So there’s this Blog Carnival thing that’s going around to all the good little blogs, leaving them pingbacks, comments, likes, and everything else that’s good in this world. Unfortunately we can’t leave this post at that, because these kinds of Faustian deals always require some kind of recompense, usually writing of some kind. So I’m officially throwing my hat in the “what makes a good animanga blog” ring to provide my unique perspective on a matter that’s near and dear to nobody’s heart in particular, but crosses damn near every aniblogger’s mind at least once. Enjoy!
What I Like to Read and Why
Admittedly, I’m pretty damn bad at keeping up with blogs. I don’t so much consistently visit blogs as I do force myself to go through my blogroll and comment on anything that I feel I can contribute to. So yeah, sorry everyone for being a shitty reader! When I do visit blogs and shuffle through their content, I’m either drawn in by humor or posts that veer toward the pensive side of things. Of course style is the most important element when I read blogs, and I’ll be damned if most of the bloggers that I follow don’t have a strong sense of style.
To elaborate a bit, I like writers that can turn shit into an utter delight (see Shinmaru’s now-defunct Unmei Kaihen for numerous examples), or that can make me think. Scamp manages a bit of both from time to time, so double-kudos for him. A strong voice can go a long way as well; while I may not hold flomu anywhere near the highest echelon of post-writing, he has a style that manages to keep my attention glued to the computer screen regardless of whatever else I’m doing. Yi of Listless Ink, though we blog in radically different ways, manages to avoid the pitfalls of her chosen style of blogging by writing casually without sacrificing any of her wit.
There’s much more that constitutes what I like to read, but other folks have said it better. Moving on!
What I Do When I Discover a New Blog
My litmus test isn’t strict by any means; as long as the content’s good and the writing isn’t too stilted or riddled with spelling/grammatical mistakes, then I’ll read and occasionally comment if I can contribute. If the content is particularly engrossing, then I’ll likely read through the entirety of the site’s contents in one sitting and likely abstain from visiting again for a few months, like a wonderfully disturbing one-night stand. Because I don’t make effective use of Google Reader, I don’t check in on sites as much as I should, so I guess this is as much a call for me to actually read other sites as it is to explain why I like reading certain sites. I really am a terrible blog reader.
What a Good Animango Blog Must Do
It’s a cold hard fact that many aniblogs are shit. They often have god-awful layouts, uninspired writing, genuinely awful people as authors, or all of the above. And I’m certainly not above scrutiny, especially since I was pretty damn awful as far as inspiration goes from April until July of last year. But more often than not, aniblogs nail what they’re going for, so hold on to your hats because I’m about to explain why.
To summarize what I wrote under “What I Like to Read” and fit it here, a good aniblog must engage either through snappy writing or excellent ideas. Posting regularly is also important, as sites with frequent hiatuses tend to be visited a lot less. I don’t care if people blog episodics or full blown editorials, they have to be written well and written often, the latter being something that varies depending on the nature of the content; obviously episodic blogs will want to post with a higher frequency than editorial-centric ones. In short, just have some common sense and a good handle on your medium when you write, but that’s a vague enough requirement that can be worked with and molded a fair bit.
Most importantly, the author must have a strong voice. Emulation can be good, especially when starting out, but there’s a fine line between adopting certain aspects of other peoples’ writing to fit your own and completely aping them. Too many bloggers do the latter, whether they know it or not. It’s always important, especially when starting out, to keep a check on what your influences are, otherwise you might find your own individual voice becoming mangled beyond repair. Several other folks in the carnival said to stick with what you know, but that can only go so far. Definitely don’t tread completely unknown territory, but don’t be afraid to dabble in different writing styles. Yeah, it might not work and it’s often clumsy at first, but it just might stick.
I’m not bothered by aesthetics much, but I do have a preference for sites that are streamlined and don’t require me to look away every ten seconds to readjust my vision. But really, as long as it’s not this, the way a site looks isn’t a deal breaker.
The idea has been put forward to stop using big words because it makes your audience feel dumb, but that’s just silly. As long as the word is used properly and doesn’t break the flow of the piece, embiggen your post with cromulent words all you want. After all, it’s unproblematic to recognize when intelligence is being obfuscated with egregious utilization of infrequent parlance, expectedly through perusal of thesauri.
Annoying Blogging Behaviors
– Overly-casual writing
– Lack of spell-check
– Overuse of emoticons (more than 2-3 a post)
– Chronic misuse of words
– Genuine dickishness
– Ridiculously infrequent posting
– Not having my site or The Cart Driver on the blogroll. Shame on you.
Blogging is something that isn’t exactly set in stone. If it were, if everybody wrote the exact same or shared identical opinions, it would completely invalidate the reason to blog in the first place: To share our opinions, indirectly butt heads, and flaunt our egos like (mostly) literate peacocks. By their very nature, bloggers improve the more that they write, broaching concepts in their chosen media that haven’t been discussed much before. Or write about porn, which gets a free pass because it’s sexier than intellectual discourse. I hope I didn’t discourage anybody that might have had a shaky handle on their blogging, nor do I want anybody to walk away from this feeling insulted. Not even you. Yes, you, you know who you are.