As some of you may know, I don’t know that many anime fans IRL. In fact, despite having a fairly successful and large anime convention every year, Montreal doesn’t really cater to anime fans that much. There is one Manga bookstore in the city and it carries mostly French titles and you can get some merch in Chinatown but that’s about it. I can’t prove any of this but I have a very strong feeling that our Chinatown merch is not exactly fully licensed. It looks a lot like AliExpress stuff just 10x the price. I’m saying Montreal is a huge city with comparatively little anime culture to speak of.

So throughout the years, I have taken to the intranets to find this anime community and people I could chat with about my hobby of choice. This is a part of the reason I started this blog in the first place and it has served me well. But before landing on WordPress I did try out some other options.

it was a wild adventure!

Let me give you a bit of context for this post. The blogging landscape, in general, has always been rather transitory. People pack up and stop posting on a regular basis, without any warning. Sadly, I have noticed that when they do, they also stop reading and interacting with other people’s blogs. I haven’t seen anyone decide to stop posting and continue to engage on WordPress, they usually move to different venues when they do. And that’s why I started thinking about those different venues as well.

For instance, a lot of bloggers are sharing their thoughts on Twitter or doing events on discord. Personally, one of the problems I have always had with these platforms is that they are extremely reactionary. Both are designed to drive fast-paced engagement and encourage short but flashy exchanges. It is difficult to have any sort of actual conversation on ether and that’s simply not what they are meant for.

On Discord, I will likely get interrupted by the new person coming into the server and conversations get hijacked after a few lines unless I am on a smaller server or having a private chat. And Twitter is… not great. Also, it can really wear me down since it tends to be a go-to place for everyone to just vent without context.

I’m sure there are ways to use both of these platforms to have engaging and interesting discourse but I haven’t figured them out. And for me, the little payoff I have managed to get isn’t worth the effort or the downsides. So I gave up pretty quickly. Now they are just places to chat with people I already know. Basically, both have been reduced to messenger apps for me. That’s great until you want to have a bit of a larger conversation, meet new people or discover an unexpected point of view.

I’m not overdramatic – you’re overdramatic!

Another platform I see Bloggers moving to is YouTube. I get the appeal of this. YouTube has a much MUCH larger audience base and for anyone that started their blog hoping to get a lot of engagement in the form of views and likes, YouTube is probably the better venue. It’s a lot more effort but you get to reach a lot more people. A lot of bloggers are creative extroverts. After all, we are “creating” posts and freely sharing them with the internet where potentially anyone and everyone could see them. It takes at least a bit of a showman personality to pick that up as a hobby. And I do believe YouTube appeals to that specific part of our personalities.

I watch a lot of YouTube. I don’t really watch any of the big anime YouTubers but I do follow a few I have gotten to know through their WordPress blogs such as Taku. It’s a great platform and allows people a ton of tools for creativity. But as far as discourse goes… The fact is that YouTube comments just aren’t a great place to have conversations. It’s unwieldy and tough to follow through.

In many ways, a platform that is already text-based and allows for longer and more profound thoughts to get shared is really the most likely to yield conversation. Such a platform will attract an audience that enjoys reading anime and therefore has a slightly more than average chance of wanting to write their thoughts on anime as well. And having a bit more space to layout your thoughts simply means you can share more intricate and detailed thoughts.

But of course, any functionality a platform may have is completely useless if it doesn’t have a user base. And this is where WordPress may falter.

In case you’re wondering I’m using the images in my library I tagged with the word “lonely”

I should say this is a purely theoretical post. I’m not planning on leaving WordPress any time soon. But if there is another place to get the discourse I seek, I would love to hear about it. And if I eventually find that WordPress no longer meets my needs, it’s good to know your options, you know?

What I thought of immediately was Reddit. In many ways, Reddit is really a collection of blogs that interact and connect together. That’s really cool. On paper, it would be the most best place for any and all online conversations. But in practice… It’s not like there isn’t any cool stuff on Reddit. There’s a ton of fun pages. But there’s also a lot to wade through and it’s occasionally not the most welcoming environment.

And as a blogger, it just doesn’t feel as personal to me. Talking about an anime on Reddit to me feels similar to writing a review on MAL. It’s not as personal as something I put on this blog. But maybe that’s just me. And I did find that it occasionally had a Twitter problem where things escalate or devolve very quickly and for seemingly no reason.

I did mention MAL and in fact, I do like reading the AniList discussions of specific shows or episodes. For me, that’s probably the second-best place to find conversations that work for me. They tend to be mostly populated by people who honestly want to discuss the anime in good faith and that makes all the difference.

All of this to say that for me WordPress is still the best place to get my anime conversation on. I also get a lot of satisfaction and fun in putting posts together. Getting pictures, captioning stuff making it fit a certain look. All of that is unique to having your own blog but WordPress also comes with a little prebuilt community which is a lot of help. And I quite like WordPress. However, if you guys know of another place where people really talk about anime and preferably not argue too much over it, please tell me about it!

48 thoughts

  1. I had an interesting experience where I linked my “Anime Nudists” on the r/nudists sub red dot. My normal number of views is 100 per day for the entire blog. That post hit 700 views by itself. Didn’t get any likes or comments from it. I guess you have to be on WP to do that.

    1. I think you need a gravitar to like but. I do think anyone can comment but without an account they show up as anonymous

      1. I don’t have a gravitar account, so to see what happens if you reply on WordPress without one just look at my posts. I just enter an e-mail address and name to reply. That’s all.

  2. Great post and discussion. Last century when I was doing all the “right things” to promote my work I was on all the platforms. I even did one or two Youtube vids (OMG AWFUL) As time went on I winnowed it down to what worked for me, and in the end I ended up with nearly the same thing as everyone here. Facebook for actual friends and family (although I never check mine any more – hubby tells me the news from his LOL) and the blogs I read here on WordPress and that’s about it. The funny thing is the WordPress blog was probably one of the very last things I started and I never used it much. Fast forward to developing an interest in anime, and in reviews to direct my next watch, and I found that at WordPress. In time, I made some friends and have something like a community. Once in a great while I even blog, but not much. Compared to most of you my opinions on anime or gaming are that of a dabbler. Life events… I don’t share as much online as I used to. Various reasons. Most of all I’ve pretty much stopped creating and lost the urge to create. Personal issues. The bit of interaction I get and the dear friends I’ve met on WordPress is just right for me 😀 and the funny thing is – I was actually looking for a community when I fell into this one – looking for anime recommendations. I’m so glad I did. Don’t you dare ever leave. But if you do, yes, I’d probably follow you.

    1. If I do leave it’s only because I’m heading south so we can go have some Margaritas and laughs while exchanging opinions on anime vampires… I have a pretty detailed plan

  3. I am defiantly guilty of just dropping my posts without announcements. I guess my thinking was that no one asked about how I was doing in terms of my writing so I just never really thought that anyone was waiting for me to write again. In terms of engagement even before my breaks I am terrible. I’m just too nervous to chat with people, but I feel the groove to write again so I intend to engage more to reach a broader audience.

  4. Dawnstorm is about the only person I can think of who stopped blogging but remained engaged — at least as far as I know! But I think Dawnstorm is the exception that proves the rule.

    I’ve been thinking about discourse a lot, too. My conclusions are very close to yours. The only difference is that I remember some forerunner technologies that might have been better than what we have today, except times changed. One of those techs was USENET/newsgroups. In their heyday, you could go there and find almost any topic. I remember spending hours chatting about Farscape in alt.tv.farscape (I think). But as the internet became more popular, the ratio of earnest conversation to thrill-seeking/trolling flipped, and it just wasn’t fun anymore.

    I think Reddit is probably the spiritual successor to USENET. It put a better interface on top of it, but you explained its challenges. Discord reminds me of Internet Relay Chat, but like you said, lilke IRC, it doesn’t reward nuanced conversation. Neither does Discord (depending on the audience, of course — I don’t mean to sound disrespectful).

    I used to try following some anime bloggers on YouTube, but they seemed to drop faster than bloggers. That, and I don’t have time to watch video. I barely have time to read! And watching on 2x speed feels disrespectful, especially after a vlogger put in so much effort into intros and outros.

    I haven’t found anything better than blogging for conversations. I’m part of a smaller community, sure, but the proportion of honest conversation to trolling is better than anything else I can think of. There’s always discussing anime over drinks, but I don’t have the budget to fly all over the world! And I prefer hiding behind my keyboard anyway.

    1. Blogging just fits right for me!

      I didn’t even know Dawnstorm use to blog. I was under the impression he never wanted to do so

      1. I hope I haven’t confused him with Highway, who used to write for METANORN.

        I feel like my brain has all of these index pointers that have errored out…

      2. You’re right. I never had a blog. I came straight into the comments sections from bulletin boards; mostly creative writing at first, and then the Animesuki boards. Forum conversations have slowed down considerably over the years.

  5. Totally unrelated, but Montreal Otakuthon eh? That’s one of the first few conventions I would love to hit up once I am able to. What’s more, I’ve heard more positive things about it compared to Anime North in Toronto w.r.t bureaucracy and events.

    I use Twitter as well to promote my posts, and I have, in my experience found that it’s an alright place to share about anime thoughts but a complete political/religious cesspool. Forum sites like MAL are pretty dead most of the time too. Moreover I’m more accustomed to WordPress mainly because of my experience in WordPress web development, so I’m able to navigate it more easily compared to say, Tumblr or Blogspot.

  6. I feel much the same way about WordPress. Here I interact and feel like I might actually matter. (To someone at least, intermittently.) Even if the occasional nude hiking selfie frightens some people away.

    WordPress feels like sitting around a fireplace with a few good friends, a drink, and a friendly dog.

    Reddit, Twitter and the other short-form social media feel a singles bar. “Conversations” happen but they feel more like banter than anything deep enough to be satisfying. I am terrible at small talk anyhow. And I’ve seen them get very toxic, very quickly.

    Facebook is nothing but a glorified messenger app. I use it to keep up with close friends and family.

    YouTube would be a much bigger undertaking than I’d be willing to commit to. I don’t consider myself photogenic, my voice is tinny, and speaking requires a different skill set than writing. I’ve tried several times to develop that skillset, even taking acting lessons and working on a one-man play. It hasn’t improved to where I’d feel confident doing before a camera on a regular basis.

    I’ll stick with WordPress because I feel most comfortable blogging. And as weak as they are, WP still has better tools than other blogging platforms. I have gone on a digital diet as of late, cutting back on most social media. I am finding it very difficult to stick to a limit on my post size. I guess I am too much of a blabber mouth.

    1. That’s a fantastic analogy. Twitter is a bar. You might go there for socializing but not for conversation….

  7. Like you I have tried other platforms but don’t get the same connection. While the blogging audience might be transitory the connections feel more real than on Reddit or similar.

  8. Honestly at your level I think you should look into writing a monthly Zine with writers as passionate and talented as you are. I think you kill it. Your enthusiasm is contagious and your an authority on your subject. ☺️

      1. 😅😅 yeah – time is of course an issue. But I think you could probably hop off WP and an audience would find you. But yeah you’re right it’s be like a couple year transition that would be a second job – more than your site already is 😂

        You do deserve a big audience though!

          1. Well yeah but hypothetically your audience follows you 😂

            Easier said than done obviously.

            Best solution? You open your own brick and mortar in Montreal and all of your readers eventually make the pilgrimage and buy things from your manga/anime store 😂

  9. I love this post so much! I’ve just had one of my “blog attacks” recently. It’s when I feel as though there are better things on other platforms, outside of the traditionally-perceived blogosphere. But ultimately, I keep coming back to WordPress. Like you, some of my social media have whittled down to scrolling for information and messaging with friends.

    You have clearly expressed the pros and cons of each platform. And you have decided that WordPress is still the one place you like best. Why do you think that is?

    One thing you have achieved (which is still what I refuse to do) is to be a master of a subject matter. In your case, it’s anime. Account niches have long replaced general topic blogs in all platforms. I see the convenience of it. But it’s just not my style. I want to talk about anime, then jump to movies, then jump to life updates. Today, that’s just not the thing to do. It alienates followers. Which is why today totally sucks for me.

    Bloggers are writers and we want our stories read. We want the attention. We want people to react and respond to our thoughts in text. Just a few hours ago, during my blog attack, I watched a YouTube video entitled “Is Blogging Dead? Does it really Have a Future? By YouTuber Create and Go. It tells of the reasons why traditional blogging is “dead” even though it isn’t and he gives ways to “improve” our blogging.

    But by improving, he means the capitalistic sense of gaining a lot of followers and even monetizing.

    And that reminded me that that is not why I do this.

    I study literature and creative writing and here in my country, that’s considered 3rd world, we eventually learn that no matter how grand our ideas and stories are, they will only really be appreciated by the very small literary scene that we have, our own peers. I think of the words Terre Thaemlitz, the musician and DJ, said. Terre Thaemlitz now has some social media but when you check their pages, they’re empty. Their newsletter is only, if they are feeling it, up to only twice a year, and most of their information are really only in their website. Anyway, in an interview, Thaemlitz said that “if you’re trying to have these very specific conversations that have value to a limited number of people but those people have an actual, invested need to cultivate the discussion, that’s gonna happen some place other than these shopping mall equivalent websites where you step in and everything is there on YouTube, whatever…” They deliberately made their website hard to navigate and figure out, insisting that, “People who don’t care about this, enough to take five seconds to figure out the website, they are not part of the conversation.”

    So yes, what I want to say is that the people who you are looking for, maybe they are already here. Maybe this “dying” out phase is the perfect opportunity of weeding out the bad seeds and it’s just a matter of looking or getting the attention of people with your same interests.

    Have you thought of making a quarterly thing where you invite people for conversations on a particular show? Like a book club for anime? You already have the followers.

    And lastly, I just want to say that I hope the day you quit WordPress will never come. It would be a darn shame. Your work and words have reached me all the way here at the tip of the Philippine South. I hope I can reference this essay of yours in my next blog post.

    More power to you!

    1. I’m going to print this comment out and frame it. No onehas ever called me a master of anything let alone anime! You made my day. It’s a little self centered that I’m focusing on that when you have such a well thought out and detailed comment…

      I have thought about a few colaborative prjects. I actually want to maybe put something together where I get a whole bunch of bloggers to just wrote a few lines about airing anime each week for a huge combined seasobal review thing. The logistics are still blurry. Unfortunately my wrokload is pretty heavy and I’m kind of lazy. I should put more effort into organizing things.

    2. I feel your pain about the general purpose blog not being popular. If I only wrote about anime I would hardly ever write. I write far more comments about other people’s anime blogs.

      1. Hey Fred. Nice to know there’s still someone somewhere who doesn’t like niches. I mean, the categories should be enough right? It’ll only take someone literally less than 5 seconds to check out blog out and find out we’ve neatly grouped our writings! Alas, we’re a truly dying breed. We might start to consider the suggestion of @terranceacrow, the comment just below yours.

            1. LOL!

              I don’t know if I am a good example of “nudist culture.” I just do my own thing. Take it or leave it but it is my own interpretation. Every other nudist blog I am aware of has little or no readership beyond the nudist community.

              I try not to be confined with one social bubble but I am unsure if it is useful.

    3. “But it’s just not my style. I want to talk about anime, then jump to movies, then jump to life updates. Today, that’s just not the thing to do. It alienates followers. Which is why today totally sucks for me.”

      Have you considered starting multiple, subject-specific blogs? I have three right now (that I own up to). Whether I publish to one or more, I write the same number of posts, so it’s no more time for me. The biggest benefit would be to the readers who prefer a single subject.

      Just something to think about — I don’t like the idea of any writing feeling constrained!

      1. Hey there! This might just be my future 🙁 If you recall, I followed you on Instagram and you very kindly followed back. I hope I can directly message you for a bit of advice! Just a couple of questions regarding your suggestion ^^

  10. Originally I intended to use WordPress and the blog as practice and a stepping stone to move to Youtube, as I watch it all the time, and it was I always had it mind. While I still plan to do YouTube at some point, WordPress and the blog have managed to wiggle their way into my heart, and if I ever stopped, I feel that I would miss it a lot. So when I eventually try YouTube, I still won’t be able to leave WordPress behind. I think that’s partly because the community is kind of small. It means I get to know the people here more personally, and I really like that. I genuinely think of a lot of my fellow bloggers as friends, and I think that’s a great thing.

  11. This is something I’ve thought about as well. WordPress has problems, but it’s still the best place for me to write about anime, games, and all the rest. As far as the creative extroverts, I’m not one of them — maybe creative but absolutely an introvert, so YouTube is absolutely not an option for me, and no other platform offers the same kind of control over your own writing and your ability to put your own brand on your writing as this one does from what I’ve found, so I’ll stick with it exclusively. Even my Twitter account is basically just a promotion for my site.

    1. I’m the same way. I love talking about anime and manga, but I’m definitely not an extrovert. I don’t think Youtube will ever be an option for me. I like how wordpress gives me control over my own website. I’m kind of tech savvy, so this really works for me.

  12. I think it’s good to have options for when the need to go for different platform arises, and yeah sometimes people tend to leave it altogether after awhile, myself included. Did some blogging few years ago before restarting it this year.

    And yeah, Discord is a good platform to connect with more people, but the effort to micromanage everything is quite a hassle, most people that does well in em usually has a number of moderators to keep them in check, and it still won’t be a cakewalk.

    I’d say Youtube would be the best alternative. Similar to blogs, you can make your points and opinions across concisely and then ask for feedbacks by the end of your video presentation, and go for the commentsthat are into the topic. Or, you can join the discussions that take place in a Youtube comments section in a video that’s discussing the topic you’re into. Anilist is pretty fun too, particularly in the forum discussions. Just joined it a few days ago and so far the peeps there are quite welcoming.

    And lastly, I’m quite sure in any community, especially in the big ones, discourse and arguments can occur. All in all, pick any one of them and give it a shot till you find one that clicks for you

    Just my two cents anyways. Hope it helps 😀

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