The joy of anti-social media


The latest GoodReads newsletter is staring balefully out at me from my inbox, bolded and unread. Below it is an invite from a semi-friend to join them on LibraryThing. My Google Reader is stuffed with feeds from litblogs, and I've just finished synching my iPod with the latest Podularitypodcast. But at the end of the day I'll log off, pick up the dog-eared novel that was lent to me by an old, Facebook-phobic friend, put my phone on silent, shut my door, and read. Just as I always have.

Online book clubs such as GoodReads promise to "connect people through reading" and of course that's what social networks do: connect us, be it through a shared passion for reading, ponies, or the pre-1989 oeuvre of ELO. But unlike other activities where people collaborate online in real time – gaming, writing, filmmaking, designing, throwing virtual sheep – it's pretty difficult (and unsatisfactory) for a community to "share" the act of reading, unless you're Tweeting every time you turn a page, or lifestreaming a video of yourself curled in your chair.