The Role of Book Clubs in Promoting Reading in the Age of Social Media – For a long time now, reading has been one of the fundamental ways through which humans assimilate and process information passed across by one another. Through reading, we can learn new things, travel with our minds, and expand our understanding of our universe.
However, in recent years, the noble art of reading has been declining because people are turning away from books in favour of shorter, more easily digestible digital content, especially videos, and podcasts. This new development has put reading in direct competition with technology, yet technology may hold the key to resuscitating the dying art of reading through social media book clubs.
Are Book Clubs Relatively New?
Book clubs are not new; they have been around for well over a century. One of the earliest ones was reported to have been established in 1634 by a woman named Anne Hutchinson, who organised a women’s group that did a weekly study of sermons while onboard a ship headed to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Book clubs have gained renewed popularity thanks to social media, which has amplified the reader’s community and made book clubs easily accessible online. PIA’s article highlights that by the second half of 2020, 25% of Americans read more and were members of virtual book clubs consuming more audiobooks to avoid the constant news updates on TV during the pandemic.
What’s more? Celebrities and influencers leverage social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok to show their love for reading, promote books, entertain their fans, and grow virtual book clubs.
With this new dimension in outreach, more people from all ages and walks of life are participating in book clubs, posting reading lists, sharing reviews, and hosting discussions.
More than simply a desire to share a love of books, online book clubs provide several other benefits, which we will explore below.
Book clubs provide a supportive and accountable community for people of all ages and classes to read. Every book club has a reading schedule for its members, which may be weekly or monthly. This makes every member committed to reading as they hold one another accountable for achieving the targeted goal.
For instance, people who struggle to finish a book could join a book club and gain accountability from a partner. Knowing they have someone who holds them accountable motivates people to finish a book. A Stellapop article reveals that people are 95% more likely to succeed when they have an accountability partner.
Virtual book clubs have made social connections easier. Regardless of their physical location, people can virtually engage with one another in real time. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2021 shows that the use of Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok is popular amongst adults under 30. Various social media book discussions are on these platforms; thus, beyond providing readers with the opportunity to discuss works of literature and connect with others who’ve read their favourite books. Book clubs offer the opportunity for people to connect and socialise with like minds.
In return, the social connection inspires trust in their relationship, promotes their critical thinking and analytical ability, and brings about opinions sharing and better communication skills.
In conclusion, virtual book clubs do more than promote the reading culture amongst people; they provide an avenue for personal and intellectual growth and create social connections among people. All these contribute to developing the reader’s community.