Sunday 28 August 2011

Sunday Salon: Blogging Balance

I think something we all struggle with on our blogs is balance; whether that's balance between reviews and memes/features or balance between bookish things and other things.  Personally, I tend to post mainly reviews, as that's the reason why I started this blog and the content that I like to read on other people's blogs.  I love nothing more than reading a good review about either a book I have read myself, or one that I really want to get my hands on.

But lately I've been thinking about the kinds of blogs I like to read, and I've found that the ones I really enjoy and always visit have a bit more personality.  There might be some personal photos, or posts that are not just reviews or the same old memes that I see everywhere else.  And for that reason, I've decided to spice up my own blog a bit.

It is a bit trickier for me as I work as a teacher and am not allowed to post anything to identify my school or reveal anything about my job or opinions about it.  I also don't want to post anything publicly that I wouldn't want anyone to be able to know about me or that would be awkward if a parent was to find my blog.  

So what I've decided to do is try to take one photo each day that I would be able to share with anyone, a photo that sums up how things are going for me at the moment.  It might be vegetables freshly picked from my garden, a photo of my cat curled up asleep on a lazy Sunday, or of the clock when I'm working late and under pressure.  Each Sunday, I will post the selection of photos from the week before.  Hopefully this way I can share a bit more about me but not get myself in trouble!

What about you?  How do you try to provide balance on your blog between reviews and everything else, and do you think you succeed?  Does your personality come through on your blog?


  1. This is a great topic to consider. Photos are a wonderful way to convey more personality, and they absolutely make a post more fun to read! Loking forward to them. I also enjoy reading people's opinions on a broader topic/issue rather than a review or meme-type post - but feel rather unsure of writing one myself.

  2. Good query. It's always a balance between letting personality come through in reviews and other posts and not moaning too much about work/weather/family etc. I love blogs with personality - but I don't want to hear about great aunt mareen's hip replacement! I think the picture idea is great - just something that can sum up the week.

  3. It is a balance, and an evolving one at that. I've been thinking, similarly, of making my book blog more personal (in small ways). I first started a family blog to keep family updated about what was going on, so the book blog was just books...but the thing is that books aren't just books, their importance lies in how they reach us personally. Anyhow, looking forward to some photos. :)

  4. Balance is tricky. Much of my life is taken up with work--I'm a physician. And I can't post anything about work for much the same reason you can't post about school. Privacy issues are involved. Then I come home and my life revolves around my kids. No way do they want me blogging about them. But I do love the blogs that allow the bloggers' personalities to shine through. (I loved the honeymoon updates!) It makes *following* a blog that much more interesting.

  5. I know exactly what you mean - I love doing the book reviews and all that on my blog. It was the reason I started but I knew I needed to put some of my personality across. How do I do that? Well I post about my crafts and my cooking as well as other bits as they spring to mind.

    I am very wary of posting anything about work, because of the security aspect, Official Secrets etc and whilst I could tell you some tales - if anyone read them they might think different and would probably be only funny to those who understood. That is why I did the post about Numbers

    I am not a fan of blogs which are just all memes, that can be rather boring but I do sometimes pop one on my blog when I feel I have nothing to say but want to say something - it can then perhaps jog my memory to share other things.

    I think it is good to reflect and hope my personality does pop out now and again on my blog amongst all the bookish things.

  6. Bookspersonally - I like opinionated posts too, but hardly ever think of anything worth discussing myself! You should go for it, I always enjoy reading things like that.

    Mel - Agreed, there is definitely a line you can cross and start to overshare!

    Melody - You're exactly right that so much of our opinions on books are based on our personalities and experiences. And if we didn't write about those, we may as well all just read book reviews in newspapers and magazines rather than just blogs.

    Susan - Yes, blogging is so public that it's not worth risking anything at work. I wouldn't worry about anyone finding my blog, because there's nothing on there that I don't mind the whole world knowing (apart from maybe my reading guilty pleasures!).

    Jo - I think internet activity is a big issue with employers now, because more and more people are telling me that it's an issue for them too. I think posting about cooking and crafts is a great idea, I enjoy reading those posts of yours because it makes a change. And I'm not against memes, I just try to use them not too often.

  7. I don't know if I succeed, but I really blog about the things I like and I'm interested in. I try to change as much as I can but I usually blog about authors/books (interviews, reviews, guestposts), my trips and journeys, period/costume movies and dramas I watch, my favourite series, my favourite actor, going to the theatre/cinema. My most successful posts are those about my favourite actor, but I'm not exactly a fangirl,that's just a game, so I write about many other topics (even my work at school, my experiences as a teacher), though usually I get fewer comments in that case.
    I've also got quite a successful Austen Book Club on line with author interviews, guestposts,giveaways, reviews of Austen-inspired books/films/series .
    I'm not so interested in how many followers/comments I get. Blogging about myself and my passions has enriched me greatly. I've virtually met so many interesting people I'm regularly in touch with, I've read and seen so many new things and learnt so much! I've even found new , very good friends in real life!
    Thanks for this thoughtprovoking post,Sam.

  8. what a wonderful idea! as you can probably tell, i enjoy talk about myself, almost as much as i enjoy talking about books! and, i enjoy memes (i think they are a great way to get to know a diverse group of people). i have to agree about the teaching thing though, i really wish i would have made my blog a little more anonymous so i could actually say what i mean (if you know what i mean :D), but i find that knowing that those i work with might read it stops me from cussing up a storm and forces me to pause and figure out what i am really try to get forces me to stop the rant. i can't wait to see your pictures! :D

  9. I think the photos are a great idea.I'm really looking forward to them.

    Also, I'm still trying to figure out the right balance between memes, reviews, and other kinds of posts. I tend to forget about memes, so I miss out on meeting a ton of book bloggers.

  10. Sam, what a great post. I've been thinking a lot recently about finding the right balance with my blog, both in the content that I want on it, and the amount of time that I'm able and willing to put in on it.

    I think my blog could use a bit more of "me" in it but haven't come up with a plan yet. I still want the focus to be on books but I want the people who stop by to be engaged and interested and want to come back. Book reviews and chat are not always a good enough draw.

    Like you, I teach and so have restrictions on what I can share. I like your idea of posting photos that are reflective of your week. I may incorporate that into whatever I end up doing.

    take care :)

  11. Fantastic idea, Sam!

    I've been struggling for a few weeks now trying to come up with an idea that will make my blog more interesting, but nothing's come to me yet. I do have the occasional post that isn't a review, but now I'm stumped. I sure hope something will inspire me soon!

  12. Great question.

    I used to do more "musings" posts when I first started blogging, but now my blog is pretty much strictly reviews with the occasional giveaway.

    The one exception is a weekend cooking event that I like to participate in; for that one, my posts often contain recipes, or personal stories about food-related matters.

    I look forward to seeing your photos :)

  13. Gee, this really was thought provoking. Always struggling to find balance on my own blog. New follower. My problem is time management.

  14. Maria - I think it's good to post about a variety of things, it definitely makes your blog more interesting. I find it interesting that you are able to blog about being a teacher - I had to expressly sign an agreement to not speak about my work online, in blogs etc.

    Stephanie - I like that your blog is more personal, and love how you include photos.

    Daryln - I'm not a fan of memes, but they are a great way to meet new bloggers, so I should do one every now and again.

    Bea - What you want to do with your blog is exactly what I want to do with mine. You should post more photos too :)

    Sophie - Hope you get some inspiration soon. It's tough to think of a way to make it more personal without losing the focus on books.

    The Book Girl - A few blogs I follow do the weekend cooking, and I enjoy reading those posts. Why don't you post musings anymore?

    Grace - Thanks for the visit, and for following! Time management is a battle for me too! :P