Top 5 Reasons I Prefer GoodReads to Facebook

I joined Facebook years ago — it was a new fad at the time and a fun way to keep in touch with friends. It has become somewhat of a monster since then. And so have some of the people using it. (More on that later). I joined GoodReads two years ago because I am a book lover and that site was the best of Facebook combined with a personal reading diary. Today, I use GoodReads almost everyday. I use Facebook about once a month, if even. On to the reasons why…

  1. GoodReads has a focus other than the individual – it connects people with books and with others who love books. I love books, so this works well for me.
  2. You can remain quite anonymous (if you choose) on GoodReads and still have a fantastic experience. In fact, you can be so anonymous that people never know who you are or where you’re from; a great thing if you are one of the many who do not want their personal information on the Internet. GoodReads also has all of the privacy settings available on other social sites if you decide you DO want to put up information, but just not for all to see.
  3. GoodReads is not about keeping up with the Joneses, it’s about loving books. Facebook has become a personal marketing site. Next time you’re on, notice how many of your “friends” are promoting themselves. Promoting themselves? Yes, Facebook has become the new way to keep up with the Joneses. Someone sees a status update stating: “Having the BEST day ever!” so they write, “Having the MOST INCREDIBLE day ever!” Only, they write it almost everyday (or possibly several times a day). Many, if not most, of my friends are guilty of this. I understand why, though. This competing for the most wonderful, outrageous life can make someone think that everyone else’s life is constant party while yours is normal crappy because not every day is “UTTERLY FANTASTIC!”
  4. I don’t have to worry about my pictures ending up on Google with GoodReads. People typically use pictures on GoodReads only as their profile picture, not to showcase the 1,000,000,000 pictures they have taken of themselves and all of their friends – like on Facebook. Therefore, I don’t have to worry about random pictures showing up of me on Google because of GoodReads. I do, however, have to worry about that on Facebook. Though I have zero pictures of myself on Facebook, I can google some of my friend’s names and pictures of ME show up. Yep… it’s true. Don’t believe me? I’ll wait, go check it out with your friends and see if you see your pretty little face there.
  5. GoodReads actually helps keep me in the know about something I love. Books. Admittedly, Facebook can keep people in the know. But, frankly, anyone who I am actually friends with I’m in the know about anyway via e-mail, phone, and real life interaction. And that’s the way I prefer it.
You may be asking why I am on Facebook if I feel this way. Good question; I ask myself this all the time. I have stripped my Facebook down to the bare minimum, and I keep it up because it does seem that it’s becoming as common as having an e-mail address. I’m pretty sure most, if not all, of us will eventually have a Facebook page. While at the beginning (again, years and years ago) it helped me find two long lost friends and get in touch. It has done nothing of that sort since. But I’ll keep it for now, while continuing to spend most of my social networking time on GoodReads instead.
What about you… are you a Facebook fan, or do you prefer to socialize via hobby sites or Twitter?
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61 thoughts on “Top 5 Reasons I Prefer GoodReads to Facebook

  1. I really don’t think the two services can be compared. Facebook isn’t about staying anonymous and keeping pictures off the internet, it is a way to connect with others. It’s entire purpose is to allow you to connect and share information with friends and family. GoodReads was created as a service to keep track of books and connect with book lovers – not people you know in real life but random people who like the same books. So I mean, I can see that you personally like one over the other but the comparisons don’t make sense to me!

    • I agree to some extent about Facebook — I think what you’ve said was part of the original purpose. Obviously it’s a social network, so it’s going to be social. But like with all cultural norms, the way people use Facebook is constantly changing. It’s quite a bit different than it used to be, and I imagine will continue to adapt as it grows. It’s strongly turning into a business platform as well as a social one, and with that will come a change in the game… including the kind of personal information that people post.

      GoodReads has made several small changes on its way to becoming more of a social networking site for book lovers. It happens to have a niche, but is still a social site where one can share as much information as they want, including pictures.

      I would also argue that there are plenty of people on Facebook who do not know all of their “friends,” and therefore connect with strangers (or rather people whom they don’t interact with in real life) on the site.

  2. Hi !

    I agree with you. In my opinion, a general social network isn’t interesting because you or your “friends” tend to post about anything & it’s a waste of time. In the contrary, specific social networks are dedicated to a special goal (sharing interests, creating professionnal connections, etc). And then, you really share something, your messages & comments make sense, you make discoveries &, as you say it, you speak about books (for example) & not about you (“me, myself & I”).
    Even if it’s my first comment on your blog (I’m French & I’m a bit lazy when I’ve got to write in english ;), your blog is in my Googlereader but I didn’t know you were on Goodreads. I’m there too & really appreciate this place. I haven’t a lot of “friends” but I appreciate to discover & exchange with people who, for example, are not following (or commenting) my blog. It’s another way to discuss about books, to find ideas (not that I haven’t… but it’s always exciting to discover unknown books !).
    And I share your pov concerning the personal datas !!! :o

    (sorry for this long comment with, I’m afraid of, lot of mistakes :S)

    • Thanks so much for reading (and stopping by)! You did a great job posting in English — I’m impressed as I can’t speak any other language fluently.

      Yes, I like the social interaction based on a mutual love (special goal)… that is a great way of putting it. It makes it much more interesting to me because you get to know the person via an avenue of shared interest.

  3. I’m with Amy on this one. I don’t see how FB and GR can be compared considering that both were invented for completely different purposes. FB is all about social networking – sharing info about yourself and learning your friend’s info – and that includes, pics, status updates, and blog updates, etc. GR is a forum to discuss books and also a way to keep track of your books and what you’ve read. The two are totally different and I can understand why you would choose GR over FB when it comes to books and privacy. At times I hate FB, too and I’m always on the verge of quitting, but then I’ll friend an old friend from school and keep on FBing. As for GR, its been a great way to chat with others about books. I haven’t checked the unputdownables group in a while, is it strictly read along now?

    • See my response to Amy… it might shed some light on why I think the comparison is valid.

      I think that any site that has you interacting with others is a social site. Therefore GoodReads is a social site. Blogs are also social sites (if the comments are open and available for discussion). I would argue that GoodReads is very much a social site unless you use it solely for updating your book shelves… and in that case I could (but I won’t) call Facebook a non-social site because I use it (pretty much) solely for e-mail. (And I’m with you on the back and forth of quitting but then seeing it’s value, as you know).

      The group is still there! Not solely for read-a-longs, but I found that it’s easier to have that as the book of the month.. the other convos are still happening though. Come visit me there. :)

  4. Sorry Wallace, I’m going to have to agree with Amy and Nadia on this one. I think the two sites serve two completely different purposes — while I totally understand your preference for spending more time on Goodreads, I don’t think it’s really a fair comparison. I agree that certain aspects of FB are annoying, but it has helped me connect with new and old friends in a meaningful way too.

    As a side note, I do think having an FB account is becoming like having an email account. As I told you through twitter yesterday I’ve picked up a few freelance writing jobs for an online publication. It’s interesting that in my writer’s contract I’m actually required to promote my articles through two online social media engines — this is the only reason I acquired a twitter account a few months back…now I like twitter better than FB (although they serve sort of different purposes too).

    Ahhhh, the era of social media is upon us!

    • No need to be sorry– I like the discussion! See my responses to Amy and Nadia — they may shed some light on why I think the comparison is valid. (As well as address the business aspect that you brought up).

      Of course Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, dating sites, etc. are different… otherwise they would go out of or lose business (ex. Friendster, MySpace, etc.). My argument is that they are all social sites and because they are different I am able to have a preference of one over another. Which basically just means I have a preference in the way I like to interact with others. No doubt they are all based on different aspects of our need to connect.

      BTW, I too like Twitter better than Facebook. :)

  5. I am just starting to get on the ball with Goodreads and Shelfari, etc., so Facebook has been my favorite part of socializing. Sadly, a lot of my family and friends aren’t avid readers (or readers at all), so I wouldn’t be interacting that way with them. And since everyone lives so far apart, Facebook has been the way to go. Now, to interact regarding books and other hobbies, I have really enjoyed Twitter this year since signing up. Twitter is the way to go for me – I love throwing a question out there and getting immediate feedback! Sort of like when I wasn’t sure which New York show to see this weekend – I got responses right away that my husband and I should see Wicked! Which we did, and I’m still thinking about it! The song at the end of Act I was Ah. May. Zing. :) Thanks for your recommendation to see that as well!

    • I agree — I like twitter better because of the continuing conversation that is acceptable to have on it in a way that can get annoying on Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, I think that FB can be very useful in a lot of ways. Especially if your whole family is on there as well as most of your friends. Also, if you’re someone who loves to share pictures and contact information — it is obviously a stellar way to go.

      Welcome to GoodReads… I love it (obviously). And I’m SO glad you loved the musical – it’s one of my faves. Yes… the song at the end of Act I always makes me teary! I have a friend who read the book and it just wasn’t the same without that incredibly music. ;)

  6. I am okay with FB for the most part when it comes to me, but lately I’ve been seeing it in an entirely new light because The Boy is on it and school is out and he is using it to hook-up with friends. The constant event invitations are bleeding my wallet dry. Meaning, he seems to want to go to ALL of them and if he doesn’t, he feels cheated or left out.

    The last three months he was grounded from FB for not bringing his grades up, and when he was offline, he didn’t have the sense of loss that he seems to be experiencing today as a result of being back online.

    He sees the status updates of his friends and instantly feels as if he has to be doing something just as wonderful. It’s sad really and we plan to have a long talk about it tonight.

    The flip side to all the “having a wonderful time” posts, are the contant complaints that some people post regularly. I think if you plan to use FB, you just need to know that it’s a constant process of adjusting your settings, deleting or filtering out certain posts, and setting your email notifications so you are not contstanly bombarded with stuff.

    • Exactly… thank goodness for those settings. :)

      I feel for your son (and you!). My friends and I often talk about how thankful we are that Facebook and texting didn’t exist when we were younger. I cannot imagine what middle school and high school would have been like with them. Yikes! I imagine the feeling of being left out can be extraordinary as well as all of the embarrassing pictures, comments, and such. Wow. And you are in the first group of people who are really having to navigate this as a parent — that must be SO stressful at times!

  7. Never had a Facebook, never will (except if required by a job, and so far that hasn’t happened. It would just be for work purposes if I did).

    I enjoy Twitter immensely because it it where I find out about interesting things. If it wasn’t for twitter telling me about when the Bronte blog updates, I would have never found out about the Villette read along, and might never have seen your blog! And that would have been very, very sad!

    I think I should look into Goodreads again… at the very least it will give me even more ideas about what books to get from PaperBack Swap (which I’m just insane over!) !

    • Yay for Twitter connecting us! Can you imagine if it didn’t? Who would add a splash of fun to my dusty old read-a-longs?

      I really think you should look at GoodReads again (sounds like you have in the past). There are so many great groups on there… I’d bet you can even find a tea lovers book lovin’ group! And if not, you can create one. :) *If you join, you must find me immediately.*

      So glad you’re loving PBS — it’s completely wonderful.

  8. I originally joined Facebook as another way of keeping in contact with my book blogging buddies. But it freaked me out when I started getting friend requests from people I was friends with in 6th grade, and distant not-quite family members, and co-workers that I don’t necessarily want to see outside of work. So I quit (and boy is it hard to quit FB…they don’t make it easy to shut down an account!). I joined again when my bookclub started a page, but I use an altenate email, so I’m not findable. I much prefer the anonymity, and interacting with a small group of people for a specific purpose.

    • Hahaha, I am SO like you. And I’ve heard it’s incredibly hard to completely quit FB… I’ve bookmarked an article about it in case I ever decide to. :)

    • You’ll find others through friends, or through your groups. If you have friends on the site, just ask them what their URL is, or see if you can find them through e-mail (there is a friend locator in the ‘Friends’ tab on the top of the page).

  9. I love this!

    I left Facebook about 2 years ago for my own reasons, but I can’t imagine ever leaving Goodreads. It’s so awesome.

    • I feel like I interact SO much more with people on GR and Twitter because those are the people who I use the Internet to interact with. Most (not all, of course) of my other friends and family I either see, e-mail, or talk on the phone to.

      Did we meet though Twitter or GR? I feel like it was through Twitter, but now you’re my late night GR friend. :)

      • I think it was Twitter. :)

        I know what you mean. I love Twitter and Goodreads so much. I think it’s because I mainly follow bookish people so I feel I have things I want to talk about with the mutual love of books. I never felt that way on Facebook.

  10. I did join goodreads but I’ve never used it, mostly because I am waaaay too lazy to do things like file my books or remember to update what I’m reading. However, I’m interested in the aspects of it that you like – the ability to connect with other people with the same interests as you, and I assume, in more than 140 characters. Twitter will always be my first love though :)
    I am glad you are back posting again – I hope this means the writings’s been going well?

    • I’m thinking I will be blogging a bit more about this since it seems to be an interesting discussion point. Would love to showcase what I love about it. But yes, I adore Twitter too!

      Writing had been going well. Haha. I need to get my schedule back in order. Also, I realize how much I reeeaaallly love my blog, so I need to find a balance and a way to give attention to both. Hard to do isn’t it?

  11. But I love goodreads…love it to pieces…love it whole heartedly…sorry…today is my day to be ebullient…I hope to God I spelled that right…

  12. Interesting discussion. I love how FB has connected me with friends I otherwise am not in touch with and their doings. Reading this discussion makes me realize though that I could be getting more out of Goodreads than just keeping track of my reading and reading others thoughts on books. Any tips Wallace?

  13. To me they are entirely separate entities. That being said, I am not a huge fan of FB and primarily use it to play time-sucking, mind-numbing games. I am not of the “me” generation, and I’m not particularly fond of this strange, narcissistic, self-creation pattern illustrated by FB.

    • Agreed, they’re definitely different. Don’t know if you got to read my replies to Amy or Nadia – I explained why I compared the two. How thankful are you that we aren’t teenagers in this era of FB, Twitter, and text?! I feel like I dodged a bullet!

  14. This is good to know as I have been seriously thinking of joining goodreads recently (assuming that librarything, of which I already belong, and this were the same). You are convincing me!

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  16. I definitely don’t use facebook as much as I used to, but I still get it on it a few times a week. I also use it to promote my blog (promoting, I know!!). I’m getting into twitter more- I don’t think I can handle more social media sites though, even though I absolutely LOVE books.

  17. You’re right about Facebook. There are friends I keep in touch with, but so much of it is marketing and I guess I’m guilty of that, too. I’ve heard of GoodReads and I may have even visited the site. I’ll have to take a second look now.

    I dropped by from the SITS site. Funny because today I wrote a post about the Internet and social media, as well.

    • Funny! I’ll have to go check out your post. Thanks for stopping by!

      If you’re interested in GoodReads, my post for today is about getting the most out of the site. Check it out if you need some help navigating. :) (Today’s Post:

  18. I’m not that crazy about facebook either. I joined GR a few years ago because I love reading, but I just don’t have that much time to interact everywhere I would like to (so it’s taken a back seat). As far as social networking sites go, my favorite is twitter – I love it.


    Michelle – #SITS31DBBB participant. ;)

  19. I too have stripped FB down to my real friends and family – I stopped caring about what my high school frinds were up to and it has become more personal and meaningful for me because of it. Now I check in once or twice a day and it doesn’t consume me. With that said, I do have a FB fan page for my blog, so the two serve different purposes and that side is about marketing what I do. As for good reads, I do have a GR account but I am less active on it. Mostly because I have lost time to read many books. Good post! Joining you from #31DBBB

  20. I have never heard of good reads and thanks to you, I just signed up. I am an avid reader and although I do love f/b :) I love to read MORE! This is a site created with people like me in mind! So glad I came across your post.

    ps good luck with SITS BBB, I am in it to win it too :)

  21. I’ve come across you site as part of the SITS 31 day program. I too haves issues with FB although I have found that by being vigilant about who I invite and who I accept invitations from I have a fairly intimate community of family and friends. Additionally now with the new security features you can select who can share and see what on your page, which is why I didn’t delete my account.

    Since I’m living in Sydney from Denver it is a great way for me to bridge my two lives a bit more easily as I get to see my friends and cousins kids grow up as well as continue to weave a tapestry of life with them.

    I’m an avid reader and haven’t heard of Good Reads so will definitely check it out! Being part of a Writer’s book club locally has been one of my bright spots as an expat. Perhaps this will be another way for me to connect with like-minded people. Thanks for sharing!

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  28. Facebook is a professional socialising site.Goodreads is more like a forum for people with interest in reading.To truly enjoy goodreads you need to be a avid reader.Facebook doesn’t have such a constraint.It gives a piece to everyone.Anyways I understand what you are trying to say.Nice article btw.

  29. I love the focus of Goodreads as well as the anonymity option. I also think the structure of the service and the folks behind it are, for lack of a better word, nicer. On FB, I often feel swept up in a kind of tidal wave of information that may end up anywhere, anytime. On GR I have more control, and the interactions are more interesting. By the way, Book Riot posts are among my faves on FB!

  30. Well I activated my account last week and there this new book on my timeline. I added quite a lot of books and I noticed how crappy the book copy and It’s kinda empty you know you, no reviews/discussions, totally empty. When it comes to books, Goodreads is the best.

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