We-think, and The Otaku’s Blog (The Blog)

You know, The Otaku’s Blog is a funny bunch. I’ve really liked reading their blog, but I’ve been meaning to post this post ages ago, but every time I edit it they become active again. Anyway, I’ve read a new book recently, titled “WE-THINK”, and I’ve felt that one of its chapters rings especially true for TOB.

“We-Think”, by Charles Leadbeater (and 257 other people, supposedly) is, as the Daily Telegraph puts it, ‘A love letter to the web’s emergent culture of sharing’. A recurring concept discussed in the book is the idea of New Media, where “today’s generation are not content to remain spectators, they are tomorrow’s players.” Charles Leadbeater discusses the impact of new media on traditional media, and its consequences as well. Within the idea of new media, comes the concept of the blog.

He describes the idea of a blogging community very well:

Blogging is a prime example:it allows a mass of people to contribute their views, but only rarely do they find a core to build around. Mostly, bloggers communicate into the ether….

….high on participation, low on collaboration….

….relatively little collaborative creativity.

Isn’t that right, now? I’ve often found the term ‘team blog’ to be a misnomer, and I’ve sought to correct it myself here at AOIA. Yet even these efforts aren’t enough to make the blog a true ‘team-blog’. The concept of a team-blog is lost on the aniblogosphere. By team blog, they mean a collective of bloggers who post their own individual ideas, thoughts, without drawing on or interacting with the thoughts of other ‘teammates’.

In the same chapter:

Usually a small group creates a kennel which invites further contributions. Its project must be regarded as exciting, intriguing and challenging by enough people with the time, means and motivation to contribute. Tools should be distributed, experimentation cheap and feedback fast, enabling a constant process of trialling testing and refinement.

So, fine, Valence, you’ve quoted quite liberally from We-Think (I doubt Charles minds.) So how does The Otaku’s Blog come in?”

Simple. The Otaku’s Blog and AOIA are very similar blogs. Both blogs are ‘team blogs’ that focus mostly on anime, manga, and sometimes games with extra posts like this one. But allow me to summarize what I’ve quoted:

A blog must have a solid core , with high participation and high collaboration, considered to be challenging and intriguing and run by people with the time, means and motivation to contribute,with feedback fast to enable constant experimentation and improvement.

Got that? Now apply it to both of our blogs.

TOB is a good blog. Its is well-natured, just a regular ‘team blog’. But what I find the most disturbing is the fact that its two core members, the creator and second-to-join (I think) quit the blog early in August, claiming to move over to Kirakuna (which ironically, died before their announcement.)  And why? He answers it himself:

I’ve been experimenting with episodically reviewing series for months and can firmly declare that the idea does not sit well for me or my fellow blogger and friend Jacqivarius. The monotony has led me to abandon ship and hence a different approach to aniblogging.

(TOB)

Upon revisiting Ambivalence , or is it ambiguity? and reading Valence’s more recent posts, I’ve been pondering since how one could motivate themselves to watch anime as well as aniblog. It’s not easy. I’ve found myself on more than one occasion indulging in the two activities not out of enjoyment’s sake but for a different reason entirely, say for example, a sense of a duty.

(kirakuna)

This is the issue: the lack of motivation. And another thing: I find that although TOB is a good blog and all, its target audience is too broad. The most recent post is on cosplay, which alienates the main audience who come mostly for anime and manga reviews. Although I like how they post their reviews own time, own target, the gaps between posts is staggeringly long, with some breaks being up to an entire month for the entire blog to churn out one post. Shouldn’t focusing on one target alone help with getting the blog back up to speed?

And from this analysis of TOB, I realized something. SilentSeranata puts it himself, ironically based on an earlier post here on AOIA.

I’ve found myself on more than one occasion indulging in the two activities not out of enjoyment’s sake but for a different reason entirely, say for example, a sense of a duty.

We as bloggers feel this sense too, right? It’s the guilt you get when you don’t post for too long. You are guilty not only because of this sense of duty, but also for losing motivation to blog. For instance, as anibloggers we have an unspoken duty to continue watching anime until we stop blogging (duh). Likewise, as bloggers we have a commitment to make to our blogs. I find that after a while, we must find in ourselves, the motivation, in order to fulfill our ‘duty’ and continue blogging.

And just look at the aniblogosphere today. Which star blog came out without a core audience, or a strict schedule? Many successful blogs offer posts on a set day of the week, and a very acute focus on topics such as anime or J-pop in order to maintain a core audience. I suppose this could serve as a rallying cry for all team blogs out there, to increase collaboration between members as well as find motivation to uphold their duty, to keep blogging. The key to a successful blog is duty, collaboration, innovation, motivation, and feedback. Several successful team-blogs can run without much collaboration. With motivation, and the added benefit of collaborative posts, something seen mostly, for instance, at Reverse Thieves, and by leaving comments more frequently on each other’s blogs,  surely, we as team bloggers can improve our blogs, and bring them to the next level.

Until then, peace.

P.S.

Guess who’s back? Back again?

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About Valence

I blog things.
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12 Responses to We-think, and The Otaku’s Blog (The Blog)

  1. Lectin Gaezat says:

    Valen has a point, of course.

    It applies to not just an anime collaboration/team blog. I think almost any collaboration amongst bloggers would apply here – because a blog that is formed by multiple users usually should have a clearly defined focus and niche to fill – with multiple perspective adding layer, depth and insight to ensure greater interest, participation and readership as a whole. ._.

    I also get him on the ‘sense of duty’ part of blogging – because I suffer from these feelings myself. We develop an understated sense of obligation to post regularly and on certain topics, rather than by whim or fancy. It’s intriguing how that happens – I’d love to hear any other opinions on why this happens.

    • Valence says:

      Yep. Most blogs DO have this vague idea of a core readership and focus yet they never seem to fulfill it, diverging from it frequently. This post could be argued to have been doing the same as well. Depth, as it seems, must certainly apply here, since misc. posts must have contained some level of depth to convince readers that they were worth reading.

      Sense of duty – I don’t know about most bloggers, but I certainly feel it, and given your response, you do too. Yet this sense of duty detracts from the idea of a blog: a web log, to literally, log one’s thoughts on the internet. Does following this sense of duty lead one to produce contrived material based solely to attract more readers, or does it allow and encourage more active blogging and thinking on the side of the blogger? Who knows.

      Good luck with hearing other opinions though, I doubt there’d be more than 5.

  2. Marow says:

    I have always wondered why I rarely see “real” team blogging, such as Reverse Thieves. The chemistry is what makes it fun!

    • Valence says:

      That’s literally team blogging, but somehow it doesn’t seem to fit quite right. Especially when the blog’s theme is about detectives, it really must take motivation to convince the reader to read on.

  3. Baka-Raptor says:

    I was once part of a team blog that tried to do lots of team posts. It fizzled out after a few months. Organization was just too difficult.

  4. baka-neko says:

    Hey, I’m baka-neko – one of the bloggers from the Otaku’s Blog.
    I guess the main thing all of us in the blog struggle with is time. We’re expected to watch and roll out our opinions within a week for others to read. Now, most of us are high-school students and particularly during the last couple months, was crammed with assignments and exams.
    SilentSerenata just finished her yearly exams and now is in preparation for her HSC Exams next year. For her to find the time to review anime or even edit our posts proves difficult and hence the resignation.
    As for the rest of us, we’re trying to get back up and running just like before with the occasional assistance of Serenata and Jacqivarius.
    Forgive us for the lack in ‘sense-of-duty’ during the last couple months and I do hope everything will be back to normal again. ^^
    -BakaNeko.

    • Valence says:

      Which was the point: emphasising the importance that time and motivation has on running a blog. I wrote this because personally, I have faced the same problems. I am a student too, after all. I just finished a hectic exam period, and after weeks of inactivity from my anime activities I finally started blogging again. But I think it is nevertheless still important to at least, maintain a small presence by posting occasionally to tell others, ‘hey, I’m still here, I haven’t quit yet.’

      Good luck to the two for their exams.

      • baka-neko says:

        That’s what the misc. posts on Music and Cosplay were for on our blog. Other than that, I have quite alot to catch up with for this seasons ~

  5. Kimmichan says:

    Hai hai~
    I’m Kimmichan, another member of the TOB, I am a little surprised that someone actually blogged about us. Honestly I really enjoy blogging and stuff especially on anime/manga etc, but there just isn’t time as mentioned by Baka-neko. I actually thought we were slowly dying…

  6. Nopy says:

    Now that you mention core audiences, I’ve found that it’s easy to keep readers of different topics coming back if you rotate your focus. For example, one month I would blog mostly about figures, then move onto anime the next month. When I get back to figures the following month, most of the readers from the first month are still around.

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