.Here we are finally. The last question and possibly the most abstract one. Why do we blog? I know a lot of you already have the answer to this one. I have read enough of your comments to know that generally speaking there are two camps. Those who blog for themselves – ie. funsies. And those that want to make a career out of it in some way (or at least a profit) i.e. moneyz!
But I think there must be something more to it. I could be wrong. I just feel like blogging, especially anime blogging is a generally particularly inefficient way to make money and requires a lot of effort to put together.
I usually hear the advice that you should blog for yourself first and foremost. Whenever I have published any general blogging posts, this is a line that comes up very often. From what I gather, it’s also the sentiment shared by the majority of bloggers. Most of us, it seems, blog for ourselves. Because we have some creative itch to scratch and we do that through our blogs.
However, I’ve also noticed that posts discussing how to get more views, followers, engagement, etc… and tips on growing a blog tend to be the most popular even among specifically anime bloggers. In the past year and a half, I’ve been following a large number of blogs here on WordPress and I’ve noticed certain trends come and go. The demand for information on increasing blog performance is very consistent however, and it seems to be a subject that is always of interest to our community.
This leads me to believe that even people who are blogging for themselves first, still attach some importance to reaching an audience. Maybe it’s not entirely about self-expression but also about communication. We want some feedback in order to get better, we crave interaction or maybe we just want to monetize our blogs so we needs them views.
No revolutionary information here. OK but that doesn’t actually answer the question in any way. Why do we blog, specifically on a topic as niche as anime? I’m going to venture a general guess, we want a connection.
I find that bloggers with a smaller but more vocal and dedicated reader base seem more motivated. They tend to post regularly and aside from some big exceptions, they also tend to not give up on their blogs. Because someone’s there waiting. I haven’t found any blogs that have mostly negative feedback. Blogs that concentrate on contrarian opinions. This sort of format does exist in a lot of media but either it’s not popular on WordPress or I haven’t discovered them yet. From what I’ve seen, openly aggressive posts just tend to be ignored. However, I figure that even a blog with negative but consistent feedback would also be motivating for the blogger.
This is a super general answer. A bit lacklustre for the ultimate post of this series. We say(write) things ‘cause we want to communicate. Freekin brilliant there, Irina! Fine, let’s bring it in a bit more. Anime blogs are by no means the most popular niche you can choose. Sure, anime is growing exponentially on the international market but the general fanbase isn’t really that prone to reading blogs.
Beauty, travel and food blogs which are a traditional format for photography tend to attract a lot more readers from the get-go. Book blogs also fare better as the base audience inherently enjoys reading and is likely to be attracted to the blog format over video. The opposite is true for anime fans. At the core, anime fans enjoy animation and video. Some of them may also like reading but there’s no guarantee.
Blogs have never been a traditional format to find and share anime pictures and there are already huge well-established platforms for reviews such as MAL and Reddit. Basically, the new anime fan may not naturally gravitate to WordPress or blogs in general to extend their hobby. But we did. And I wonder why.
In the past six months or so, I’ve spoken to a few bloggers about their experience and shared my own. Not only with blogging but with anime in general. And what I’ve found is that a very large percentage of anime bloggers I speak to, self-identify as atypical anime fans. Pretty much everyone I know that has an anime blog has told me at some point that their tastes don’t generally align with popular opinion and that they do not interact that much with anime fans outside of their blogs.
Of course, these are broad generalizations, but I’ve heard these statements enough to say there’s a pattern there. Beyond the need to create and interact there’s something specific to the drive for an anime blog instead of a YouTube channel, a subreddit or a club. I would wager that we’re not just looking to find other anime fans, we’re looking for a specific community. One that we don’t think we can find on those other platforms, even if they might be more popular.
And this is where I’m going to speak for myself. I would say I post half for myself, half for my readers. Those percentages change from posts to post but on average it’s a pretty even split. Sometimes I want to tell you guys something, but I also want to hear your thoughts on a particular subject. Sometimes I stumble upon information or a topic that I think you guys will enjoy even though I don’t have that much to add to it. If I get asked a question a few times, I may write up a post since it seems to be of interest. Stuff like that.
I never thought my blog would be anything close to popular. In fact, when I started, I was fully prepared to never have a reader. I was ok with the idea of letting my thoughts exist in the void to be discovered only years after I’d given up on the blog altogether. I just wanted to put those thoughts somewhere. As such, I really didn’t consider which platform was likely to get me the most views.
To be honest, I was a bit intimidated by the idea of having some half thought out post become hugely popular and never being able to live down some stupid stuff I said carelessly. I also didn’t want to ruin my blogging experience by painstakingly going over every post countless times to ensure perfection. The fact is, I wanted a platform that was a little calmer, that seemed a bit more supportive. I wanted to blog because I wanted to communicate, with friends.
That sounds a little pathetic. I don’t mean it as in I wanted friends. I just didn’t want my posts to become “work”. I didn’t want them judged by critics, evaluated by clients or attacked by “experts”. I wasn’t blogging to gain credibility or recognition and as such, I didn’t want the responsibilities that come with such things.
I wanted a place that was active enough to give me a sense of connection and community but still sheltered from the less attractive aspects of interacting with large groups of people. I also wanted the calmer pacing that a blog offers. There are a structure and sense of accomplishment to maintain your own blog that for me was not present in other formats.
In short, I blog because it makes me feel like I created something in a venue where other people won’t try to destroy it. And I share it with readers because they literally make my posts better. The comments add and enrich the thoughts I had in a way I could never do by myself. Sometimes, a blogger will even make a response post and carry the conversation further. Giving a stray thought life of its own. As a generally curious person, this is one of the most rewarding aspects of blogging for me.
I guess I failed at this one. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why we all blog. However, maybe you could let me know why you blog and we could figure it out together?