Status of the Aniblogosphere in 2012 – Haitus = Dead Blog?!

Artist: nakada rumi

Just recently, the current state of the Anime Blogosphere doesn’t look great with a good number of blogs dying. In the last three months, We Remember Love, Kaminarianime, and Otaku Life: Anime Review hanged up their hats and call it quits (Moe Fundamentalism decided to go on hiatus before the author reversed the decision quite recently). Judging from my blogroll, there are 6 blogs that haven’t updated since October.

From the look of things, did the Mayans predict that December 21, 2012 is the end of Anime Blogging as we know it? Maybe, or probably we are overreacting. In a recent twitter conversation between Marow, Marth and myself concerning how long blogs last after Morrow mentioned a blog that only lasted two months (full conversation here), It gave me some thoughts where the blogosphere is heading. Early this year, I have covered quite a lot on blog longevity and the reason why blogs die. However, I would like to go over the current trends since there is a good number of blogs spontaneously dropping dead from the sky, which currently gives us this disturbing trend. (Image Source)

Back in September, Feal compiled some information on active and dead blogs.  According his data, about 82 blogs died in the past year (probably a bit higher with three blogs I mentioned earlier calling it quits) with only 3-4 surplus of new blogs after taking account all the dead blogs (there were 86 new blogs). To make things worse, only 137 bloggers are able to write one or more post every week. While this information doesn’t take account every Anime Blog in the blogosphere, it paints a grim picture for the blogosphere. However, statistics can lie, so I will give a few explanations why the blogosphere is slowly declining.

Aside from the obvious reasons of being too busy, burn out and feeling that one could no longer blog, there are two reasons I haven’t touch upon yet. First is of course the financial commitment. Bloggers who pay for hosting and/or a domain name is probably less likely to give up than those who use hosted on WordPress.com or Blogger and use the provided subdomains. This is a given since a person would be wasting money if they don’t blog after paying a good sum of money for shared or virtual private hosting. However, the same doesn’t necessarily apply to free blog hosting like WordPress.com or Blogger as people are more likely to give up since there is no risk in doing so. This could clarify the reason why most blogs on free hosting tend to give up or become inactive compared to their paid counterparts.

On the other hand, social networking could be the reason why Anime Blogging is facing a downward trend. While there are limits on Twitter are limited to 140 chars, people may feel that writing short reactions is good enough, thus keeping blog is not necessary. This is because social networking makes it easy to send a reaction to a particular show and everyone can see it within minutes. However with blogging, putting more effort into longer post isn’t the only reason, but the lack of awareness. While you can always advertise your post on any social network, there is a good amount of people who would rather read a short tweet because it takes less effort than reading a 300-500-word post. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that social network is killing the blogosphere because bloggers will always feel a need to write a longer post that won’t fit in one tweet. That’s why I think the impact of social networking on the blogosphere is limited.

At the end of the day, while the negative trend of blogs dying looks depressing, I still feel hopeful for the fact that the blogosphere will remain lively and won’t come nowhere close to dying completely. That is because there are bloggers who are committed to sharing their passion for Anime and Japanese media even if it’s only once a week or month.  This merely depends on the person’s motivation and commitment to blogging. As for me, I’m not going to give up anytime soon even though graduate school and getting a job might make it a bit harder to update. 

10 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. Sapphiresky says:

    From my observations, it seems like the the biggest reason why a blog/site would die is if the owner lost interest in doing the blog. It happens to me all the time, as I have about 5 different sites, it’s hard to maintain interest for all of them, as I always get tired of one, then move on, then move back and forward, etc. I think time is a huge thing, a lot of people move on with their life, change interest and/or just don’t have the time anymore, which is sad. I think if people were able to learn more about their own motivation and how to handle it when they don’t feel motivated, it would help keep their sites alive, such as develop ways to get around times when they just don’t feel like writing.

    I agree that financial reasons may cause a blog from dying, as there was a site I shut down because I was tired of paying for it.

    I remember when I first started a fansite, I made a promise to myself that I would NEVER shut it down, even if I didn’t update. I think even though a lot of people go on hiatus and never come back, I tend to do bursts of crazy activity, then stop for a long time, then go back. So I guess there are a lot of different type of bloggers out there.

    I think with social network, it depends on if that person is happy to have all contents stored externally or something they were able to backup. I use tumblr and twitter a lot but I don’t like using them to share my thoughts because I can’t back it up, I want to keep what I did, so I prefer a self hosted blog where I can do regular backups of the databases and pictures. I use tumblr for what I already post on the blog, or advertise the blog because it is an easy way of letting people know about it (through tags, etc). I guess it’s similar to, if someone prefers to have an Anime to keep or just stream it online.

    • chikorita157 says:

      Managing more than 5 must be a big feat, but it’s clear that it’s hard to maintain interest on all of them. Lack of interest is what I covered in my previous post, which is one of the big reasons why people might give up in a year. This is probably why I only focus on one blog and this blog only (Shiori’s Diary is just my personal blog that is updated infrequently).

      As for hosting, I don’t think cost is a big problem as hosting price gone down in the past few years because of advancements in technology. In the past, I paid about 60 dollars (for 2 years) when I first moved to paid hosting (I was hosted with someone else for free in the past). Now, I’m paying 34 dollars a year for virtual private hosting and $6-9 for the domain renewal as I’m now paying that separately. While VPS went down in price, they require a good amount of linux administration skills, but I managed to get everything optimized and secure for the most part, so it doesn’t take much time away from blogging.

  2. Cytrus says:

    Is it all that bad? The blogging community is keeping steady despite the appearance of new means of self-expression (Twitter, as you mention). You would normally expect a drop here instead.

    • chikorita157 says:

      In general, social networking presence is actually beneficial since one can advertise a new post across various networks. Since people use social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, it’s a lot easier for people to get the latest content compared to RSS as one has to copy the RSS feed to subscribe and having to use a separate application to read new items.

      On the other hand, even though some blogs die or become inactive, there is not much an impact on the blogging community as there is a stream of new posts. As seen on Anime Nano, there is probably 20+ new posts, so the blogosphere is not going to die anytime soon. Not only that, there will always be new blogs that will replace the dead ones, so the blogosphere is not on the verge of collapse anytime soon (unless Japan stops making Anime).

  3. Yumeka says:

    Two good reasons about why blogs may drop out, especially the one about social networking. I know many people who have good thoughts and opinions about anime or other topics, but would rather just post concisely on sites like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc., where all their many friends and followers can see it instantly. In this day of instant gratification, even taking the time to visit a site outside the social network and read through a long article is something people don’t have motivation for. However, these sites can’t replace blogging and there are of course plenty of people who enjoy reading thoroughly written articles rather than short tweets and Facebook posts. So as long as these people exist, anime blogging will too =) It happens in all hobbies where those with lesser time or lesser passion will drop out sooner, but the most passionate ones will keep on keeping on.

    • chikorita157 says:

      Yeah, especially with smartphones becoming mainstream, we expect things instantly, thus social networking is becoming big on these devices as people can check them at any minute. However, it’s not meant as a platform for longer thoughts as it’s meant to share pictures, links and short thoughts rather than well thought out posts that take longer than 1 minute to type. Either way, I think blogs will exist for the fact that social networking can’t do anything and that there will always be a stream of new content from Japan coming every season. As long they keep producing, there is no apocalypse in the blogosphere.

  4. Justin says:

    Hey! What’s with some of the typos here (haitus, morrow)? PAY MOAR ATTENTION!!! xD

    To add to this discussion, there are a bunch of reasons why blogs die out, but it’s simple: you just move on to better things in your life, and writing about anime (or manga, as I know of a manga blogger who stopped writing for her blog a few months ago) with passion anymore dies out. You don’t know when it’ll happen, but it can happen to anyone due to real life constraints and increasing limitations of writing about said medium. You just get bored of writing about this stuff, or worse yet, writing about this stuff takes the fun out of blogging in the first place. Whether it’s social media or hosting, it’s nothing complicated; real life just happens :(

    Now, I disagree with your reasoning that because you pay for hosting, you’re probably less likely to quit blogging. How can you really prove that to be the case? I highly doubt that just because you own a free blog means you’ll quit faster than one that pays. Ironically enough, one blogger who did pay for hosting after being on free WP for a good while got hosting, then weeks later, stopped posting, and hasn’t posted in 5 months :( So tl;dr: I think I’d want to see statistical numbers for that one xD

    • chikorita157 says:

      It’s true that the bottom line of the passion dying out and moving on with life is one of the simplest reasons. There may be reasons like not being interested in Anime or lose interest in blogging about it, but still watch it on an infrequent basis. I mentioned it a few times in the past in addition to burnout.

      As for the paid hosting thing, I have in fact compiled all the blogs that participated in the Aniblog Tourney and indicated if the blog has a domain or paid hosting. While I haven’t done it for the second/third round blogs, it might be interesting to see the statistics a year after the tournament (although I need to add the other blogs in excel).

  5. Jura says:

    I think lack of engagement may be an issue. People expect comments, links from other blogs, and addition of their blog to blogrolls of other blogs. Some of it may be some of their own doing, but it might also be their taste or views. Perception that one must blog daily or weekly may be a turn off for many, too.

    • chikorita157 says:

      Yeah, engagement could be as issue as well because while its great to have a post a person worked on the internet, but lack of discussion could hurt motivation sometimes. This is mostly because blogs are more dynamic compared to something like a fansite where there is no commenting feature or put little attention. However, I think commenting on other people’s post goes a long way to spread engagement. If a person doesn’t participate on social networks or comment on blogs, there is little chance that people will interact on a person’s blog. This is why people who have a lot of followers and/or comment on other blogs tend to have more comments on their posts compared to people who don’t interact at all. It’s about getting the word out there as readers do click on the people’s links in comments.

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