Category Archives: Blogging

Huggles Boggled

Blogging and journalism are like salt water and freshwater; to some anyways. Today, they are mixed; you can see the afternoon newspaper dying in the streets and reborn online with the likes of industry, pro bloggers and journalists who release bits of news in a blog format.

But are they suppose to? I guess this guy probably doesn’t think so. What surprised me was my own reaction about he being surprised at ANN’s relatively new tack in regards to internet reporting.

Li Mei Fong...by Asako Nishida

Undeniably true, however, is that ANN is getting more traffic the more they dabble in this so-called “huggle” readership. If you read the comments in that In Search Of post, one of the commenter mentioned this and, well, that’s what blogs are all about! At the same time, unlike other news blog sites that we might be familiar with, ANN is sort of in mid-transition between a more traditional news website to a news blog.

As one of the first major anime fandom company on the internet, I didn’t really pay ANN any mind because it utterly failed to serve my needs (mainly protonews and a source of industry hubbub which was primarily what AoDVD was for). At least, until their mighty encyclopedia started to gain momentum. As a factoid, the first anime entry in the database is Angel Links. That should give you a clue to its vintage.

[Coincidentally that was one of the first series that I’ve had the joy of watching the digital raws while the series was airing. (And the subsequent joy of dropping it.) Anyways.]

So, yes; if we took a look at what fan blogs are about this day and age, we’ll see how things break down:

  • Episode reviews, previews, retrospectives
  • News – Both straight-up news and entertaining news. Does Mainichi Daily News counts? But I was thinking more like, say, akibablog or Canned Dogs.
  • Special features – Like a March madness tournament. Like blogging about your company’s Blu-Ray strategy. Like a sound clip from Yukana. But usually just reports from cons–the home of the huggles.

A lot of blogs mix them up, including this one. But I think that just lays out the things you will see ANN do more of. Being a commercial entity they already have a leg up on getting special interviews, so as a potential reader I hope they can do more of those.

The role of editorial bloggers and editorial blogging, however, is something else. To an extent, the power of blogging comes from the ability to do whatever you want with disregard to any kind of professional standard. If quality writing, professionalism and speed are important things for any publication, why is ANN getting the readership it gets?

Perhaps a better way to see the big picture is to understand how people gather information using the internet. And quite simply put, as long as it isn’t a time intensive and otherwise pain in the neck kind of a thing, people are quite content reading the words of a recent ESL person versus someone who has been writing professionally for decades. What is important is the information within, and does the information in the format presented serves the needs of the person looking for it. Or at least that’s how I judge the quality of information.

But that’s just how I see ANN, as a source of information. Different people perceive ANN as different things, after all.

That’s blogging in a nutshell IMO. After that it’s just a long sliding scale from awful to awesome. We are here to serve our huggling overlords, and many bloggers double duty as both. It doesn’t matter how we call ourselves, our readers can tell the difference (so we believe).

After all, it is the non-Serious-Business nature of internet blogging that makes amateur production feasible; there may very well be no incentive for a person to improve his or her blog if there is nothing to gain from it…much like how ANN has no incentive to improve the quality of its services?

It might be healthy to be obsessed with your blog’s traffic after all?

 


Election Year

If Saimoe is like the US Presidential campaign (it sort of is, and it even ends around November!) then we’re sort of doing something like the Primary here. Except for another country. And it is irrelevant for the most part, with each other. Plus, we’re about March Madness.

It’s sort of off topic, but I just want to share a few insights about moe elections and, well, this kind of fan activity in general.

1. Purpose.

One thing I really like about Saimoe is how it is impeccable in terms of getting a large group of people on the same page and voting for what they want. I guess that’s the Japanese for you. However it’s a terribly poorly designed contest even compared to its Korean counterpart. But that’s really only half the story. The purpose of Saimoe is somewhat tangential to the purpose of Korean Saimoe in that the latter is really just a popular vote-off. The former is almost a community building event as there is a standardized platform (2ch) where the fan community on the whole recognize as “official.”

When planning something like a moe election, you need a clear goal as to what you want to accomplish, and design around that goal. I like fun, fresh madness. I don’t care so much who wins. I do care about heated competition and excitement and entertainment generally. YMMV, I guess. I think it’s good to have a selection of stuff like this, Touhou Saimoe, SaiGAR, whatever.

2. Design

This is something that’s a little harder and require people who think it through, with experience. But it’s not hard–just get a good feeling as to who are your participants and take their interests into account. Usually after doing it a few times, you get pretty good with it.

3. Promotion

Don’t even bother. Just pick a group of people you want to do this thing with, and do a darn good job. People who enjoy it will just get others to join you. Maybe you want to throw the good word to the people around you just so they know it’s happening, but that’s really all you need.

4. Rules

It’s good to have well-communicated, clear rules. It doesn’t have to be fair, even, but it can’t appear to be partial. In fact even with sucky rules, if people playing the election game think it’s fun, they’ll do it anyways. And usually when their favorites are at stake, there’s plenty of motivation already. Don’t be afraid to take people’s suggestions freely, and freely reject them too. As long as you think it through before committing.

It’s a different bag when it comes to moderating the actual polls. It’s good to be familiar with what technology can offer you, and find people who can work with you. It’s great if people know what’s going on, that there’s transparency in the process. People like fair contests, and they’ll enforce things themselves if it’s made possible that way.

5. Incentive

It’s good to have incentives beyond the mere exercise of the contest. It’s optional for the most part, but sometimes it just makes life a little more fulfilling, even if what you get at the end is a bunch of fanart doodles you don’t like. The way I see it, if people are going through the motions and effort to make it happen, you might as well ride it as much as you can. For the little contest we’re running, we have some used goods. YMMV.


LOL Copyright

I just have to do this every once in a while.

This post is brought to you by killing time with William Patry‘s blog. Patry is better known as a leading copyright (and I guess also copyleft) guru working as Google’s chief copyright attorney, and he keeps a pretty fat blog. And as you may expect, I’m going for somewhat Longcat here too. TL;DR warning! And most of it won’t have much to do with anime, so feel free to skip towards the bottom.

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Momotato Updates, Omo Cheers

And there was order in the world yet again. Peace be with blog-kind and may we wish good will to all in this now-annual tradition.

And I really don’t have much more to say about that. What you could do, however, is to help me help all of us by goading Momotato back into blogging. Since all he does is watch anime off nico^2 (we really could use a blogger who tackles stuff from that perspective, but that’s for another day) anyways, it’s definitely easier for him to, I dunno, write stuff and put it on the internet instead of downloading stuff then watch it. Goad him, how? You can just send an encouraging message either using his email (which is momotato -> google mail) or write embarrassing but flattering things about him in the comments of blogs he reads.

Why? It’s fun and he’s a jolly fella. And I think there’s something we all gain when we bother him, especially those of you who used to read his blog but have since moved on. You guys are really something special and you should let him know, one way or another. Even if it’s just a “happy new year” thing.

And lol what Michael Bay? I guess Manabi’s skateboard does transform…

Random off-off-topic note: I just want to highlight this blog post. In Search of Number Nine is pretty solid of a blog, but purely speaking as a blog. It’s always good to see what some light-weight fans have to say about something you’ve taken for granted years ago, but better.


Year in Review: Conclusion

Decidedly, the word is that 2007 is not as exciting as 2006. We did not have Haruhi, we did not have Simoun, we did not have Black Lagoon. In fact, I’m going to talk about shows I didn’t see in 2007 (and some that I did see, but not like Haruhi, Simoun and Black Lagoon).

It's Mikan!

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