Where the Wild Things Are
Investing resources on the text-based app that supports the conversations you want to have.
As we navigate the current social media climate, I think the most important question to ask ourselves is, “What conversations do I want to be having and with whom?” That’s it. The what, the why, and the who will inform the where.
As for me?
What: Horror books.
Why: To get the right book in the right reader’s hands.
Where: Instagram/Threads (Where the Wild Things Are)
I’ve been hanging out on Twitter because Threads didn’t exist. I’ve been having the “what” conversation during a lot of other noisy conversations with mostly the wrong “who”. Why? I didn’t have a viable alternative coupled with the impossibly hard-to-resist draw of having access to horror authors so I could tell them how much I loved their work. But they aren’t the “who”. Readers are my who.
It has been a whole week on Threads. (I pre-downloaded the app when it became available to do so and it went live Wednesday the 5th) Here are my observations:
The #bookstagram community ran to this text app, signed in, and began filling threads with excited, bookish discussions. I noticed people rushing to engage with each other on Threads do not and never had Twitter accounts. People who adamantly refused Twitter. It was like thousands of readers had been waiting for this opportunity to talk about books with their friends without the baggage other apps have weighing it down.
As it is right now, there are no private messages, ads, hashtags, or gifs and it is heavenly. I don’t know if any of that will change (I’m sure these things are coming) but at this moment in time, everyone seems to be enjoying the freedom to gab around the water cooler without all the clutter. Weren’t we all talking about books on our posts and through stories & reels? Yes and no. Instagram is photo/video content, not real-time text-based conversations.
A lot of vanity numbers and negative engagement tools are absent. This helps keep conversations focused and generally positive (for now)
We have been promised a way to just browse our curated feed made up of accounts we follow vs. the main feed filled with algorithm-based threads chosen for us. But already, my feed is filled with accounts I already follow and not much of what I don’t.
We have the ability to upload up to 10 photos with a side scroll. A very handy promotional tool. Writers and readers took to it right away. Readers share photo dumps of their recent book hauls and reviews; writers share writing samples or books they have available for purchase.
The ability to cross-promote between Instagram + Facebook + Threads is fucking insane. I can post a thread and share it with my IG stories. I can share an IG post to my threads. Everything can be auto-populated to Facebook.
There were 100+ million users on Threads within 5 days. BlueSky is at like 500,000 with only a million people or so on the waitlist. You have to have an invite to join.
On day 3 of Threads, I shared on BlueSky I wouldn’t be investing in it. There’s no way I’m going to start over building an audience from scratch on a beta site when Threads imports my existing audience and mutuals as soon as they join. It’s an automatic follow from one platform to the new one (I realize if you join Threads and don’t like it, you can’t delete it without deleting your Instagram. The tech team has announced they’re working on fixing that)
I had maybe 300+ followers on BlueSky in a month vs. 4.1K in the first week on Threads; engagement is high as well with so many people actively using it. BlueSky was crickets chirping in the night and there were very few readers. Again, the wrong “who” for me.
Let’s talk about the overlords. I don’t like either of these guys. They’re both gross.
Billionaires are weird. I’m not team “Zuck” or “Musk” and choosing one or the other platform is not about picking the “lesser of two evils”. Zuck & Musk are equally lame options. What I am choosing is which platform works for me and my text-based app needs. Musk is clearly forcing users to pay to play. That’s the end game. Twitter has changed, it’s not at all what it used to be and I never really liked it that much in the first place. Pay to play is a ‘no thanks’ for me. The juice isn’t worth the squeeze. I was already reducing my engagement with the platform. I was actively monitoring replacements and I was perfectly satisfied with Instagram as my home base—it always has been. I’ve had a dedicated bookish account there for several years. All of the major career uplifts in my life have been a result of the audience on Instagram. I co-own a curated, horror fiction subscription company, Night Worms with a bestie I met through #bookstagram. I’ve been invited to write for magazines, write a book, edit an anthology, and recently, two new business ventures that just happened this morning.
Finally and most importantly, I had an epiphany last night as a result of browsing my Threads feed and seeing nothing but bookworms, readers, books, books, and MORE books and feeling the joy rising up inside me…
…I AM A READER.
I’m not a WRITER.
I am a reader who writes about READING, not a writer who reads.
I want to be where my people are. I want to be where the primary conversations are about those rectangle-sized objects that show up on my doorstep every day. My own book for readers, 101 HORROR BOOKS TO READ BEFORE YOU’RE MURDERED is coming out in less than a month and I want to talk about horror with the people reading it like me. I love horror authors and I love staying connected with them, and I will. I’m not disappearing, I’m still in the connected universe of horror fiction, I’m just over HERE now.