Not so much introspective as yet another yard sale-style meandering of what’s on my mind. You’ve been warned?
1. Journalism. I’ve been writing for Jtor for a while now. I always kind of regret the amount of output I hand out over there. I feel that there are a lot of things I can write about if I can square off chunks of time and focus on writing it in a way that fits that particular media outlet. Over time I feel that this is not a productive way of looking at things. I think it is true that the average editorial that I post here on this blog will require a lot of reworking. I look at blog posts like this one more like a set of stairs or more like, better put, a car lift or a jack, where I put some ramp under the “narrative” and work hard and push it up so it gets to where my idea actually resides, in a way that forms a bridge of understanding for some unfortunate person reading said unfortunate blog post.
So it’s not a surprise to me to see someone reddit my Sasami blog post because the bridge itself is what I want to express in that particular effort. I wanted to explain the things that explain what the hell was going on. But this is rarely the case. Which is why nobody reads this blog, relatively.
And I think in a lot of ways, this is really where we’re stuck at, since 2008. I joined Jtor because it’s one of the few real “blog” style sites that can make a difference in terms of what I see is out there, what people wanted, and what I wanted. Stuff that goes in between Sankaku Complex and ANN, basically. It’s got people who get what I mean when I talk about blogging. It’s got some readers. It’s got some actual cred, most importantly.
Since then CR News has been probably the closest thing to what I’m looking for. Unfortunately they are basically stuck gleaming off the same 2ch matome pipe that ANN runs off of. It’s too Gawker, not enough bloggery-ness, for my taste. Their coverage is pretty decent although I can nitpick a lot in terms of their editorial qualities. Well, nobody is perfect.
The reality of the situation is highly complicated by the revenue picture. I think an important thing to realize is that to produce quality news-editorial content in a reasonable quantity, at least at the levels I’m talking about, you basically have to full-time hire someone. Probably a few people at least. And we’re talking beyond just administering the platform. Nobody really has this much money. And this is kind of a fundamental problem in the anime space. We’re too hooked on the usual social networks (namely things like forums and 4chan and 2ch and twitter etc) to really let these pro journalism sites grow. At least, the market opp is pretty difficult to outline.
This is partly what I’m talking about at least. It’s like when you write a post, you might expect that a good chunk of your readers are not cold dialing your URLs, but rather they’re referred from established communities and familiar with existing discourses that are subscribed by those communities. That’s the “road” or “surface” level where the jack has to be to establish that sense of engagement.
In some sense I feel this is why ANN is as successful as they are today–they can give that less damn. Their forum is a pretty good example as to why it might be a good idea to keep it that way. To keep writing news like news.
The flip side, of course, is that if you want people to have better experiences, better engagement with your content, you gotta do more. Rely on fansubs to review new content. Talk about japanese fan meta crap. Stir up controversy. What have you. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Which is why I call it a jack or a car lift, not an escalator. Because that’s where the hard work is.
You get all that? I’m assuming that is what the word journalism really means. Well, maybe it’s beyond just journalism. More like, how to write about something in a way that engages the reader with the subject matter?
Speaking as a reader, on the other hand, I think a lot of the community are simply way too quick to judge and not open-minded enough to welcome new people. Often we don’t see the long-term value of sites like Sankaku Complex (or Seventh Style, which I just like more by far, for different reasons) or ANN’s forum. And I can go on. There are not enough people who engage these venues with a mind towards improvement and how we as individuals can make these places better. If 4chan can change, anything else can. And I’m not even saying we should aim that high. All I’m saying is that we have to be responsible for our own mess and do something about what you don’t like within the community.
I wonder if anyone can change Colony Drop.
2. Blogging. I think when people talk about blogging they’re talking about the platform. Nobody really seriously think of twitter as “microblogging” (and if you do…please get a life). When people say blogging I think “how the hell can I save allllll my data from Google Reader by Monday” and not, say, Gawker or Facebook or most actual blogs. Well, maybe I think of anime blogs in the way that we have had anime blog tournaments, but that gets down to introspective and existential semantics. The wordpress.com things out there. Blogger. What have you.
I think we, as a people on the internet, have long gone past the point where we’re still hung up on bloggers being something or someone doing what. The average RC post acts both as a thread in a giant interweb forum and as a blog post to remind me what happened in episode 10 of Valvrave without loading up the video. That’s great. Just like the set of numbers in Psgel’s episodic posts that tells you basically all you need to know about what he tries to say every week. Or what image walls that typify your average Metanorn or Kurogane dump, and the comments underneath. It’s all good. They have their audiences and uses.
But is there someone, like, looking at all of this and think to themselves what’s wrong with this picture? How can it be better?
What I see is a bunch of ships in the night. I think there are some great stuff out there, but there’s no good way to connect the people who like A from A and B from B. With Goog Reader dying that’s just another tool to do so going away. Yeah, I’m going to whine a lot about this, because what I used it for, nobody has done a better job reproducing it.
Over the years I found things like the Tournament and twitter being the most useful things to discover blogs. Animenano, surprisingly, is a close second. But I also read that feed and click on things that seems interesting, as a way to discover new writers and their baggage. It makes me wonder how people go about doing the same, their own way. Would be nice to know!