Bookstagrammer discusses the importance of using social media to promo…

A Derry ‘Bookstagrammer’ has discussed the importance of using social media to encourage off-screen time and the increasing popularity of physical books with young people.

Holly O’Doherty uses her Instagram page to promote reading to like-minded young people who follow her.

The 22-year-old told MyDerry about the increasing popularity of reading among young people, particularly in favouring physical books over e-books.

She said: “Young people enjoy the aesthetics of physical books, of vintage books, colourful books, ones with complicate designs. It is almost like y ou get swept into the assumption of if you do not have an actual book you’re not fully participating.

“Also, I think a lot of people my age, with the negative light that is often cast on social media, want to have time away from screens. You see it as a small win when you take yourself away from technology.

“Having a physical book method there are no emails or messages that you have to reply to, there is no guilt and no pressure. You try and cement yourself back in the real world again.

“When I got into reading it was the start of the pandemic and there was such an increase in the social media usage and I would end up just scrolling endlessly. I had to take time to turn my phone off and take myself away from it.

“It is nice to know you have an escape from social media and the news when you are reading. Additionally, it is almost as if it wouldn’t be expected from our age group so there is a sense of pride that comes along with picking up a physical book to read instead of reading from a screen.”

Holly explained how, in dedicating her social media presence to an activity that she enjoys and can take people offline, she regained control of her screen time.

Derry Bookstagrammer Holly O’Doherty

She said: “One of the main things that why I use my Bookstagram is that social media can be all about how trend-worthy you are and how perfect your life appears. I feel like I am taking control of my use of social media in that I am actively using it to promote reading, which takes place offline.

“I have started book clubs and I am hoping to do ones in person to take away from being online. I enjoy using social media now because there’s no pressure. My chief purpose in interacting with people now is for something that is outside of social media. It has become less shallow.”

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However, Holly has noticed that often, girls are more comfortable in immersing themselves in this world of promoting books on social media than boys.

She said: “If I ask a girl what their favourite book is I get a lengthy discussion and explanation but if I ask a boy they are almost embarrassed to answer.

“There is a huge gender disparity in terms of people interacting online about reading books and discussions around that.”

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