I tend to be skeptical of new technologies, especially social networks since I keep myself pretty busy between Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But when I heard about Litsy I knew I had to try it.
Litsy is a social network especially for book lovers. It's like Instagram meets Goodreads meets Twitter. You can catalog your books, leave reviews, talk about books, and follow other peoples' reading. I know what you're thinking--it sounds just like Goodreads. But there are several key differences that make it so much better:
- Character limits on posts. Posts are limited to 300 characters, so there aren't any rambling book reviews. So in that way it's kind of like Twitter. You're forced to be concise, which I like. I don't want to have to scroll forever to see cool stuff.
- The rating system isn't the tradition star method. Where Goodreads asks users to post their rating of a book as one to five stars, Litsy's rating system is Like (denoted by the rock & roll hand symbol), So-So (denoted by the thumb out hitchhiker hand symbol), Pan (denoted by thumbs down), and Bail (denoted by an icon that shows a book attached to a parachute).
- You can add pictures, which is cool, but it's made even more cool by the fact that the bookstagrammers haven't caught on yet. Don't get me wrong, I love bookish Instagram, but my feed is saturated with pics that look pretty much the same: fairy lights, FunkoPop, crisp white bookshelves, tea mugs, Starbucks cups, and YA titles with bright neon covers. The photos are gorgeous, but once you follow five or so popular bookstagrammers, you start seeing a lot of the same things. What I like about Litsy is that the photos are all pretty natural--nothing too styled or "produced"-looking. It's just people who love books showing you what they're reading. And if photos aren't your thing, you can post an update without one.
- The app actually looks and functions like, well, an app. I've been a Goodreads user since, like, 2010, but I HATE their app. It basically is just a mobile version of their desktop site, which does not constitute an app. As such, the social aspect of the social media is lost. I gather that most Goodreads users are like me, just using it to catalog their books.
- It's legit for book nerds. Litsy is very new--I believe the app went live for iOS within the past two months, so everyone on it is a card-holding bibliophile. Having a social network around a particular interest means that, unlike social networks that everyone is on, you're more likely to meet your kind of people and make friends. I've already found a couple of people I really like and would totally want to hang out with in real life. Litsy's tagline is "where books make friends," which is appropriate. As a bibliophile, I love making friends with people who have similar reading tastes, or who just love reading as much as I do.
- It's simple. Litsy doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, which I like because it keeps the focus on the books. Unlike Goodreads, there aren't any groups/message boards, no private messaging, no lists, no voting on stuff, no recommendations, etc. It's literally just what people are reading. I like the simplicity, especially in app form (there's no desktop version anyway). I'm not going to abandon Goodreads, but in the event Amazon does things I don't like (because they own Goodreads), at least I'll have somewhere else to go.
- Litfluence. Litsy has gamified the experience because you get points every time someone likes your status or review, as well as when they add a book to their "stack," which is a way of indicating whether they have read or intend to read a particular book. I have a competitive streak, so I'm a big fan of Litfluence. Users' Litfluence is also broken down by how many books you've read, how many pages you've read, how many likes you've gotten to date, and how many book adds you've gotten to date.
In other words, there are a LOT of things I like about Litsy. Put simply, it's well done. It's the social network that I think book lovers have always wanted but didn't expect they'd get.
Right now it's only available for iOS, but they are in development for an Android version, so that should be available soon. To get started, you just download the Litsy app in the app store, create an account (which takes two seconds) and start talking about books. I'm super active on there, so you can find me by my full name or by searching my username, "OffTheBeatenShelf.com."