Monthly Archives: July 2014

Blogging vs Vlogging

We all know what blogging is – heck, what is it that I’m doing right here?

But what about vlogging? Have you heard the term before? Essentially it’s blogging but in video form. Some vlogs are really short, just the span of a minute or a few, or really long, over fifteen minutes.

Blogging holds a special place in many people’s hearts because of the fact that it’s been around for so long and they might be bloggers themselves.

Vlogging is relatively new, especially in the last few years since YouTube came into being. Many people vlog about whatever is their heart’s desire, just like blogging. Some vlog about health and fitness, others vlog about books, while others vlog about personal daily lives. It really all depends on the individual.

A great example of a popular vlog community is the vlogbrothers, which the two main “hosts” of the vlog are author John Green and his brother, Hank. They post funny, witty, serious, historical, interesting videos and call their community audience “nerdfighters.” They’re engaging and oftentimes positive, making them successful at vlogging.

Blogging, on the other hand, is more about the written word and how you can grab people’s attention through that. Blogging, like vlogging, can come in many forms from informational, to fun, to personal, and beyond.

I personally have two active blogs, this one and a new one I just started after I began book vlogging called Reader Rayna. I find it to be a great way to get my own personal thoughts and opinions on something that I’m passionate about out there, plus it’s much easier for me to get my words out in writing than verbally.

So, here are some pros and cons to vlogging:

  • Pro: You’re able to be more interactive and silly on camera if you choose to be.
  • Con: Some people might not understand your humor.
  • Pro: You can talk about whatever you please as long as it’s within YouTube’s ToS guidelines.
  • Con: Some people might not appreciate what you have to say, therefore “disliking” your video or saying hurtful/mean things in the comments.
  • Pro: Many people are doing it, so it’s always good to be able to do some research and get ideas for how you want to run your own vlog.
  • Con: Plagiarism can still happen via camera, so you have to make sure you really make your vlogs your own.

And here are some pros and cons about blogging:

  • Pro: You’re able to get your thoughts and opinions out to a large audience, like vlogging.
  • Con: Some people might not be interested because your topic might be too similar to others, or yours might not have the same “spark” as other blogs.
  • Pro: Many people are doing it, so you can always do some research and get ideas for how you want to run your own blog.
  • Con: Plagiarism can happen, so you have to be careful of what you put out there.

The lists can go on and on, but those are some of the major pros and cons for both blogging and vlogging. It really all depends on how you want to reach your audience and how you want to express yourself, whether that be through words, camera, or both. Take the time to consider each and do some research ahead of time to see which would be better suited for you.

Here’s the link to my own vlog: Reader Rayna vlog

 

What about you? Do you have a personal preference as to how you blog/vlog? Which do you prefer and recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Book Clubs

Have you ever wondered what a book club is? Have you ever wanted to start one but you were unsure of how to go about doing it or couldn’t find enough people to join you?

Book clubs can be a fun way of sharing experiences, likes, and dislikes among book lovers. Pretty much the person in charge of the book club picks a book that everyone in the club has to read within a certain time frame and then they discuss it in detail. This can consist of various questions that were thought up and the person in charge has to make sure that there’s flow for each question before moving on to the next one, and more.

It can seem like a daunting task, but it’s really not all that bad.

If you join Goodreads, there are plenty of book clubs on there to join; you just need to find one that’s right for you. Or start one!

To start a book club, think of the following things before beginning, or as you go:

  1. Find people to start the book club with. Start small with just you and two friends, and before you know it, you might end up with ten more people joining down the road. The point is to start small and build up.
  2. Think of a theme or set genre for the types of books you want to read. Do you love mysteries, but the rest of your group prefers sci-fi? Find a common ground for everyone to stand on and start there, branching out afterward.
  3. Write down questions for discussion. If you are the person in charge for the first meeting, make sure you’re prepared (actually read the book) and have some questions on hand to ask your fellow club members. Write them down so you don’t forget.
  4. Pick a time frame. If you start a book club, decide on a book, and then just say, “Have at it!” then you’ll never meet up again until probably a year later. Be realistic in your time frames:
    1. For larger books (over 500 pages) or series, try having meetings monthly, one meeting per book.
    2. For smaller books (less than 500 pages), try having meetings bi-weekly.
    3. If you’re ambitious, finish one book per week, but make sure it can fit in with everyone’s schedules!
    4. If you prefer, have set chapters to read rather than completing the whole book so the book can be drawn out and you’ll have more to talk about.
  5. Bring snacks! Book club meetings can take a lot of time, so be prepared to serve some snacks so everyone can be satisfied and think of something to talk about.

Okay, so number 5 isn’t really a requirement, or something you really need to consider, but it’s still nice to have something to munch while you’re thinking of the answer to the question that was asked.

Book clubs can be fun for everyone and they don’t have to take a lot of time. Set your meetings for an hour each meeting and try to meet your own personal goals and guidelines to however you have it set up. Just be sure to have fun with it and keep on reading.

Critically Analyzing Literature

Sounds difficult, right? To critically analyze something you have to be able to break down to the core of it and take it apart piece by piece, putting it back together in a way that’s tangible and understandable while still making your point.

Complicated, I know.

But critically analyzing literature isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Of course you’ll stumble and fall at the beginning, but that isn’t to say you won’t improve as you advance in the ways in which you look at it.

Let’s take Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” for example. I had to critically analyze her book a couple of years ago, and I had no idea what that meant! From what I remember I understood that it wasn’t the monster’s fault for the positions he was put in because he sought out human companionship, but rather it was Frankenstein’s fault for bringing him to life in the first place – in fact, the monster blamed him for it!

When you critically analyze a piece of literature, don’t just look on the surface or what’s obvious about the piece; take the time to really dig down and find the hidden meanings behind the words.

If you look at, say, “Divergent” by Veronica Roth, you will find the hidden places where God, and some lessons learned in the Bible, are mentioned because she is a Christian, herself. Or if you look at “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen you might discover the lies behind the way some characters acted and portrayed themselves, as well as find that that was really how that certain section of society really acted. It’s all a matter of perspective, and you won’t necessarily be wrong about it.

There are several methods to analyzing literature, such as marking around certain areas that stand out and doing research in online scholarly journals on the same subject or line, or working with someone who knows more on the subject than you do, etc. There are countless ways to analyze, but you also have to have the mind for it, i.e. you have to be willing to look deeper into the story than just what’s at the surface.

But this also isn’t to say that you absolutely can’t get off with just writing down your own opinions, oh no. You have to do the research behind it. Who else wrote about the subject? Are they big names in reputable journals or are they just found on easy-access websites with no citations or anything of the like? It’s about knowing what you’re looking for, and oftentimes that can be a difficult thing to do.

Have you ever had to critically analyze a piece of literature? If so, what was it and how did you go about doing it? Let me know in the comments below!