover I have and upload my cover image if it's not available. As Viviena mentioned it is only free for the first 200 books but after that you can pay either $10 a year or $25 for a lifetime membership to add unlimited books. I think it's worth the membership. The Early Reviewers program is also a plus - I got my copy of Last Dragon through it and found out a couple of days ago I'll be getting Paul Kearney's The Ten Thousand too.

Librarything also allows you to tag your books and it has widgets that allow you to put random books from your library or books with certain tags on your blog (that's what I always use for the what I'm reading/random books from my library sections).

Goodreads is completely free but not quite as detailed. It also has blog widgets, but I prefer the ones on Librarything for the most part since they're cleaner and don't use Flash (although I do use their widget for showing random books in your library marked 'to-read'). I do really like the ease with which you can keep track of the books you have yet to read and find adding new books to my to-read list a fun part of getting books. Goodreads is the place I go when I need to figure out what I want to read next.

Goodreads is also better for social networking than Librarything is. You can see what your friends are reading and any books they've rated or reviewed, which is fun as well.

I haven't tried Shelfari since I already love both Goodreads and Librarything (as I'm sure you can tell since I went on and on about them).

Kimber An said...

Me dunno, just don't spread yourself too thin.