I’ve been attempting to be a bit more sociable lately, with some success.
As followers of my blog will know, I joined a book group earlier this year, which is fun and gets me out of the house. However, it made me realise one thing, I miss discussing books with people. Years ago I worked in a book shop, and one of the main things I loved about that job was talking about books to people: customers, staff, new authors, delivery people, I loved it!!
I’ve never been much for online discussions of books, as there is a breed of people out there who don’t like anybody else’s opinion but their own; for instance, (if you’re reading this you may have already read my review on our February Book club read ‘The Pisces’, that was quite a divisive book, some liked it and some really hated it) In a book club you can say “I didn’t like the character of Theo as I thought him a bit weak” and you may get a response of “Really? I thought he was very psychologically controlling”
In forums however the response is more likely to be a 12 page rant about how wrong you are and that you should just give up reading altogether as you obviously don’t understand what authors are trying to get across.
So, despite my phobia of these ‘trolls’, I’ve been increasing my online presence as well, joining a few communities, and through all this dabbling I discovered a website called ‘Smashbomb’. It’s elevator pitch is this: “Smashbomb is a social platform that lets you research and discover new things through recommendations from your friends, influencers, experts, and heroes.”
That is, exactly what it is. It is essentially a site for lovers of all things. It is a community of reviews and reviewers, whatever you’re into you can review it here.
The categories cover Books, Movies, Music, podcasts, table top games, tech, tv, video games, and apps (which is a little surreal when you go on the smashbomb app and are confronted with a review on the smashbomb app, I feel like the universe should have imploded by that point)
This is available as a webpage, but I access it mostly through the app.
Setting up a profile is quick and easy, and there is also the option to give yourself a title (Of course I chose ‘Book Dragon’)
You can also choose what topics and categories interest you, so right away it’s making recommendations of things it thinks you will like. I mostly circulate for Book Reviews, but have rated the occasional App or Movie. In the interest of clarity I’m going to be referring to everything in book terms, although these options are also available to anything from movies to vegetables.
I jumped in with both feet and was able to import my previous reviews and ratings from Goodreads, so that saved a lot of time and effort.
The Home page has a number of options. Here you can see posts by you and people you follow, a little carousel of things recommended for you (not all just books, I’ve had some movies and apps recommended to me too)
You can award and be awarded KP (Kudos Points) for different things. Whether it’s a review you’ve posted or a comment you’ve made. These points build up and you can earn different awards and privileges as they do so.
You can join ‘Orbs’, which are little groups set up by people with similar interests
Actually now I’ve started writing this I’ve realised there is just waaaaaay too much on this app for me to talk about, so to summarise I’ll take a little inspiration from the Smashbomb themselves.
*The wide choice of platforms, and the option to either just rate an item, give a quick review, or a full blown review with good and bad points.
*Earning badges for contributing to the community
*Giveaways, you can win stuff!
*Limited Items – If there is a book that is not yet in the database you have to add it yourself, which is good in a way as you then get kudos points for being the ‘creator’ of that item,
*Interactions on some of the orbs seems quite sporadic, this could be down to the size of the community, the reluctance of the ORB followers, or the interaction options.
Basically it’s a really enjoyable app, with some great recommendations and interesting reviews