Belated 8-year anniversary post…and why blogging still matters

Credit to linked pixiv user

Mainichi Anime Yume turned 8 years old a little over a month ago, and as usual, I forgot all about it until this week. But better late than never! (especially since I failed to make an anniversary post last year) Although my blogging has seen some changes this year, I still intend to keep it up for as long as I can, despite the fact that blogging itself may be fading away…

My blogging got a bit disjointed in the middle of the year due to changes in my life, but I’m glad that I was able to keep it up most of the year. This more flexible schedule I laid out for myself since then (posting every 10-14 days) has been working well for me, so I intend to keep it going. But besides being a belated 8-year anniversary post, I also want to discuss a related topic about blogging in general. Myself and many other anime bloggers have noticed that blogging just doesn’t seem to be as popular a hobby, or supplement to a hobby, as it used to be. I’ve seen evidence of this personally as I’ve noticed the gradual decrease of activity on the once major blog aggregators like Anime Nano and AnimeBlogger.net. Everyday I used to check Anime Nano and it would be filled with new posts, with new blogs being indexed pretty regularly. But now, each day I check there’s barely 1 or 2 new pages of posts, usually by the same handful of blogs, with a new blog popping up very rarely. Many prevalent anime blogs from the mid-2000s have disappeared, with few new ones lasting long enough to take their place. The bloggers themselves are sometimes still part of the community, but only on places like Twitter where posting is much quicker and easier.

During the past year there’s been buzz around the blogsphere that blogging has sort of become a dying art in recent years. The main reason is because social media has become increasingly geared towards quick and easy content that doesn’t take more than a few seconds to a few minutes to get through: Twitter is only 140 characters per post, Instagram is only for images and videos less than 15 seconds long, Vine videos can only be 6 seconds long, the majority of Facebook posts are either a few sentences, a few images, or videos no longer than a couple of minutes, and while podcasts and vlogs may be long, they only require listening on the viewers’ part, so people can do other things while listening to them. Everything is all about speed and passively-obtainable, instant gratification, which is more easily gotten through images, videos, and short posts, as opposed to a blog article of several paragraphs which requires not only more than a few minutes to read, but more pro-activity on the part of the viewer who has to, well, actually use their brain to read and comprehend extensively written content. Even very popular blogs nowadays, like BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Cracked, and Kotaku, have very easily accessible designs with a lot of pictures, big headlines to skim through, and posts that can usually be absorbed by just glancing at its pictures and a few sentences, with content that isn’t too deep and heavy for the mind to digest before moving onto the next thing. Combine that with the “instant gratification” overflow of text messaging replacing things like email and written letters, and we’re looking at a generation that would find reading a piece of non-fiction for more than 10 minutes without pictures and videos to help them along, to be “too long.”

But while it may be true that blogging isn’t as popular as it was when I started 8 years ago, I still don’t see extensive prose writing completely disappearing from the social corners of the Internet anytime soon. I’m inclined to agree with MangaTherapy that, as long as reading is still a popular pastime for people, text-filled blog articles will always have a place. I believe that if people are really into something, they’ll want to read all about other people’s thoughts on that something and won’t be satisfied with just pictures and videos. Anime blogging in particular also has an edge because it’s a niche hobby that the aforementioned big-daddy blogs like BuzzFeed and Huffington Post don’t cover in any kind of detail. So the only place you can find things like a detailed review of Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun or an analysis of seinen manga tropes, is on the humble blogs of fellow fans who are knowledgeable and passionate about what they’re writing. Not everyone has the proper equipment to make their own YouTube videos or podcasts for their blogging, so typing it out in text form is still the easiest way.

Blogging as a hobby isn’t easy to keep up in today’s busy world. Taking 30 seconds to post a tweet on Twitter or upload a picture to Tumblr takes way less time and energy than typing out several organized paragraphs about a complex topic. So I don’t blame the many anime bloggers I’ve seen drop out of the ‘sphere over the years, not because they’re not into anime anymore (though that often is a factor), but because they just don’t have the time. So in an era where the written word is becoming increasingly compromised and glossed over, I’m glad that I still do have the time and motivation to write passionately about my hobbies. I can’t predict the future, so I can’t say how long I’ll be able to keep it up, but I’m sure I will as long as I’m able. I love writing and I have hobbies I love, so I can’t see myself ever getting tired of writing about them ;)

26 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. Congrats on the 8th anniversary of MAY! =D

    I don’t subscribe to any of the anime blog aggregators like Anime Nano, but I have noticed a decrease in posts from the few anime blogs I have on my feed. Bokutachi no Blog for example, which I used to read all the time back in the day. I only get a post from them on my feed like once every other month now. And of course other blogs that were popular like 2DTeleidoscope stopped posting a while back.

    I feel like I’ve been posting a bit less frequently on my own blog, though when I look at my post numbers by the month it doesn’t look that infrequent. I’m in one of my busy periods now with work so it’s difficult for me to keep up with the new fall shows, let alone blog about them, but at least I have the intention to write about them when I can, as well as about other anime-related issues. As long as I have the desire to express my thoughts about anime and manga, I’ll keep the blog going even if the posts aren’t as frequent as they once were. XD

    • Yumeka says:

      I remember Bokutachi no Blog. That’s one of the old ones from my early years of blogging that I don’t see much of anymore. Actually, I just glanced at Anime Nano’s big cloud list of every blog that’s ever been indexed on the site, and I can see so many there that used to be prominent but haven’t had a new post in years.

      I’m glad that you still intend to keep your blog going despite your busy schedule. I’ll keep looking forward to new posts =D

  2. chikorita157 says:

    Congrats on your 8th year of blogging!

    I wrote an editorial on a similar subject a few months back in regards to the decline of episodic blogs with legal streaming becoming more accessible, I do notice the same trend with a slow decline of activity in the blogosphere and it’s quite noticeable when you go on Anime Nano and Aniblogger Antenna as you mentioned (of course, not every blog is on there either). While social networking can be a reason, I feel that it’s not a great medium for discussion for the fact that not everyone in the blogosphere follows everyone, the informal nature and the character limit pretty much makes it hard to have a good discussion, but rather leaving it mostly for sharing one’s opinions. Moreover, most of what is shared on twitter is mostly off-topic stuff, not usually related to Anime and this is pretty common with most bloggers I follow on that site.

    While Anime Forums and Blogs are not nearly as active as they used to, I still think they still serve a purpose for actual discussion. Who knows what will happen to my blog when I start working, but I will most likely continue, but focusing more on quality over quantity (meaning, more towards reviews, editorials, analysis, and unique content opposed to episodic impressions). I see it this way, as long there is Anime being made and one still has an interest in it, people will continue to blog. Moreover, it takes less effort to write a 800-1000 word post than coming up with a script, pointing a camcorder at your face and then edit it in a video editor. Sure, I have the equipment, but I have no desire to do so.

    • Yumeka says:

      You’re right that the limits of social networking still make it so that blogs can offer a unique experience if one doesn’t feel that taking 10 minutes to read something (as opposed to watching a quick video or look at a picture) to be too long. I’ve heard some people say that Tumblr is a good replacement for blogs, but I disagree because its discussion interface in terms of having people comment on posts and having the author respond, is kinda nonexistent. Plus it has the same drawback as Facebook – people can comment and share your posts, but they’re viewing everyone’s posts on one site, so they’re not just focused on your content (like they would be if they were viewing someone’s individual blog, like my blog here), degrading the personal experience between them and your content.

  3. Rekari says:

    First of all, congrats! 8 years is a big achievement. I just recently hit a year of blogging, and it feels like a long time for me! I can’t even imagine 8 years.

    I have to say that it is somewhat hard to find time to sit down and type blog posts, when I can send messages on social media from literally anywhere via phone. It’s true I can do that from my phone to my blog, but it’s a little difficult and inconvenient.

    Social media just doesn’t give me the same satisfaction. Even though I’m someone who likes to get straight and to the point, I like to have room to explain my reasoning behind my opinions. With social media, I can get the point across, but that’s about it. The same goes for reading. When I read things about social media and search through headlines, pictures, and such…I always want to know more.

    I’ve also noticed the lack of activity of blog database websites. The activity that is there also seems to be similar. Like if I take a look at AnimeNano it’s a lot of same few topics. We have anime reviews, thoughts by episode, and looks at anime merchandise and the like. I feel like anime blogging would take off more if we had something to draw in more people. Most comments I get are from other bloggers, but where are the fans? We might even consider a way to pull in people who may not necessarily be interested in anime. Although I see a decline of blogging in the anime community, elsewhere I see a good amount of bloggers.

    Second, I think we need to support each other a bit more. I know there are many people who would like to start blogging, but they are having trouble getting their feet wet. It’s somewhat daunting to step into an already established community as a newcomer. I feel we need to encourage more of this and become more welcoming, as well as support current bloggers along the way. Instead of focusing at the top and building down, starting at the bottom and building up.

    Regardless, great post! I like how you provide a lot of reasons why blogging is important now, and why it will always be.

    • Yumeka says:

      I remember seeing your blog when it first popped up on Anime Nano =) Glad you’ve been able to keep it up for a year!

      That’s a great point that with social media, it’s all about expressing your point…but that’s it. You can’t explain much with the 140 character limit on Twitter, and it’s common knowledge that the longer your text-heavy post is on Facebook, the less likely anyone will read all of it. Like you, I’m all about explaining my reasoning and going into detail about things I’m interested in, so that’s why the blogging platform works better for me.

      Yeah, episodic blogging is popular and people have their reasons for doing it, not necessarily because it’s easy (you don’t have to think of topics), but I don’t do it because, as you pointed out, everyone does it and I’d rather do something different. How many times are people gonna want to read a review of the same 24 minute anime episode?

      From personal experience, I think there are more people that like anime now than ever before. But the reason we don’t see many of them commenting and stuff in the blogsphere is because, again, they participate in the social media side of the fandom and either don’t know about or don’t have the motivation to read blog posts. But yes, I’m all for supporting new bloggers. I’ll make a mental note to add a post to my blogging queue – “how to get into anime blogging” XD

  4. Shikkun says:

    Congrats on your 8 year anniversary!

    Regarding the decline of blogs, I can definitely see the points which you mentioned, especially about social media. Social media in general has kind of taken over everything, and like you said, everyone these days wants instant gratification (which I’m also guilty of at times) of some sort. With that being said, I think blogs like yours will still be relevant for many years to come. The main reasons being that, the majority of anime-related content that I see on social media sites (namely Facebook) are pretty much just opinions or short overviews of a series, It’s difficult to find any type of detailed review. That’s where detailed and complex blog posts come into play, and for me, when I’m looking at a particular series, I like a little more than just an overview or synopsis, I want an in depth look at it from someone who has watched the series. That’s just my 2 cents on the subject, but I still find blogs to be very useful and entertaining :)

    • Yumeka says:

      Thanks, and yeah, that’s a great point that short overviews and opinion blurbs can’t replace a detailed review or throughout analysis of a topic. It’s unfortunate that a lot of people don’t have the patience for it, but usually if they’re interested in something, they’ll take the time to read up on it, which is why there’ll always be an audience for anime blogs, even if the audience shrinks a little ;)

      Even though I’m also guilty of the “instant gratification” trend a little bit, I’m thankful that I’m still not nearly as bad as other people I see, who can’t even go a few minutes without checking their cell phones XP

  5. Tara says:

    I’m happy you’ve kept writing for all these years, you’re still my favorite blog to read. Happy anniversary! ^^
    I can’t really imagine going without reading a few blogs every week, I don’t think I have the skills to write one but I always enjoy reading them. I’m not really a huge fan of the super short social media (I have neither vine nor instagram, almost never look at my twitter and I rarely use facebook for anything other than chatting with people… it sort of replaced msn for me). I think I might be almost the opposite from most people; I get bored of scrolling through a bunch of short sentences easily while long texts about interesting subjects capture me. Maybe it’s because I’m used to reading a lot of books and so longer texts have always been a part of my life? I’m not sure.
    Anyways, I agree with you that I don’t think blogging will die out completely, although I’m sad that it’s lessening. Thanks for still taking time out of your busy life to write these. They make my day better every time I read them :)

    Happy Anniversary, may you have many more (ノ> ◇ <)ノ♪

    • Yumeka says:

      Thanks, I’m happy you feel that way about my blog ^_^

      I enjoy a bit of both “scrolling through short images and text blubs” and “reading long posts about subjects that interest me.” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with enjoying the former, it’s when one becomes addicted to it that there’s a problem, like so many people I see who can’t go a few minutes without checking their text messages or Facebook. It should be common sense that short images, videos, and posts can’t replace thoroughly written content on a subject, it’s just that people’s patience is becoming less and less, even for things they may be interested in. But as long as we have people truly passionate about something, like anime, there will still be an audience for blogs like mine =)

      • Tara says:

        I agree, it’s all good in small doses ;) So long as no one becomes ‘too’ addicted to things they’re alright and (hopefully) people will always keep wanting to read longer texts and learn more about things they really like ^^

  6. Kal says:

    TLDR… Wall of text crits you for over 9000!!! Yeah, I know exactly what you mean… Just writing a couple of paragraphs on a forum, and people are complaining already.

    First of all, congrats on the 8 years! I hope you keep blogging for many more :) I also think there is still place for blogs, and articles, and not just tweets, or short sentences for communication. Sometimes an idea will take more than just 1 paragraph to properly explain. So I think we will still need blogs, and properly written articles, but there is also space for tweets, and facebook posts for quicker information. A nice mix of both is probably a good thing, but too much of one or the other is not. All in good balance I guess.

    I also have a dislike for tweeter and facebook in general. I prefer blogs like yours, articles, and even some forums where people tend to write quite a bit. Could this be a generation issue? I’m not a “youngling” anymore, so I grew up reading lots of books and even writing/reading letters, so I’m used to this. But if the new generations are all for short communication only, then things could get a lot worse, and ideas may not be communicated properly in the future. Or maybe we are looking at it wrong, and written communication is not the most effective method, and we should be looking for more combination when communicating (words, pictures, videos, animation, etc, all in a single communication)?

    No idea what the future holds I guess, or what is “right” or “wrong”. Maybe there is no right or wrong. But for now, I greatly enjoy reading blogs like yours, and find them quite effective to get ideas across. Great post as always, gives quite a few things to reflect on :)

    • Yumeka says:

      You’ve been one of my best blog commenters all these years, so thanks to you, too =D

      I agree that a mix of both quick stuff like Twitter, and long posts like my blog, are a good balance. People nowadays don’t have the time to only read long articles, so that’s where things like Twitter and Instagram come in handy. But in order to be really knowledgeable about something, you have to read long essays, posts, etc., about it.

      I too wonder what communication in the future will be like. I’m glad to be part of what’s probably the last generation to know what life was like before the Internet. There’s no stopping technology, so all we can do is make it work for us the best we can and make sure the “instant gratification” bug doesn’t go too far.

  7. Rioraku says:

    Wow, can’t believe I missed this post when it came out! Congrats on 8 years with the blog. Although, I’ve been following your content since around 2003-2004 on your original site when I was looking for stuff about Inuyasha.

    I don’t have much to add in regards to blogging as the only blogs I ever followed are yours and another person by the name of pkjd (or something like that, I can’t remember the name of their blog). I’ve always found your blog hard NOT to follow because of the fun and interesting posts you always have and the fact you always respond to your readers on here and/or Twitter.

    Anyway, I hope you keep up the blog only as long as you enjoy writing it. I think we ,as your readers, appreciate the enthusiasm that you bring the most when it comes to this blog!

    • Yumeka says:

      Oh wow, I didn’t know you’ve been following my site that long =D I’m flattered that you still continue to visit all these years later. Thanks for all the compliments ^^

      That’s funny that pkjd is one of the only other bloggers you’ve followed because I actually know him in real life and he’s the one who first got me into blogging.

  8. Diego says:

    Happy 8th! Mine’s turning the same age this December . . . and like you I usually forget to mark the event until a few weeks later.

    I’ve noticed the same thing re: the anime blogosphere, and I’m actually kind of the same way. These days, I write more often on my younger travel blog than on my older anime blog, though I don’t think I’m anywhere near to shutting the latter down. (And since that travel blog is filled mostly with accounts of my annual trips to Japan, I suppose – at a stretch – one might consider it an anime blog anyway. Kinda. Of sorts. In a manner of speaking.)

    In my case, I’m finding it harder to dig out shows I’m interested in, and it’s become harder to follow the ones that do interest me. Too much to go on in a comment so I’ll stop there, but essentially this translates into less anime being watched . . . hence less to write about.

    Cheers.

    • Yumeka says:

      That’s cool that you’re able to find the time and money to go to Japan every year. I was lucky the two times I went but it’ll be years before I can afford a trip like that again.

      That’s cool that you have two blogs though. I sometimes use Tumblr to write about any non-Japanese things I like, but I should probably just make a separate site.

      Happy 8th year anniversary to your blog, too!

  9. Kai says:

    I missed my own blog’s anniversary by a month, lol. But happy 8th anniversary for yours! I think at this point, I might need to call you onee-chan, lol. Or.. okaa-san?

    I actually like using twitter to make some joking comments on certain anime, or if really want to post opinions, it will usually be very, very summarized, describing the whole anime in just one or two phrases, because, well, 140 character limit. I think there are just some things social media can’t deliver, even if they can post things more conveniently and faster; prominently things which require details, analysis and proper reviews.

    • Yumeka says:

      Yeah, I like to use Twitter for fun and short things, like a picture of new merchandise I bought or a quick blurb about what I’m doing that day. If I want to say more I’ll just divide my tweet into two or more separate tweets. But I don’t like to bombard people’s Twitter feed, so I’ll typically stop a thought if it goes longer than 3 or 4 consecutive tweets. At that point I should just blog about it XD

  10. Overlord-G says:

    Happy 8th anniversary Yumeka-chan. We hardly talk but I make sure to drop by every now and then. Keep up the good work for as long as you are able.

    This post made me think a lot about how to properly respond. In the end I decided to just make a “Life Lessons” post. To sum up what I will soon be discussing in detail it’s the following:
    Short and simple is not my thing. Even in posts I claim to have little to say about something I SAY A LOT. I don’t like making Vlogs. I barely get noticed on Twitter so making tweeting a habit feels pointless to me, so I use it to plug my blog. I only use Tumblr to post images or plug my blog. I have more friends on Facebook and I also use it to plug my blog. Noticing a pattern?

    See? Even my short response here became a long one.

    • Yumeka says:

      Thanks, and I’m glad you still continue to drop by my blog now and then ^_^

      Heh, I also tend to say a lot when I don’t mean too. I can’t tell you how many posts I started writing where I think “This won’t be too long, I don’t have that much to say about this topic,” and then the post ends up being 1,000+ words long! XD And yeah, I don’t tweet as much as most people because there’s not many interesting things I can say in 140 characters. So like you, I mostly use it to plug my blog.

  11. Silvachief says:

    Congratulations on the milestone! I’m sorry I didn’t see this sooner >.<
    It goes to show that a lot of what you say is absolutely correct: time is at a premium these days and people want efficiency. If I don't see a post on Facebook or Twitter or WordPress, it simply doesn't get read. Additionally, I definitely feel that time pressure with my own blogging, and may have to cut back as my university course comes to a close.

    Having said that, I don't think blogging's ever going to stop. People enjoy writing about and sharing what they're passionate about with others, and that's never going to change. Keep up the good work! 8 years is a major achievement!

    • Yumeka says:

      Thanks…and no problem on the late response! Better late than never ^_^

      I’ve had to cut back on blogging myself as you’ve seen…compared to churning out a post every few days like I was back in 2009-2012, or even a post a week the past couple of years, I’ve had to slow it down recently. But as long as I can get one out once in a while, I’m satisfied ;)

  12. Nearing a decade is a big thing! Congrats~

    Although your observations about blogging aren’t false, they aren’t entirely true either. Firstly, because not every blog out there is aware of anime blog aggregators or is hosted on wordpress. Secondly, while videos, podcasts and short messages have become the standard, you can still encounter many review blogs on tumblr and don’t forget how light novels are trending. Against the theory of instant gratification go also all the big video games and visual novels with multiple storylines and long hours of playthrough. I don’t see written blogging fading away anytime soon. It’s just that this hobby is ephemeral for most. Even back in the “golden era” of anime blogging the 3 year period was considered a test of endurance.

  13. jstorming says:

    Congrats on your 8th-year blog anniversary! I’m one of the newer anibloggers and my blog is still pretty much in its infancy state, so his was a fascinating read–especially since the art of long-form prose is something that many bloggers in general are particularly concerned about. While popular forms of writing are changing to be shorter, more concise, and quicker, long-form prose will always have a place for niche topics like anime.

    Of course, if anime ever goes mainstream, then we might have a slight problem. :P

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