Social Media’s Influence on Reading Habits: Pros and Cons

Social Media’s Influence on Reading Habits: Pros and Cons 650 400 Reader Views

by Sheri Hoyte

Last week, we explored the world of mindful reading. Today, we shift gears to examine an unavoidable aspect of modern life—social media. In my work at Reader Views, I’ve observed firsthand how these platforms can both boost and challenge our reading habits. So, how exactly does social media impact the books we pick up—or don’t pick up?

The Good Stuff: How Social Media Can Enhance Reading


Finding Your People. There’s nothing quite like finding your tribe online. Platforms like Goodreads and Bookstagram have transformed how we engage with books and fellow readers. Online book clubs often use Goodreads to manage reading lists, host discussions, and provide supplementary materials like author interviews. Bookstagram allows book clubs to take their engagement to a visual level, sharing compelling photos, book reviews, and recommendations.

Elimination Of Geographical Boundaries. Online book clubs remove geographical barriers, opening up a world of diverse and extensive network possibilities. This means more nuanced discussions, as people from various backgrounds all over the world can participate. The synergy between Goodreads, Bookstagram, and other online platforms has made connecting over books easier than ever.


Algorithms As Modern Librarians. Think of algorithms as today’s answer to the resourceful librarian who always knows just what you should read next. These algorithms sift through tons of data, such as your reading history, genres you favor, and even the ratings you’ve given to recommend books. Just like a librarian might introduce you to a classic that’s not on the bestseller list, algorithms can surprise you with lesser-known books that are a perfect fit for your taste.

Word Of Mouth in Digital Communities. Social media enables that magical experience of stumbling upon a book through the enthusiastic recommendation of someone you follow. Whether it’s a Bookstagrammer’s raving review or a Twitter (X) thread discussing underappreciated novels, these digital word-of-mouth recommendations can lead you to some unexpected delights. And yes, I’ve found some books this way that I’d never have considered reviewingor reading for pleasure otherwise.

Reader Reviews.Never underestimate the power of a well-written review, especially on platforms like Goodreads, Amazon, and Bookbub. These reviews offer a peek into the book from a reader’s perspective, revealing aspects that might not be apparent from the blurb or professional reviews. And if you’re looking for a more seasoned perspective, you can always venture into the opinions of the professionals, like Reader Views! Check out our book review blog for all the latest books we’ve read and reviewed and our Author Showcase, highlight our featured books, videos, and interviews each week.


Ever set a reading goal and then let it fall by the wayside? Social media and dedicated apps offer various ways to keep you on track.

Goodreads Reading Challenges: Publicly commit to a reading goal, and let the platform and your network serve as your accountability partners.

Buddy Reads: Partnering with someone to read the same book can offer a layer of engagement and commitment, as you’ll look forward to discussing the book.

Apps such as StoryGraph, Bookly, and BookSloth offer tracking, rating, and reviewing features, each with their unique set of tools and approaches.

LibraryThing and Libib are ideal for cataloging your collection, with Libib being more solitary due to its lack of a community aspect. Litsy provides additional social engagement, letting you catalog books, leave reviews, join book giveaways, and post book-related pictures.

With such a variety of platforms, and there are plenty more, finding the one that best suits your reading style can add an extra layer of motivation, keeping you on track and accountable.

The Not-So-Good Stuff: Social Media’s Downsides


The Swipe Trap: Social media platforms are designed to keep you scrolling, often at the expense of other activities. It’s all too easy to slip into a mindless scroll that takes away from your planned reading time.

Notification Overload: The constant pinging of your device can disrupt your reading flow, making it difficult to immerse yourself fully in a book.

Sensory Overwhelm: The colorful visuals, autoplaying videos, and endless threads can leave you mentally drained, which isn’t conducive to settling down with a book afterward.


Analysis Paralysis: That’s so fun to say. Okay, getting off-track…With so many recommendations and lists available, you might spend more time contemplating what to read next than actually reading.

Echo Chamber: While algorithms can introduce you to new titles, they can also trap you into a cycle of similar genres or authors, which limits your exposure to a diverse range of books.

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): Seeing everyone else’s reading choices might make you question your own, causing unnecessary stress about what you “should” be reading.


The ‘More is Better’ Myth: Social media can create a sense of inadequacy by making you feel as if you’re not reading enough or not reading the “right” books.

Performance Anxiety: Feeling the need to keep up with others can take away the joy of reading and turn it into another task to be checked off.

Social Validation: The chase for likes and approval for your reading choices can further detract from the intrinsic value of reading for its own sake.

Striking a Balance

It’s all about balance, right? Leverage the communal aspects of social media to enrich your reading while setting clear boundaries to minimize distractions. Designate “scroll-free” times where you can immerse yourself in a book without the constant ping of notifications.

Navigating the complex back-and-forth between social media and reading is a personal journey, but it IS one worth taking. By being aware and intentional, we can derive the best from both worlds. So, what’s your experience been like? Has social media been a enhanced or hampered your reading habits?

  • Gene helfman

    Thanks, Sheri. That covers the bases, much rang true. I’d like to add, from an author’s perspective, one important downside of using social media to promote a book. Numer 1:many (most) people who spend time doom-scrolling on FB, X, etc stop there. They dont read anything longer than posts. This is especially true of X.

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