I voted -- did you?by Antof9
April 19, 2005
I felt compelled to write a comment when I voted for BookCrossing to win a
Webby award (or two) today. Why? Because BC was nominated in two categories: Community and Social/Networking. And you know what? That's what BookCrossing is to me.
I hardly even need to say that BookCrossing is obviously an amazing site for booklovers. It's also a fabulous place for literacy promotion, "making the whole world a library", etc. From a philanthropic, better-your-world perspective, it would be hard to find one better. I've read more books, been exposed to new authors, and have a bunch more waiting on the TBR since finding BookCrossing. But the reason I'd vote for BookCrossing in the two categories for which it is nominated is this:
I live in a white bread suburb in the heart of the U.S., where most of the houses look similar, and even more of the people do. We joke that in our neighborhood, even the "alternate lifestyle" couple is white! Spending the majority of my days with people who look, talk, think and in general are similar to myself is my own personal idea of Hell. BookCrossing (and in particular the forums on the site) has broadened my horizons immensely. I have friends all over the world because of BC. Beyond friendships, I can ask them questions about beliefs, foods, and what sights to see in a specific city anywhere in the world (chances are I'll meet a few BookCrossers there, too!). I have learned and continue to learn things beyond my own little world from the community of BookCrossing. I have liberal and conservative friends there, friends in Holland and Malaysia, gay, straight and "other", and friends from Australia who are up in the middle of the night my time. I could go on and on, but you probably get my point :)
All that to say, the BookCrossing site really is a community. A community of people who were initially drawn in by their love of books. And who stayed for so much more.
And, because it really is a community, there are days when I wish my neighbor would shovel their sidewalk quicker after a storm, or turn down their music, or not try to ride my wireless network. But these are problems that can be worked out, and do. If anyone has seen something they don't like on the site, they should keep looking. They'll probably see the rest of the community taking out the trash for the old ladies, walking each other's dogs while we're on vacation, mowing lawns for the single mom, and taking a dinner to someone who's grieving. That's how a community works, and BookCrossing has the same attributes -- just in cyberspace.
The forums really are a community, and they really do provide a social network for many of us. A network of people outside the little corner of physical space we occupy in our world. And for that, I think BC should win an award. Or two.