The Real Stats Behind Illiteracy

When it comes to illiteracy, 757 million people around the world are illiterate.
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When it comes to illiteracy, 757 million people around the world are illiterate.

Credit: Grammarly

Many of my blog readers love to write—and even more love to read.

That makes sense. Even if we aren’t passionate about writing, we all enjoy taking in a good story. Storytelling has been part of the human experience for countless centuries. And many stories we take in are told in the form of words.

But not everyone can enjoy a story that way. In fact, 757 million people around the world cannot read.

That’s a lot of people who can’t read a good story.

In honor of International Literacy Day, Grammarly created this infographic to highlight the statistics of global illiteracy:

Literacy Day Grammarly Infographic

Do you think illiteracy is an issue? Share your insights below.

5 Ways To Get More Friends On Goodreads

5 Ways To Get More Friends On Goodreads
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Goodreads is the answer to all avid readers who love social media and reading. However, there isn’t much literature on the Internet about how to make the most of your Goodreads profile and on how to expand your virtual literary community.

So, how do you get more friends on Goodreads? This is where optimization and networking come into play.

First, add me as a friend. Then, read how I continue to grow my friends list on Goodreads.

Optimize Your Profile

How to get more friends on Goodreads Step 1

This is how the editing My Account should look. More criteria to help you get more friends on Goodreads when you scroll further down the page.

Think of your Goodreads profile as the handshake that starts your virtual friendship. By filling out your profile in full, you are more likely to gain the trust of the Goodreads community.

  • Tap the drop-down arrow in the top right corner of the screen next to you profile pictures.
  • Select Edit Profile.
  • Within the Profile tab, fill out all tabs that will help current friends or those with like reading interests find your profile, including:
    • First and last name
    • Username
    • My Website
    • My Interests
    • What Kind of Books Do You Like to Read?
    • About Me
  • Make sure to select an option for the following:
    • Show my last name to
    • Location Viewable By
  • Don’t forget to upload a photo of yourself. This will assure future friends that your profile isn’t a fake account and that you’re a regular user of Goodreads.

Remember: When filling out My Interests, What Kind of Books Do You Like to Read? and About Me, try weaving in words that users would use to search for friends. For example, if you are an avid reader of science fiction, make sure to add keywords like “science fiction” and “sci-fi” as well as key science fiction authors and book titles to these sections.

Invite Your Own Friends

How to get more friends on Goodreads Step 2

Before searching for new friends on Goodreads, connect with your current group of friends on this social media platform.

  • Tap the drop-down arrow in the top right corner of the screen next to you profile pictures.
  • Select Friends.
  • Underneath Find Friends From, you can find your existing friends by selecting the following social media or email account for Goodreads to search:
    • Gmail
    • Yahoo
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Friends of friends (on Goodreads)
  • Fill in the search box with your friend’s name or email address found below Find Friends From to find friends you’re not connected with in the above way. Then, click search members.

Add Books to Your Bookshelves

A bookshelf is Goodreads’ equivalent to a book list. To get more friends on Goodreads, you must show that you’re an avid reader. Not having any books on your lists gives a warning that your profile may not be active or that it’s not managed by a real person. Start by filling out the default bookshelves:

  • Read: What books have you read in the past?
  • Currently Reading: What books are you reading now?
  • To-Read: What books are on your bucket list?

I chose not to add books to my Read bookshelf until I finished the book from my Currently Reading list because I wanted to keep track of how much I was reading since I created my Goodreads profile. Many of my Goodreads friends chose to update their Read bookshelf with books they’ve read years before they created their Goodreads account. It’s all about preference.

You can also create a bookshelf that best fits your profile style or brand.

Promote Your Goodreads Profile On Your Websites

How to get more friends on Goodreads Step 4

Here’s how my Goodreads widget looks on my website.

Give a shoutout to your Goodreads profile on your other social media websites. Send a tweet, post your Goodreads profile link in a Facebook post, or mention it in a blog post.

Have a website? You can add widget that previews the books you’ve recently finished reading. This encourages your website readers to be your friend on Goodreads.

  • Tap the dropdown arrow in the top right corner of the screen next to you profile pictures.
  • Select Edit Profile.
  • Within the Widgets tab, a preview of what you widget will look like appears. You can customize what shows on your widget by updating the information below Customize Your Widget
  • Copy the HTML code and paste it onto your website. For WordPress users, there is a Goodreads widget that allows you to enter your profile information without the need to copy and paste the HTML code.

Join Groups and Book Talk Discussions

How to get more friends on Goodreads Step 5

You can choose which Book Talk discussions to join.

Want to talk about your latest read? Simply have a question to ask about your current novel?

Welcome to your virtual book club. A variety of conversations, from authors and specific books to genres and book events, can be easily found within Groups and Book Talk Discussions. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Start your own group or discussion.

Groups and Book Talk Discussions are a great way to introduce yourself to this literary community. Once you have a presence and engaged in thoughtful conversation, you can add friends you have made through these outlets.

There’s even a discussion about getting more friends on Goodreads!

How do you get more friends on Goodreads? Share your strategies below.

Blogging: Defining What and Why

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I had a blog back in 2008 when blogs were still fairly new.  It was for my writing capstone class at college and every student was assigned to write blogs analyzing our reading assignments with our class discussions on defining genre in writing.  Many students in the class wrote hesitantly and rather stiffly in their blogs, perhaps longing for the traditional structure of writing a short paper meant only for the professor’s eyes.

But I ran wild with blogging: I scrutinized over every word in the readings, took notes and spoke confidently during class discussions, brainstormed the story arc of my blog entry, tweaked entry passages to make it even cleverer before I hit submit.  My competitive nature turned each week into a challenge to write the most insightful, most creative, wittiest blog.  I wanted to make my readers laugh, to think, to frown, to roll their eyes—and all because of what I wrote.

So why did I stop blogging?

For starters, the class ended.  Then there were part-time jobs and studying abroad and finishing senior year and graduate school applications and graduate school and holidays that required traveling and thesis after thesis after thesis.

In short, I let my life get in the way.

I had always wanted to return to blogging, but I let insecurities hold me back.  Blogs must be complicated to start, too expensive to maintain, too demanding of my time, too miniscule in the big world of blogging to even be read.

Some of my insecurities were backed by facts.  There are currently over 56 million WordPress blogs, and that doesn’t include the millions more blogs hosted by Tumblr, Blogger, TypePad, Posterous, or even blogs that don’t use blog publishing websites.  Companies blog, people blog, brands blog, organizations blog, foundations blog–everyone is blogging!

I didn’t get the confidence to even start up again until I attended the Rochester Writers’ Conference this year at Oakland University.  I sat as a student in one session about blogging and I scribbled down lines of notes about how easy it was to start a blog and how financially pleasing it was to maintain it and the strategies to bring eyes upon my blog.  I couldn’t wait to go home and set up an account.

So why did it take me another month to start?

I didn’t know what to write about.   Blogs aren’t random ramblings but rather thought episodes on a particular expertise or interest.  Blogs aren’t scattered ideas but authoritative accounts on fixing cars or relationship advice or examples of world improvement or even a writer’s way of life.  Blogs are where the writer shines as an expert, and I didn’t want to take my expertise lightly.

I also needed to decide who would be my audience.  Blogs are audience-driven, and readership depends on how well researched, how captivating, how grammatically correct, and how honest the writer writes.  This audience component pushes the writer to catch a new reader’s attention and to hold that attention for weeks, months, years.  Blogs can exist in the vast World Wide Web, but it turns into another dusty book on a library shelf if not read.

So I closed my eyes and imagined my future readers.  I saw someone with overcrowded bookshelves because of an obsession with reading and writing.  I saw someone who just started taking a creative writing class at the community college.  I saw someone who loves to network, who loves to listen, who loves to learn.  I saw someone who has the confidence to be an expert but not knowing where to start.  I saw me.  I saw you.

So, after my four-year hiatus, I decided to blog about my journey in developing a writing career so that, through triumphs and failures, we go through our journeys together.