Updating Old Content & Reviews – Let’s Talk Bookish

I’m actually combining the topics from last week (updating old content) and February 18 (changing book ratings/reviews).

Of course, I didn’t post this last week or feb 18, and since I have nothing much to say about this week’s topic (buying secondhand books), I thought I should tackle two birds with one stone and go over two of the topics that I missed.

If you’re new:

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts. Today’s topic is about buying secondhand books. Join in on this meme by writing your own discussion on the topic, and sharing your link down in the comments below.

Again, as I am not a book buyer, I don’t have an opinion on buying secondhand books. But thank you nonetheless to Hasini @ Bibliosini for suggesting the topic.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

book stack with a steaming tea cup on top surrounded by swirls divider

Quick Note:

Both the topics of updating old content and changing ratings/reviews were suggested by the lovely Nicole @ Thoughts Stained With Ink. Definitely check out the two posts I just linked to see what her thoughts on the topics were, and have a look around while you’re at it. Her blog is amazing, and I’m sure that you’ll absolutely love her!

The Backstory:

Ever since I started my blog roughly 3 years ago, I’ve had so many redesigns. I started off with this grey-fog theme, then I changed to a dark pink flower theme before switching to a green vine-y theme that I had for probably about a year and some. And then I changed back to a dark red/pink before finally getting to this rosy, pink color theme that you now see here today.

if this tells you anything, it’s that i’m a very undecided individual. though i’m kinda proud, i don’t think i’ve changed anything since i debuted this redesign in Sept 2020 (okay, i added a blog button and tab logo, and I might have changed my profile pic, BUT it’s been nothing overly serious)

In my mind, I’ve split those redesigns and the multitude of tweaking that I did while I had each one into three major groups: the baby-blogger Rukky (aka the first grey and hot pink that lasted ~4 months), the finding-her-feet Rukky (aka the days of the green vines that lasted almost a year and a half), and the current Rukky (aka the return to dark red/pink and the theme you see now that’s lasted just over a year and a half).

Every time I did a major redesign, I considered updating my old content to match the new color scheme and graphics that I was using just to make my blog look cohesive. I also wanted to edit the actual text content of the posts because I thought some of them were just so cringey and needed a lot of TLC.

However, I never really succeeded in actually updating all my content, as you can find some posts that still have graphics and layouts that match each of the three major phases that my blog has gone through. Which is kind of embarrassing since I’m now noticing that the oldest ones are completely messed up and the layouts are an absolute disaster. I definitely need to do something about those.

alternating book stack followed by a steaming teacup divider

Why was I never successful in updating all my content with each redesign?

Part of it was the tediousness of going through every single blog post, changing the graphics, and adding alt text for them. There’s also the fact that I would have a very strong urge to update the actual text content of the posts, and I didn’t want to end up editing the text of all my old posts.

I feel like part of being “authentic” is to accept that that was how Past Me used to write her posts, and that those were my thoughts then, even if they do differ now.

Which also leads to my thoughts on changing book reviews/ratings. Those were my “genuine” thoughts when I wrote the post, or I read the book and wrote the review, and I don’t think it’s totally right to just update them to fit what I think now.

And I say genuine in quotes because I don’t totally trust that what I wrote was really how I felt one hundred percent, and not what I was “influenced” to feel. Especially with reviews, there are some books that I admit to myself now that I probably was very influenced to love and give a positive review/rating to because everybody was loving the book, so I in turn read it and “loved” it.

By the way, these posts and reviews I’m thinking of are mostly from the 2019 era of my blogging, because that’s when I was very much entrenched in the book community and read all the popular books. I’ve gone through my GoodReads from that period and sometimes I have the urge to lower my ratings on some books because now that I’ve had a couple of years to think on them, I really don’t see those books to be as earth-shattering as I originally thought they were.

However, I don’t end up lowering those ratings, because there had to be some kernel of truth to my enjoyment of the book so it doesn’t really feel fair to my Past Self to erase how she judged the books just because I’m skeptical of that rating/review now.

And the same thing goes with the posts on my blog: I feel like it’s unfair to impose what I feel now on what my Past Self felt. It would also be destroying the chance for me to reflect on how far I’ve come since I’ve started blogging, and to see how I’ve grown as a person through my posts. I know that in the past when I reflected* on some of my first posts, I noticed that I could identify my blogging voice and recognize it amidst all the cringe. And that was so special for me; I was really so happy to see that.

If I edited all my posts though, I wouldn’t be able to see that later.

*ironically, this post I linked has old graphics from my green vine-y theme days. why I had red header texts underneath green vines, I have no idea 🤦🏾‍♀️

There’s also the thought that what I’m considering to be cringe is relative. I look on some of my old posts now and feel embarrassed by them, but when I wrote them, I genuinely thought they were good. Who knows, in another three years I might feel like curling up into a hole if I come back to reread this post. So, is it really worth it to edit out the past that I think is embarrassing when what I currently consider to be great might make me embarrassed in the future?

That’s my general dilemma when it comes to updating the actual text of old reviews or posts. If it was just grammatical editing or layout restructuring, that’s perfectly fine as far as I’m concerned because it does help to give my blog a cohesive look. It’s just that I’m incredibly lazy and the thought of editing 300+ posts does not sound appealing at all.

…even though my old posts look really wonky; it’s as if WP updated itself and the way I wrote posts back then isn’t supported anymore (even though I’m pretty sure I used block editor from the very start…) so it’s all a huge mess.

I also wonder at times how many people are really going to see those old posts anyway? Is it really worth the effort to edit them, if pretty much no one is even reading them? And I say pretty much, because I have noticed that some of my very first posts do get visits. Though, I’m always skeptical and wonder if it’s an actual reader, or if it’s just a spam bot trying to leave comments on them. Would spam bots be registered by WP as views/visitors? I don’t know…

book stack with a steaming tea cup on top surrounded by swirls divider

To Conclude:

One solution that I saw when I was reading all of your posts from last week was including dated notes/entries explaining new thoughts or updates that were made. I think it’s a pretty great idea because you can avoid the dilemma of “erasing” your past thoughts and opinions, while at the same time making it known what your current stance is.

I’ve noticed that some people do that with their reviews on Goodreads if they’ve read a book multiple times, so they sometimes share new thoughts from their recent re-reads while still keeping their original review. That would definitely be a solution that I think would work rather well for me, if I could just convince myself to start the task of going through all those old reviews and posts.

And those are my two cents for today.

book stack with a steaming tea cup on top surrounded by swirls divider

This Week’s Participants

May I have a word?

Some questions for you:

  • Do you buy secondhand books? Why or why not? Where do you buy them from?
  • What do you think about updating your old content/reviews/ratings? Have you ever done so?
  • How many redesigns have you gone through? If you’ve ever done one, do you keep your old content that doesn’t follow the new theme, or do you edit them all to match?

Talk to me in the comments below!

8 thoughts on “Updating Old Content & Reviews – Let’s Talk Bookish

  1. I don’t usually update my old reviews if I find them cringy, but I will occasionally, especially if I got something wrong. Like sometimes I’ll just misread the book lmao. While I OCCASIONALLY delete stuff from my old reviews, I usually just put in an edit in brackets. For some reason I’m way more likely to judiciously edit my Goodreads reviews than the reviews on my blog? I’m not sure why that is.

    Like

  2. I buy secondhand books from a local FB group. Not bad, to be honest. Famous books for like USD3 a pop. And I don’t really update posts, especially on Goodreads, because I enjoy seeing my evolution is a reader. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Like

  3. Yeah, I like the idea of dating changes to your posts and reviews too. I also feel like it would get increasingly hard to update all of your posts to match each new design update you make to your blog. I also see your point about how there’s a ‘kernel of truth’ to how much you liked something – just because your opinion of a book has changed doesn’t mean that your original opinion wasn’t valid, as it was how you felt then.

    Like

  4. The only time I have updated a post was redesigning my blog and I was reading an old post, realised I wanted to change some things then I ended up rewriting the entire post. It is a slippery slope to start editing old content as I’ve changed so much in how I write, so spend too much time changing it. I didn’t think it was worth it in the end and like you say it is a time capsule into the thoughts I used to have and they hopefully show my growth over the years 😂
    Great discussions. I think it is interesting to consider 🥰

    Like

  5. Ahh, I loved your thoughts on all of this, Rukky. Especially because you brought up some good points about updating older posts and using that as a method of growth that I hadn’t thought about before.

    Also, your shout out made my day. THANK YOU. 🖤 I hope you are doing okay!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.