When it comes to apps and technology, I'm pretty set in my ways for a millennial. I didn't even download Instagram until four of my friends got sick of me saying, "What photo where?" and formed a pact behind my back to refuse to update me on anything so I caved, and then even my fifteen year old brother was all, "Welcome to the 21st century, no you cannot follow me." So I don't really know what made me download Litsy earlier this spring, when it was still in beta testing and no one I knew had it, except maybe fate because I am in LOVE.
The best way to describe Litsy is to say that it's like if Instagram and Goodreads had a baby, only without the drama of Goodreads and the insane pressure to create impossibly beautiful tableaus that make you think your life is somehow less fulfilled because you don't have fresh flowers and perfectly whimsical knickknacks and beautiful backdrops and everything you own isn't covered in dust and dog hair. (Quit judging me, Instagram.) Litsy is chill. Litsy just wants you to pick a book, snap a pic, and talk about it. Litsy doesn't care if the only backdrop you can find is a wrinkled t-shirt.
The basic gist is this: you pick between posting a blurb, quote, or review. Then you pick a book. You MUST pick a book, so all of your conversations are book-centered. You can include a photo, but no pressure if your immediate surroundings are a mess and the lighting is utter shit. Then you post stuff. When you tap on the book title, you get a timeline of what everyone is saying about the book, and it's all awesome until you find the one person who bailed on a Melina Marchetta novel and waste twenty minutes of your life judging their Litsy feed.
Blurbs are for just casual notes of observation, quotes are (obviously) for book quotes, and reviews include tags "pick," "so-so," "pan," and "bail." Can I just take a moment and tell you how refreshingly AWESOME this it is that Litsy doesn't mess around with the bullshit star system? I loathe stars. Stars tell me nothing. Stars are the laziest way to judge or review a book. I find fault in stars for book reviews every single time. And the people who try to keep making stars happen with emojis in their reviews can keep them, because I do not care. I want your words, people. The reviews are kept to a 260 word limit, so things never get to be too much for your phone screen. Plus, there is a spoiler screen that you can enable, not just for all of your posts but for COMMENTS, TOO! That's right, the comments section is truly a safe space on Litsy.
The Litsy community is also SUPER nice! Their tagline "where books make friends" couldn't be more true! I didn't have a lot of YA folks to follow at first, so it was great to follow just a bunch of funny, smart-sounding people and really diversify my reading lists right away. No one is judgmental when it comes to genre or reading category, and there is something really, really awesome about watching people's reading habits unfold in real time, with all their quirks and whatnot. I love seeing what quotes stick out to others, observing what they're excited about, the characters they love, at what point readers bail, at what point readers fall in love. When a review is finally posted, it feels like the culmination of something, and not just another blog post.
The best part? Litfluence. It's a completely meaningless but very, very important score that rates how much you use Litsy. Guys, it literally means nothing, but it's ridiculous how much I love watching my Litfluence rise. There is no prize! No magical number that I know of! Just rising numbers that somehow validate me in ways that I cannot explain with words. I mean, maybe if I hit a certain threshold, a golden ticket will appear and the meaning of the universe will be revealed to me (your Litfluence starts at 42, heh), but as far as I'm aware the only prize is READING. Gamification is awesome!
They also clearly have a fantastic sense of humor and a great appreciation for literary puns:
Litsy is made by Out of Print, the same people who produce those wonderfully nerdy but weirdly fitting bookish t-shirts (and totes, socks, and scarves). You know, the company that threatens to blow your budget every month? So these people love books, they love to have fun, and they also give back a LOT. They'll host reading challenges that encourage Littens (not completely sold on that moniker, but I didn't promise everything was perfect) to give away books, and they match donations through FirstBook. So they use their platform to promote good things, which rocks.
If you want to join the fun, and if you want proof that I am still reading tons despite becoming a terribly infrequent blogger, follow me on Litsy! I'm (shockingly) TirzahPrice! I'll follow you back and we can watch our meaningless Litfluences rise and nerd out about books together!