Between a Rock and a Hard Place

As Goodreads grows up, it can’t please everyone. Should it try?

This article concerns Goodreads, a site that I often describe to people as “Facebook for book lovers.”  I first heard of this site through a friend who was also in the book publishing field.  I found that it really filled a need.  After reading a good book, I often have the desire to discuss it with someone.  But that is harder than it sounds because most of the time, my friends and I do not have the same tastes in books.  I have gotten into the habit of posting a review of most books I read a few days after finishing them.

One day, after posting a review, I received a “Friend” request from the author of the book I reviewed!  I was shocked because I didn’t realize that authors were also on this site.  I felt honored to receive such a request from her because I loved her story, and I took that opportunity to send her a message and tell her privately.

My experience was good, yet I see how this can cause a problem. As Goodreads grows in popularity, two communities are forming: readers and authors.  It would seem like these two groups have a lot in common, but in reality, maybe they can also be at odds with each other.

I often see extremely negative reviews on Goodreads.  It seems like some people are just out to be mean.  If I was an author, I don’t know if I would want to be on Goodreads.    Yes, as an author, one must be able to accept criticism, but some people, I believe, are guilty of the the on-line version of “road rage.”  I think as an author this could have very negative effects on career, creativity, etc.

Goodreads, according to the article, is taking steps to minimize these issues by deleting certain content.  Users are now afraid that what they post is not going to be safe from being randomly deleted.

We have discussed in class how various social network sites have come and gone over they years due to some of these same issues.  The downfall of MySpace was due to opposing communities  and Friendster faced losing the trust of its users.

Hopefully, Goodreads can learn from others mistakes and come out on top of this situation.

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