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.
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.
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.
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!