Lemming behaviour and generosity

I saw that one of the blogs I read regularly has swapped over to WordPress and, knowing that many have shifted over there, I went to check it out for myself and ended up creating a replica of this blog there (no real entries). The posting interface for WP is much nicer than this one’s, but I think – being a creature of habit – I’m used to the quirks and format of blogger so I’ll stay put for the moment. The other one is just reserving interweb real estate…

I did the same thing on Facebook with starting up an Asian Australian Studies Research Network group. I’ve been on Fb a while now and I have yet to see the worth of those Fb groups. I just find them clunky. Some of them have novelty value, but the interface seems to depend on you going there regularly to find out what’s happening with the group. I don’t like bulletin boards for the same reason, much preferring the direct ‘news’ or interaction that a mailing list provides.

That said, since I’ve stepped down from moderating asian-australian_discuss, I’ve changed my delivery options for that list to “no email.” I find the emails from that list too distracting and, if a topic takes my fancy, I’ll want to respond straight away. This way, if I just catch up on what’s happening there every week or so, I can just pick and choose the ones that interest me most (and overlook the annoying ones). It’s such a basic thing, something I should’ve done a while ago. Feels liberating nonetheless!

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I know I go on about bookmooch a lot here. I’m not exactly sure why that is because it’s not as if I spend all my waking hours stalking and mooching books. I only drop by the site if I have to check off certain activities/receipts, or if someone’s newly recced me something and I want to see if it’s moochable. This means, perhaps, once a week; several times if I’ve just uploaded inventory and people are snaffling items. Blathering aside, I’ve always admired the way bookmooch started and what it stands for, which is why I persist with it even though it means I generally spend more on books than I did before (because of the postage/packaging costs for mailing books out; the books themselves are ‘free’). This is the case because, before, I wasn’t reading very reguarly at all, and not tapped into the habit like I am now. I much prefer now, but yes, it’s not a money-saving development for me.

Recently, John Buckman (the guy who created it from scratch) posted an entry on the bookmooch blog outlining how much it costs to run the mooching site. I found it an amazing read, and my jaw dropped when he mentions that he’s put in about $70K (US dollars, people!) to get the site to the stage it’s at now. I have self-quibbling sessions sometimes about the money I toss into ‘hobby’ endeavours that I wish someone would step up and fund properly, but my piddly expenses pale in comparison. I’ve signed up to give a little each month to help keep bookmooch non-commercial (one of the things I like about it).

As with all of my friends, I wish I had more time to read and the browsing the vistas of what’s on offer in people’s inventories is my cyber-version of loitering around 2nd-hand bookshops (which I just don’t really get to do anymore, unless I’m killing time before meetings or conferences…). I’ve seen some delicious inventories from which I’d like to mooch about a half dozen books but I stop myself from being that greedy. I usually limit myself to mooching two books at a time from people (unless they offer more because of particular author sets, etc). I’ve got more points than I know what to do with, and have twice given points to charities listed on bookmooch (once to the Australian lesbian and gay archives, and another time to the Auckland Women’s Centre Library – obviously, I was endeavouring to give ‘locally’…there aren’t many charities on this side of the pond at all).

If you are on bookmooch and haven’t friended me, let me know you’re out there. I’m easy to find. I don’t have an internet ‘handle’ to save myself…

Here endeth the sermon about bookmooch.

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2 thoughts on “Lemming behaviour and generosity

  1. scp 19/02/2009 / 12:08 pm

    >Oh I love Bookmooch! Thanks for introducing it to your blog readers.I had no idea it was a labour of love! I’ve recruited one Aussie to the cause.

  2. tseen 20/02/2009 / 3:59 am

    >I’m so glad you’re liking the experience with BM! 🙂 Book Boy tried it and ran away screaming (he had too many ‘in demand’ books and was swamped with requests from the moment he listed them).

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