Snobbery on Goodreads

I am always looking to expand my circle of friends on goodreads,as I reckon that I will discover some great books through them.As a matter of fact,those who are friends with me on both goodreads and wordpress may have noticed that I occasionally like their reading statuses and add books they have read or are currently reading in my wish list.Isn’t that the whole point of goodreads anyway? Sharing your love of reading with people on a platform meant to be a community?

Recently,after noticing some similarities between the books we read,I sent a request to three people – who curiously happen to be women and self-proclaimed feminists (like really) – and to my surprise,I had to explain why I was adding them.For two of them,I had to elaborate on why I was interested in adding them while for the other one,I had to tell her about the latest book I rated five stars and the reasons leading me to do so.If I did respond to the first question,the second however seemed a bit over the top for me.

In hindsight I should not have responded to any of these questions,for I felt I was being judged.Some ordinary people who accord themselves way too much importance will assess whether or not I should be in their friend lists…on goodreads? When I read what they wrote in their introductory boxes,I noticed all the ”Do not add me if…”, ”I will not add you if…”, ”I only want to be friend with…”.They are not compelled to be friends with anybody,but their choosing their friends according to a list of superficial criteria (they will only add those who write reviews or those who are frequently involved in discussions,for example) is proof enough that they wish to be in a sparse circle,in a sort of elite.For instance,I do not understand what striking difference there is between a person who posts reviews and another who merely rates books,yet these women state clearly that they will axe the latter. What wrong did these reviewers – the ones who rate – do to be left out? I do not care about being in their friend lists,but it bugs me that some people will always find a way to demean others,so as to feel superior.

I cannot help but think that such individuals take goodreads,and themselves,for that matter,way too seriously.They are always arguing with others over differences in opinions and striving to be part of an intellectual community with their selectivity.What they have not realised is that in trying too hard,they have turned deluded.With their aim to be regarded as authorities,they are countering all the good effects of literature and with their snobbishness,have gone back to square one.

For literature is not only about the acquisition of knowledge and maturity.It is also about sharing knowledge with people.I doubt that Borges,Camus or Sartre ever wished that their works were only accessible to a certain group of people.Books are read for joy and progress,and the essence of both is sharing.It is such a shame that some persons have lost sight of this fact.As the saying goes,”Those who think they know everything know nothing.”


8 thoughts on “Snobbery on Goodreads”

  1. This is of course very true. Not only of Goodreads but in general. It’s hard not to be judgemental though — I have troubles with managing this vice myself 😦 On the other hand, I don’t insist on being friends with people only if … they love cats 🙂 But it would be my pet peeve, if I had to choose one!

    1. I agree,being judgemental is part of the human instinct.
      However there are cases where we just have to keep our judgements to ourselves and instead,look to share things with others.That’s what everyone was supposed to do on goodreads,which,if all users decided upon becoming snobs,would be totally useless and wouldn’t be worth a penny!
      As I said,I don’t care about being accepted by them.I’m just annoyed that they are being too selective in a place meant to be community! This reminds of a rich girl at primary school who would only play with other rich kids and would look down on others!

      And I wouldn’t have had the same opinion of these people if they were on Facebook,for unlike goodreads,FB is a social networking site,not an online community.
      I guess you know what the word ‘community’ connotes.

  2. Totally agree. Being part of an ‘intellectual’ community is participating in the real book community. I understand what you’re saying about creating an ‘elite’. Thing is, people will do this regardless of being on goodreads or not… everyone wants to create their own perfect world, or if they don’t have that chance, they want nothing to do with reality. Frankly, they’re really missing out on us awesome people! 😀

    1. Haha,totally!
      But it’s still sad that people will try to stand out by demeaning others…
      I’m very glad that you got my point,as this means that this sort of elitism is not something I fabricated in my own mind. 🙂

  3. I have also turned away from answering Goodreads “friending” questions, unless I know the person personally. I feel too judged as well. I do love seeing other people’s books and I’ve certainly got a great amount of recommendations! It’s also saved me when I’ve been considering buying a book and someone I respect has given it a bad rap! This whole elitism thing is going on in booktube as well, I think it will happen anywhere. There is the top dogs and then the rest of us- at least the rest of us are the awesome people!

    1. I feel exactly like you and I’m always enthusiastic when it comes to discovering new bookworms and what they’re reading.So it’s a great shame to sometimes stumble upon the ‘top dogs’…

  4. You are almost scaring me away from Goodreads haha. Hope I am not the snobby ones 😀
    I think ”Do not add me if…”, ”I will not add you if…”, ”I only want to be friend with…” is kind of…ridiculous. I think reading is rare so why not too befriend all the fellow readers. I like also to read recommendations/see ratings of others because all books are not everywhere, like in libraries.
    For me Goodreads remains a bit odd place, I think I only ever discovered it because of the quotes. Otherwise as fantasy lover I always used Risingshadow.

    1. Goodreads is a great site.
      Whenever you see a book someone else is reading you can add it instantly in your wishlist.
      Also its database is very impressive,which means even the least known books are recorded there! I remember browsing through a list of little-known self help books,and when I looked for them on goodreads,I found them all!
      It’s also a great site to discover new books,as you might have seen.
      The only problem is those people who think too highly of themselves and won’t add you on the basis that you’re not engaged enough in discussions,etc.But as long as you can ignore them,then goodreads is perfect!

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