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. ¶