October 21, 2020
by Jessie Stratton
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, dear Instagram… although we may not be celebrating many parties in-person this year because of our lovely virus friend, we can nonetheless congratulate Instagram on its 10th birthday, celebrated this month. If you’re thinking to yourself, Wow, already? I’m with you. Sprout Social reports that in 2019, the percentage of Instagram-users who are US adults rose from 35% to 37% and what with quarantine, it’s only likely that usage in 2020 has increased. Well, what are people doing with their newfound time?
Many people, myself included (guilty), have turned to Bookstagram this year. Booksta-what? You heard that correctly. Bookstagram is that one (cozy) corner of the interwebs where fantasy-addicts, artsy photographers, and bookish nerds alike can all congregate in unity. You may already have started judging those self-labeled individuals—Bookstagrammers—but I assure you, it’s actually a pretty cool place, should you find yourself visiting.
I created my account at the end of June. As a book-lover with an obsessive scrolling complex on Goodreads, I decided to make an account so as to not overwhelm my non-bookish friends with posts that they really could care less about. The result? Surprising companionship; an increased support of book publishing (indie, corporate, what have you); and a very, very, extensive, never-endingly long TBR list. Albeit corny as heck, I’ve connected with individuals from all over the world who care just as much about books as me. In addition to sharing photos of what you’re #currentlyreading, what’s on your #TBR list, and all other trends in publishing that make one feel warm and fuzzy and autumnal during this season, Bookstagram creates conversation.
While June brought with it much-needed reflection and transformation regarding white supremacy and supporting BIPOC businesses and individuals, Bookstagram rose to the challenge. Hashtags like #elevatemelanatedvoices, #BlackGirlsRead, and #DiversifyBookstagram blossomed, giving all of us bookish people a more equitable and correct mindset in choosing where we purchase books, who we follow, and why we need diversity in books. Bookstagram is a strange, but magical place—one where creative and stimulating conversation around books takes place all over a cup of coffee, or tea if you’re a UK Bookstagrammer (I’m serious). Just make sure to include your fluffy cat in photos to increase your following.
For an introduction to what Bookstagram looks like, check out a few of my friends here:
Jessie Stratton is an intern at Melville House.