In the big inning, God soloed.
The internet, the blog, and you. How do you ripple your readership’s heart-string? Find their weak spot? To dazzle by brilliance, or to baffle by bullshit? To surprise, to educate, to entertain. To brighten up their life; to be “the link” people pass around at work or at school? How do you relate to them? How do you create traction?
When the world was simple and there weren’t a lot of things, there were a lot of space to innovate. To take anime blogs for example–Jascii’s review and preview site served an important purpose. It was convenient because he would watch those raws anyways, and it becomes a good first-glimpse that many of us in the internet fan community can use to gain a grip to what’s coming down the pipe.
But Jascii’s is pretty simple. It’s not fancy nor elaborate like many blogs today. It is dead, frozen in perpetuity. To give it credit, it was one of the first blogs to gain enough traction through lifting of contexts. Given that anime fandom on the internet is still mostly a fan-run machinery, doing something Newtype USA does goes a long way before Newtype USA fits the niche was rather big, if you ask me.
And NT-USA does fit the niche to an extent. Problem is, for the most part, as marketing, it smelled like marketing. It smelled like Japanese, low-grade imported bastardized marketing for the large US market. Let alone the fact that it isn’t an interactive forum like how a blog can be–there’s not much of a community alone through the publication. There is a lot of grasping but not a lot of traction. Fact is the internet fandom gets their news, like every subcultural following, from other fans straight off the internet. NT-USA doesn’t have the right context. It’s grasping at straws in an aquarium.
The shiny, pictorial editorial is very obvious form of grasping, so to speak. It takes no time before we have what we have here today–a massive sea of anime bloggers who speaks as much as through their caps as through what little (or a whole lot) they have to say. If you’re reading one of these blogs I guess you’re probably interested either as a prospective audience or as someone who saw the stuff and want to hear what the bloggers have to say. Of course framing is very important, and these blogs frames both the caps and the episodes we watch in the bloggers’ various contexts respectively.
But once you start doing that, you’re left with very little context to innovate. Recall Jascii’s blog–that was mostly innovation (granted it was an obvious idea). Now all we can do is differentiate between what shows we blog about, how our site looks like, and how we frame each episode we blog. That’s just bleh for me. For one thing, like framing pictures, you can go to a store and look at the various frames, and the pick some and see if your painting looks better in whichever one. The analogy goes, at least, with various perspectives and various shows. If I want Frame-Hayama, I can imagine just how he’d frame a show like, The Reptilian Brain. Which is to say, the only time where I get excited about reading that kind of blog is when I can’t imagine how the framing would work out with the painting. It happens fairly often, approximately only when each new season comes about, though.
How else can we bloggers innovate? If you blogged or read blogs in its first rising years (2002…?) you’d find out that a lot of blogs are just soap boxes. I personally have a slight distaste for them simply because informativeness is a virtue. Or at least, the work bloggers put in should be somewhat constructive. A LJ-style ranting doesn’t go very far no matter what you’re blogging about, unless it’s hella funny (and 90% of the time people are laughing at who wrote it).
Well, I guess I rather should say that I dislike pure soap boxes. On the other hand, I rather like those editorials that have a good point and provoke thought. I also like those editorials that simply tackle lateral/meta questions (The Harem Fallout), or latent yet interesting questions (although it can get a little too academic very fast). For example: the genre and medium divide of anime–defining what it is. Another one I like is the marketing perspective of cultural commoditization when it comes to anime and manga franchises. One thing that is pretty cool is that there are an increasing amount of academic work published about these kinds of thing. The problem I have is most of them still draw from academic contexts that I just don’t have. I’m no pop-cultural anthropologist–it’s not quite gobblygook but I find myself unfamiliar with some of the ideas and constructs/frameworks that gets referred to. But a brainy anime blog, eh. Who’s up for that kind of thing?
Maybe that’s why I still read Heisei Democracy. Not to say that porn doesn’t have traction–it gropes and sucks like all kinds of nasty. Problem with that is it becomes kind of lame and it’s fairly near sighted. But yes, this brings us to the next innovative paradigm–content. I’m sold by content. It’s what keeps me reading Penny-Arcade. It’s what I pay for when buy gyuudon from Yoshinoya. Indeed it’s not just merely ranting, or merely capping, but actually saying something interesting, too.
It’s what you do once you grasp what you gained traction?