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Sunday Salon: Vlogging

The Sunday Salon.com

I posted my first vlog (video blog) yesterday. When I made it, I wasn’t sure anyone but me would ever see it; I was just curious to see whether I liked vlogging and how the final product might come out. I ended up being quite happy, and so my first vlog was released upon the world.

I’ve been thinking a lot about vlogging recently, both as a blogger and a blog reader. As the latter, I definitely enjoy watching other people’s vlogs. I love seeing the person behind the blog; it adds a whole other dimension to the blog when I’m reading it. Sure, most people have an “About Me” picture, but seeing someone on video is completely different. I love having that extra piece of the blogger puzzle.

As a blogger, though, I’m still a little on the fence about vlogging. I like giving interested readers that same glimpse of the person behind the blog that I so enjoy–even if the person in the vlog is a slightly more nervous, less eloquent version of me! It’s kind of fun to just talk about your books, saying whatever comes to mind, without being able to edit and refine and rewrite until you’re perfectly satisfied. That being said, I also hate not being able to edit and refine and rewrite until I’m perfectly satisfied! I tend to tweak my posts a fair amount before I publish them, so it was frustrating not to be able to do the same kind of editing with the vlog.

I’m a little stuck about what, besides recent acquisitions, I would like to vlog about. I don’t think I could do a whole book review on video. There’s not a ton of how-to associated with books. I thought about reading favorite passages, but I don’t really like the way I read aloud. I plan to keep pondering other ways to utilize vlogging, because–much to my surprise, and despite the no editing thing–I think it’s kind of fun!

I’m curious to hear about your experiences with vlogging. If you’ve tried vlogging, did you enjoy it? What did you vlog about? If you’ve watched other people’s vlogs, do you like the video format, or do you prefer posts that are all text? Are there things you’d like to see book bloggers tackle in a vlog? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter!

(And is the word “vlog” looking weird to anyone else right about now, after having read it so many times in quick succession?)

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  • http://zenleaf.amandagignac.com Amanda

    I’m always at a quandry with what to do with vlogs myself. I can talk about acquisitions, but I can’t do full reviews. The closest I’ve gotten was the supplimentary discussion on gothic culture when I reviewed Gothic Charm School. I can also discuss books with my kids, which is less like reviewing and more like asking them one by one to tell me what they thought of the book while they go crazy in front of the camera. Yeah…

    Last year, Jason and I had a series of vlogs called The Death and Baby Death Book Hour, which was completely awesome, but we stopped in January, coming back just once before BEA. I’m thinking of convincing Jason to let us start up again in 2011 with the Classic Weekly project. 😀

    • Erin

      Aww, discussing books with your kids would be fun! I’ve not seen one of those yet on the Zen Leaf. I haven’t seen The Death & Baby Death Book Hour either, but it sounds like fun! I’d love to see it return :-)

  • http://theliteraryomnivore.wordpress.com The Literary Omnivore

    I’ve been thinking about doing some dramatic readings, but I could never do a review; I’d just be reading existing content instead of creating new content. I might do a monthly round-up or something like that… that might be fun…

    (I kind of hate the word “vlog”, but there’s no good alternative to it.)

    • Erin

      I think the dramatic readings would be a lot of fun. I love hearing books aloud, dramatic or otherwise! A monthly roundup would be cool–a great way to review the month and get a vlog in here and there without committing to anything weekly.

  • http://sycoraxpine.blogspot.com Ariel/Sycorax Pine

    Yeah, vlog is a terrible word (if a great concept!). There has to be a better option.

    I’ve never tried vlogging myself, but you’ve made me think about it. Why haven’t I ever considered it? Is it too much like what I do for a living? (Teaching.) I don’t know. I am not even sure I would know how to go about it.

    • Erin

      Ah, yes, I can see how vlogging would be like teaching in some ways! Although if you’re already used to talking in front of a class, you’d probably be a natural at vlogging.

  • http://www.lovelaughterinsanity.com Trish

    Like I mentioned before, I only vlog on special occasions (readathon and BBAW)–and it’s usually just silly stuff. If a vlog is too long, I won’t watch the whole thing–my attention span is about a minute. 😡 But I do LOVE to “meet” others through vlogging and wish that more would take a shot at it. It amazes me that there are bloggers I’ve been blogging with for over three years are still completely foriegn to me–no picture, no personal information. I’m a pretty dang open book. 😉

    Loved your vlog–you are very eloquent!

    • Erin

      Good to know about the short attention span! Mine’s about 3 minutes, though I’ll watch a longer video if I’m really engaged. For me, vlogs help distinguish bloggers from one another. I mean, everyone has their own writing style, blog appearance, reading preferences, icon, etc., but seeing the actual person and hearing them talk makes such a difference! It makes each blogger more like a person than words on a screen.

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it. And it sounds like you made it through most of it, at least! :-)

  • http://astripedarmchair.wordpress.com Eva

    I LOVE watching vlogs: getting to see and hear a blogger in ‘action’ is so wonderful. I wish we could convince everyone to do one, even just a short ‘hi!’ type of thing. (ohhh, just thought of something: vlogs on about pages! wouldn’t that be nice?) I enjoy making them too. But then, I rarely both to edit my posts before I publish thems, I’m ok with imperfection. hehe

    I go to the library frequently enough that I can normally vlog once a week without problems! I can’t imagine doing a whole book review on a vlog, either, especially since some people can’t watch them.

    • Erin

      I LOVE the idea of vlogs on about pages!! What a fantastic idea! I wonder if a weekly or monthly vlog meme would get people vlogging, even just in short chunks. I can definitely see where I’d come to enjoy making vlogs. At this point, I’m too new to them to be totally comfortable, but I’d like to do them more often.

      Library vlogs would be fun! I’m always at the library, so I, too, would have plenty to share. That’s a good point about some people not being able to watch vlogs–no sense in putting all your content in a video that not everyone can watch.

  • http://eatthebooks.wordpress.com Bookeater

    You’re very brave for doing a vlog–I blog at a more political blog, and we do podcasts yet I shy away from participating in them. I guess I’m self-conscious about how my voice sounds; I couldn’t imagine doing a video blog.

    I’m curious to hear how your progress of A Suitable Boy! Definitely sounds like a worthwhile challenge. Good luck!

    • Erin

      I thought it would bother me; I planned to just delete my vlog attempt. But when I played it back, I realized it didn’t bother me so much. It’s amazing what one will try when one thinks no one will know about it!

      So far, progress on A Suitable Boy doesn’t really go. I have two other books on my plate that are taking a lot of reading time and energy and have deadlines, but I will get back to it soon! That’s one that I think will merit several posts, instead of just the usual end review.

  • http://sophisticateddorkiness.com Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

    I’ve done a few blogs – a couple on book lists, one with my sister, and then one where I did a full review. I sort of liked the review, but felt like the vlog was getting really long and I hadn’t said everything I wanted to say. It’s a tough balance for me between length and saying what I want to say.

    And I LOVE the idea of vlogs on About Me pages. I need to redo mine really soon — maybe I’ll think about doing that.

    • Erin

      I’d love to be able to get someone from my life to vlog with me, but I don’t think that’ll happen! I wonder, would it work for you to incorporate a vlog into a review? Maybe talking about one specific aspect of a book or giving a brief overview in the video, and then fleshing your review out in the review? That might be interesting.

      Ooh, I’ll watch for a potential Sophisticated Dorkiness About vlog!

  • http://reviews.rebeccareid.com Rebecca Reid

    I have a hard time thinking about what to say for a vlog too but then my camera that had video function has been broken for a whiel so I’ve had an excuse not to do them.

    I also have limited time so I can’t watch vlogs all the time — and have a short attention span I guess so your 4 minute one was perfect length. (Ironic since the only vlogs I’ve done are very long, like 8 or 9 minutes lol). I love seeing the face behind the blog but just don’t always have time. I often skim posts too so I’m probably not the best blog reader out there in general.

    Anyway, I liked doing them, just need to have something interesting to say.

    • Erin

      Hmm…convenient to have an excuse! I’d imagine it’s not easy to pull off a vlog with kids in the house either. Though Amanda was saying she’s incorporated her kids into her vlogs, which sounds fun!

      I’ve decided to try and keep my vlogs under 5 minutes at the very most. I know people have short attention spans and limited time! It’s hard though, because once you start talking it’s easy to lose track of time. There’s so much to say!

      From the thoughtful comments you leave, I’d never guess you were a blog skimmer, so well done there :-)

  • http://www.booklineandsinker.com nat @book, line, and sinker

    while i watch vlogs every once in a while, i could never post one of me because i work in a VERY conservative private high school that frowns on any type of social media (in or out of school). this is the reason i don’t have a real photo on my blog, too. my students are always stalking me online–they are curious, i guess-and have no idea i blog. i’m trying to keep it that way. :)

    congrats on your vlog; i’m off to watch it now.

    • Erin

      Ah, that’s understandable. I have a few friends who work in schools, and some of them don’t have much of an online presence at all; the ones that do are ultra careful. That’s impressive that you’ve kept your blog hidden from your students!