10 Bookstagram Comment Fails You Should Never Commit
By Jennifer Lewis aka @bluestockingbookshelf
Like most things in my life, I have strong opinions about bookstagram comments. I’ve discovered so many friends (and enemies) in the bookish community completely based on the types of comments they leave. With that in mind, I’ve taken the liberty of typing up with this handy 10-part guide to failing at comments. A few of them are even tried and tested by yours truly.
1. Ask questions you can easily Google
I’m genuinely confused about this because it happens allll the time. There’s always someone wanting to know something. How many novels did Jane Austen write? When was that book published? What are French flaps? I’m not Siri. How is asking me a question like that faster or more accurate than looking it up yourself?
2. Comment without reading the caption
Make it a rule never to comment on a photo without reading the attached caption. I’ve said this before, but it’s just that important. This will save you from looking like an idiot by asking a question the person already answered in the caption. It will also save you from being that person who comments “Nice pic!” on a caption that’s all about someone who just lost their job or is struggling with depression. If you don’t have time to read an entire caption and you want to interact in some way, the “like” button exists for a reason.
3. Make demands
This is less “bookstagram etiquette” and more “things your parents should have taught you about being polite.” When someone leaves a comment on my photo losing their mind over a certain edition and insisting that I tell them the publisher immediately, I tend to ignore them on principle. If you can’t ask nicely, why should I bother to answer?
4. Leave generic comments
I’m still guilty of this one sometimes. When I want to interact with someone’s photo but I’m not sure what to say, I default to something like “Love this!” or “Great photo!” It’s nice to hear these things, but it’s also not very personal. When someone ONLY comments on my photos with emojis or 1-2 word praise, it’s obvious they went to minimal effort and responding to them is not a priority for me.
5. Make things uncomfortable AF
It’s sooo awkward when someone comments on my photos by talking about how jealous they are of my books. What am I supposed to say to that—thank you? I also see a lot of comments on bookstagram about money (AKA “How do you afford all of these books” or “You must be so rich!”) and YIKES YOU GUYS. Would you ask an acquaintance all about their financial situation if you were face-to-face? Probably not.
6. Shoutout-for-shoutout and/or Follow-for-follow
Do I even have to say this? Just no.
7. Promote yourself shamelessly.
The people who comment on my photos solely to ask me to read their books or visit their blog are my least favorite. They didn’t “like” my photo, they’re not following me, and they don’t say anything about my caption, but they have the nerve to ask for me to support them. How about I go ahead and block them instead?
8. Give unsolicited advice
I’ve lost track of the number of times a person has felt the need to tell me how to live my life. It usually happens in the form of aggressive book recommendations, but I’ve even had people leave advice about completely random things like Christmas decorations or MY MARRIAGE. Before I joined bookstagram, I had no idea how many unauthorized life coaches were floating around social media. Just because I’m putting something “out there” on social media, it doesn’t mean I’m inviting any and all criticism from complete strangers.
9. Use words like “actually” a lot
As soon as someone begins a comment with the word “actually,” I’m immediately on my guard because, more often than not, it’s followed up with something rude. The unfortunate thing about being a part of the literary community is the obsession many of us get with correcting each other. If you can’t leave a dissenting comment without being an insufferable know-it-all (Harry Potter reference FTW), better keep it to yourself.
10. “Like” mean comments
This is perhaps one of the most passive aggressive practices on bookstagram. Nothing says “I’m a coward” like pressing the heart button on another person’s rude comment because you’re too afraid to leave one yourself.
Most importantly, if you find yourself on the receiving end of nasty comments, remember that the options to delete comments or block people from your account were created to prevent trolling. If you are genuinely upset by a comment someone has left on your account, delete, block, and move on.
MORE BOOKSTAGRAM TIPS:
About the Author
Jennifer Lewis is an enthusiastic reader, blogger and book collector. When she's not taking photos of books, you will find her trying new restaurants, planning her next vacation, or playing with her rescue cat and dog.
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