Well well, I found this pretty cool: I was invited by Ayame of The Beautiful World to participate in Reflections on Animanga Blogs. I honestly considered not doing it, but I thought about it most of last Friday, and in the end, I accepted her invitation because it seems like it could be a reference point for bloggers who might want some ideas about what a good blog is and maybe those who might be interested in joining the ‘sphere. Basically, the point of this is to figure out what we really want to see out of a anime, manga, or Japanese Pop Culture blog. So, here’s my two cents about it which I’ll stress with a semi-disclaimer: you can take the advice however you want. Only you can really decide how to run your blog, and my thoughts shouldn’t have to change a thing if it works for you.
What do you like to read and why? (reviews, editorials, etc)
Just about everything. From reviews, editorials, news, and interviews, it really just has to be something related to what I like, and I go from there. This stems from me wanting to gain knowledge about Japanese Pop Culture, especially since I’m pretty behind on a lot of anime and manga. For example, I’m almost certain all my writers have watched more anime than I have. Kind of a depressing thought when you think about it long enough. But let’s get to simple terms for all the four I’ve touched on:
1. Reviews: For episodic reviews, these usually feature an blogger talking about an anime episode or manga chapter that sometimes–not all the time–have an idea or two that they talk about that I didn’t think of when watching or reading, in addition to giving their opinions of it. When done right they’re pretty fun to read. Full reviews do two things: they either help me decide whether or not to check a work (after all, I ended up watching REDLINE and Madoka Magica because of it), or validate or invalidate how I had thought about the work, which is why I check them out.
2. Editorials: A new look or spin on a topic involving Japanese Pop Culture is usually an interesting read.
3. Interviews: I love interviews. I like doing them (though I’m always lazy about it) and reading them; they provide one or two things that you may not have thought about before, even if the subject matter is not something you like or is out of your expertise. At least most of the time.
4. News: It helps to stay current on what gets licensed, simulcasted, etc.
What do you do when you stumble across a new blog?
I’m pretty simple. I really just look at the content and see what they got. Generally, I go through the articles and see if there’s anything worth checking out, usually anime or manga related. If the content’s all right, I first comment on the post I felt was a good read, then I generally subscribe via WordPress or add it to the RSS Feed. If the content is to my liking, I also check the about page. Not really much more I can add to that.
What must a good animanga blog have and do?
Please, please, please, just be interesting. Some bloggers (and/or readers) are bothered by design; some are bothered by lack of (or too many) pictures; some are bothered by long texts on the screen. For me, you just have to be interesting, and that means you better know how to write. Writing for me trumps all. I’m clearly not a judge/professional on web design, but some people have certain conditions or can properly understand poor web design. I’m fortunate to not be one of those people, which means I can judge you on the only thing that matters: your writing. Your personality. Can you provide me with some knowledge, something fun, something enjoyable? And is it something I can comment appropriately on? That’s what a good animanga blog must have: enjoyable to solid writing. Needless to say, really bad writing will prevent me from continuing on with your site. I do, however, consider what your native language is as a factor, because I know a lot of bloggers are not from the U.S, so the writing can be rough.
Oh, ok. I kind of lied about the web design thing. It’s not the be all, end all for me. But uh, at least load and move relatively fast. And by god, NOTHING like this (Kudos…or not so Kudos to Inushinde for finding this link).
What blogging behaviors annoy you?
Not a lot, to be honest. I’ve come for the content; I stay for the content. That’s kind of why I’m following a lot of blogs. But I just said there’s not a lot of behaviors that annoy me–that of course means I do have a few behaviors that annoy me:
- Once upon a time, I was scrolling through a blog. It had a bunch of pictures, a short summary and impressions, and was nothing special, but it was alright. The amount of links I saw that day in that short summary was amazingly horrible. Um, do you want me to click somewhere else? I’m supposed to gain extra knowledge or something? Obviously, not saying linking is bad, and it mostly depends on what type of linking you do. But if I’m reading an episodic post and you’re gonna give me a link to almost every single thing, that’s a sign for me to get the hell out and never go back.
- The lack of a contact form. This is probably the one thing annoys me the most. It’s one thing if the author states it in their about page that they’re not trying to be a serious blogger or what not, just blogging for the hell of it, then fine, I can understand. But if you had the bright idea of saying a lot of good stuff in the about page, provide cool content, and act like you want to be taken seriously, at least provide a way for readers to get in touch, or provide an easy way to figure out how we get in contact with you.
- Finally, update, update, update! Life obviously gets to people so it’s hardly the fault of the blogger, but man, a person like me will forget you existed if you disappear for a lot of months. So, try to update somehow I guess. Or notify us you’ll be disappearing for a while.
To something I find almost minor: I know some bloggers who read other blogs have problems when bloggers don’t respond to their replies. The only thing I can really say to that is it shouldn’t be the ultimate dealbreaker in deciding whether or not you follow a blog. Let’s go out on a limb and say if the author doesn’t respond to any of your comments after some weeks, then you move on. Of course, that being said, authors should reply back to their readers, unless they don’t want to have comments.
Anyways, I guess these are my thoughts on the matter. Long story short: you take away anything from my post, just actually write something interesting and what you like cause you can’t cater to everyone. Don’t be lazy at best, banal at worst.
Reflection on Animanga Blogs Participants (Check these posts too):
FoxyLady, Sabishii Miruku, E Minor, Kai, Marina, Overlord-G, Flawfinder, Draggle, Trollkastel, Flomu, Bobbierob, Canne, Kuuki, Ryan, ZakuAbumi, ADayWithoutMe, Ahelo, Inushinde, Subarashikun, A Day Without Me, Chikorita157, Myst, Lostty, Paper, NHRV Staff, AceRailgun, Nopy