Tuesday, April 8, 2008

LibraryThing: A Social Network You Should Join

LibraryThing is a social networking site with an actual purpose - one that goes above and beyond simply meeting others.

This is one of the most brilliant concepts to have hit the Web in years - maybe ever - when you sit right down and think about it, and is really what the Web is supposed to be about. Far from just another social networking site, LibraryThing is part social network, part resource, part organizational tool; it allows you to catalogue your library with as few or as many details as you choose (or have time to include), review your books, read what others have to say about them, see who else owns the same books and is interested in the same topics, start/join discussions, and more. Further, once you have joined, you can show others what books are in your library (see sidebar) and tie it to your Amazon affiliate link, if you have one, and they even have an advance reviewer section where you can sign up to receive and review books before they hit the shelves!

I went there today to check the advance reviews section and add a few of the new books I received yesterday and got caught-up maintaining tags, which I didn't really bother to think about when I first added them. My tag cloud is a complete mess - you can't find anything.

While there are imitators - some quite good, in fact - I'm pretty sure LibraryThing was among the very first of its kind, although why it took so long for anyone to come up with this brilliant idea is beyond me. Of course, I didn't come up with it either, so what can I say? This really gets to the heart of what the Web was always supposed to be: LibraryThing is a specialized community aimed at a specific type of user which offers a host of tools and resources said user would be interested in. And even if it had advertising (it currently does not), I wouldn't mind one bit, because it is such a robust, useful site that I would gladly deal with banner ads and the like just to stay involved.

And while other social networking sites have similar "clubs," "groups," and so forth, LibraryThing is completely dedicated to us: readers, bibliophiles, librarians, writers, and others who are interested in the written word. You aren't going to get a bunch of spam telling "u how HOT u R," or invites from bands you've never heard of and shit like that, because morons like those aren't interested in a site like LibraryThing.

Whether you're a writer or just a reader, I highly recommend joining and getting involved. A site like this is destined to become a real portal in days to come - and if enough of us contribute, we can hopefully keep it from being absorbed by a larger, inferior one!

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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