Competition and Anime Blogging, is it Harmful?

Given the various posts floating in the blogosphere about the Aniblog Tourney and competition that came after the first round, I like to share some of my thoughts about the negative externalities of competition and why it’s not necessarily a good thing. (Image Source)

If you browse through all the posts on Anime Nano, Anime Blogger Antenna or any indexing site, you might notice some campaign posts or potshots regarding the AniBlog Tourney. Although the tourney’s original intension is to promote new blogs, it has created a bad feeling in the blogosphere where competition becomes the center issue while everything else like content becomes a second thought. Stuff like voting solely on design, begging for votes on social networks, vote manipulation and messing up the seeding shows that some people desperately want to win a popularity contest. I feel that stuff like this can become harmful for the blogosphere since the drama could turn off readers. Still, the tournament is not the only reason why it’s bad, but the purpose of blogging as a whole.

Several months back, AceRailgun brought up a good question, “Should people view Anime Blogging as a competition?” It’s understandable that some people care about how many visitors, page views, comments and subscribers they receive on their blog. For me, getting 300-500 visitors and 600-800 page views a day is nothing to become all excited about since it’s not an indicator for success. Sadly, some believe that because having high numbers will boost their ego, thus enable them to brag and put down newer blogs that struggle to get any. To me, this is rather childish to blog for popularity since you have to earn it by writing interesting content. Not to mention, people who blog for this reason can impact a longevity of a blog since the writer is only motivated by high numbers and can burn out easily just to maintain that number.

As for me, the reason I continue blogging after all these years is to share my thoughts and passion about the medium. For that reason, I never write posts just to grab attention and increase my hits.  I only write what comes to my mind and I enjoy doing it. In addition, I like interacting with other people because it generates discussion and adds a sense of enjoyment. I have said this various times in the past, but Anime Blogging should be a fun activity. If this was the reason, people shouldn’t become too concerned about these statistics and just blog.

Even though most view competition as a good thing in real life, it doesn’t necessarily mean the same applies to Anime Blogging. It’s true that becoming popular is not easy since you have to write interesting posts and proofread them to build readership. People who just write for popularity won’t necessarily have the same passion, thus leading to an endless hiatus. Also, the tournament should make some more reforms to reduce the issues they currently face, especially for some new blogs who doesn’t stand a chance against the established ones. 

9 Comments… read them. Comments for this entry are closed.

  1. BeldenOtaku says:

    Just curious, but was I the only one who abstained from voting when one (or sometimes both) of the blogs at vote posted “Vote for me, not him”? To me, it just seemed to really break the spirit of good sportsmanship when you blatantly slander your opponent.

    As for new blogs v. established blogs, my own match-up was against a veteran writer and I’m quite pleased to have lost at such a respectable margin (38.05% to 61.95%). And, quite honestly, I would’ve been a little upset to see NAT (with advantages in creative content) beat out actual writing. And it’s actually given me the boost to strive for higher quality posts with more opinions and less filler. But at the same help narrow down NAT’s strong points (like creative content, as mentioned). I’ve still got a bit to work on, but thanks to the Aniblog Tourney (and partly the good fortune of being matched up with such a good-willed blogger like kritik), I’ve started becoming a better writer and blogger.

    That being said, I really don’t like how a lot of the bloggers are turning this into a popularity contest. And also how some are making judgements based on layouts or designs. I forget, when did content not matter when it came to blogging? Sure, a good layout ensures the reader can find the meaningful content they’re looking for, and there were blogs I didn’t vote for because of their layout (not anything profound, I just couldn’t make heads or tails of the homepage because of too many scrolling displays and blinking links, coupled with ads as well…), but comments like “I’m not voting for you if you use the [insert wordpress theme here] from wordpress, it’s not that hard to write code” make me wonder just how full of yourself you need to be to forget that anime blogging is a hobby for most. Some, like feal87 and yourself, pay for internet hosting and have adequate web design skills to build a site. Others, like myself, don’t have the luxury nor the skill, so we make due with a free service.

    Sorry if it seems like I’m ranting on your post, but these are just thoughts I’ve been having as well. If I could come up with solutions to these problems, I would, but they seem rooted in the human nature concerning competition. And it doesn’t take many bad sports to ruin what could’ve been a very fun experience.

    • chikorita157 says:

      Potshots are of course a problem as I have mentioned this in my comments in my other two posts. Of course, I have originally intended to just write a post promoting myself and listing all the posts to check out. To be fair, I have also contributed a shot back after my opponent decides to do one, thus influencing the amount of votes. In a way, competition makes things look nasty even though the blogosphere is perceived as a friendly place for discussion throughout the rest of the year when the tourney isn’t active.

      On design, I don’t think it should be a problem as good web design doesn’t necessarily mean good content (although my votes are confidential, I only based voting on content alone). Some of the problems with taking a glance of the two sites is that you aren’t given much time to get used to it. Also, I understand that everyone doesn’t have money to get shared hosting or get custom design. Although I’m a college student that is somewhat well off, nobody realizes how much money it costs to maintain a site. In the three years alone, I spent 10 dollars on a domain name, 60 on my first shared hosting, and 36 dollars for VPS hosting (85 on extras such as themes and such), which comes to a total of 191 dollars in the three years of blogging. Also, I start off from free hosting before I started paying to keep the blog up. But still, I want to illustrate that it takes a lot of money and time to main a blog. I may be technically savvy, but designing to make it look what I want takes effort. In the other hand, people has to realize that not everyone is experienced in CSS or Photoshop to create a great design. I think this could be solved with themes that allow people to customize everything without having to edit code. Even so, I think content is king and some fail to realize this.

      Aside from that, I think you came up with some good points and that some people are probably judging blogs by its cover. At the end, it’s supposed to be a fun experience rather than x blog is better than y, etc.

      • BeldenOtaku says:

        I saw your return potshot :3, but I didn’t see it as “Vote for me, not him”. In your case, it was quite obviously playful banter.

        I tried to do the same and even show a little confidence in critik as well with mine. I can’t use photoshop, but I’m decent at hand-drawing things like the banner and such for NAT, although, like you said, I wish there was a bit more customization (like banner dimensions), because working with a 1000×300 pixel space is awkward and troublesome.

        If I had the money, I still wouldn’t pay to drop wordpress from the URL. Just not worth it in my case. Now, if I had the skill to make a web page, I’d reconsider, but I don’t…

  2. Rakuen says:

    Like everything, some people will take competition too seriously. I wonder if it actually has an impact on their blog in the short or long term. If this aniblog tournament officially becomes “a thing” hosted every two years, maybe they could use the off-year as a retrospective. You know, catch up on the blogs who participated and see where they are now. They could even highlight a handful of up-and-coming blogs. It could be interesting and could possibly promote more readership, which is ostensibly what the tourney is about anyway.

    • chikorita157 says:

      Yeah, considering that its human nature and people will go crazy if a team loses. Although it has some impact in the first one, the second, not so much… It’s mostly because I have refined a lot of stuff since the last tournament. Even so, improving is an ongoing process.

      But still, there is still a lot they can do to improve the tourney process, such as fixing the voting system and stop using Polldaddy.

  3. Yumeka says:

    I’m sure you know my thoughts about this already, but like you, I enjoy writing about what I want rather than what’s easy or what’s popular. Episodic blogging is easy and popular, but I don’t do that because it’s not what I like writing about. I wouldn’t say that writing only what I want is my main goal, as I like attracting readers too and interacting with them. But having fun is my goal first and foremost. To some people, writing a blog that never gets any comments is fine with them, while for others, they’re all about tailoring posts to get the most hits and comments. If your own satisfaction is what you want, go for it. If popularity is what you seek, go for it. If you’re looking for a balance of the two, that’s good as well. But what isn’t good is putting down other bloggers because their blogging style doesn’t match your taste. Yeah, the tourney does boil down to a popularity contest, but it does make many people aware of blogs they might have never visited otherwise, so anyone who gains a new reader from the tourney should be considered a winner =)

    • chikorita157 says:

      Yeah and I think people vote against blogs since they are either too episodic or too editorial. It does bring up a good point that Valence brought up on his blog. There is too many episodic blogs and by episodic, they are the typical synopsis and hardly any thoughts. I broke away from that trend several years back since it’s not productive and didn’t add much value to what I’m writing. Since then, I took an editorial/thoughts approach of sharing some thoughts about the parts I like and even going in depth in some things. Generally, readers read the post if the content is interesting or even subscribe, but still… one needs to have fun.

      Aside from that, there are many reasons why people blog about anime. However, I don’t think it should be a competition of some sort since the blogosphere is a community. Also, no blogging style is better than the other, but success depends primarily on the person themselves. I don’t think criticism will change that, although people can improve from it.

  4. Aniplogs says:

    I blog because I want to be the best anime blogger in the Philippines 😛 Too ambitious but I’m serious though. On a side note competition in anime blogging is really not that harmful, it depends on how you view it. If you’re the optimistic type where you see the competition as a bridge to produce reader engagement then good for you. If you see it to something that will break the relationship of a fellow blogger or something that will inflict counter productivity then yes It’s absolutely bad.

    • chikorita157 says:

      Somehow, this comment landed in the SPAM queue… stupid Akismet.

      Although people have different views with competition, it simply depends… as long it doesn’t start affecting other bloggers like x blog has more hits than y blog, etc, it shouldn’t matter too much…