That title is a bit unclear. I was trying to resume a complex thought in a few words and I failed. Today I want to think a bit about the practice of bloggers cutting themselves off from the blogging community.
First I should say that I have no judgment call about it. I still think there’s no right or wrong way to blog. I’m just curious about the phenomenon as I’ve seen it happen a few times now and frankly there are aspects of it that are attractive.
There are a few successful bloggers that pretty much never interact with other bloggers unless it’s in their own comments section. They don’t keep up with the WordPress community, they don’t read other people’s posts and they don’t comment or follow anyone. Their blogging experience is contained to their own blogs.
I know a few bloggers like that and like I said some are very successful. Usually those that have been around for many years and post very regularly. These are blogs that were likely not create by people looking for a social network and their model is a bit different from a lot of other blogs. Also these specific blogs have always been that way to the best of my knowledge. Usually they have a better following off of WordPress and occasionally they are professional blogs which pay for their posts.
But there’s also another type of solitary blogger. Bloggers that are very involved and active in the aniblogging community and then for whatever reason (lack of time or getting burned out for instance) decide to withdraw more or less completely. Sometimes these are publicized moves. The blogger will announce they are moving their blog off WordPress but will keep posting or that they are taking a break from reading other people’s blogs for a while. Sometimes they just sort of stop liking stuff but don’t really mention it or anything.
I understand the urge. As someone who does still read and strive to discover a lot of anime blogs, it really can be very time consuming. I also know that some people can get tied of reading other bloggers poo poo their favourite shows or take a contrary position in an issue that’s important to them. There are a few good reasons to not venture out of your blog too much.
Then there are practical reasons. When you also write your own blog, you want to keep your mind and voice fresh. Someone might worry about inadvertently copying someone’s style because they’ve been reading so many if their posts, or sticking to the same old subject as everyone else because it’s easy to get sucked into groupthink. Those are viable worries. A lot of comedians and professional authors also go through periods of avoiding contemporaries works for those types of reasons.
In practice though, I’ve yet to see it really work out. The blogs that are thriving without much/any contact with the community were that way when I started but I haven’t really seen any blogger successfully transition from one to the other yet. I do think it’s possible though. It’s just a matter of figuring out what one wants from their blog, in my opinion.
I should say that I’m coming at this entirely from outside observation and a few conversations I’ve had on the subject with bloggers that have tried it out. I have not personally ever tried to pull out of public interaction with other bloggers.
From what I gather one of the big issues some bloggers run across when making this type of move is a drop in interaction. Because of the way WordPress works, it’s much easier for other bloggers to like and comment on posts. A lot of people won’t want to bother creating an account just to click a little star and I understand them. Moreover anime bloggers are the type of people who already enjoy writing about anime in a public forum and are likely to have thoughts on the subject as they have researched their own posts. So if your readership becomes more mainstream and less saturated with other bloggers, it’s not unusual to see likes and comments drop off, even if views actually increase.
A lot of bloggers are well aware of this and prepared for the hit but when it comes to actually not getting any feedback on posts, it can be more demotivating than anticipated.
Another more unexpected hurdle I have heard is that passion feeds passion. Without a community around them to get excited about the new anime season or giddy about currently airing shows, some people start getting less excited about anime themselves and move on to something else, which they feel they can share with a fandom. They also don’t care as much about issues they have no one to discuss with. So eventually they start blogging less or move on to completely different topics. And then the anime audience that is still following them starts to dwindle as well if the new topics don’t interest them.
I understand that all things considered, the WordPress anime blogging community is pretty small and if one want to make it big they’ll want to reach a wider audience. With limited time available, it’s normal that they’ll want to free up the time invested in cultivating a blogger readership and spend it on promoting their blogs to a more general public. All of that makes sense but it does come with a few obstacles. And the few people I have talked to didn’t expect them. I’m not quite sure if there’s a formula to navigate these obstacles with limited negative impacts.
Do you have any tricks for keeping motivation with less interaction? How about a way to keep up interaction without sacrificing all your free time?