Since I last shared my frustrations, I felt that things were getting a bit better. Sadly, while things got better in terms of comments and such, it didn’t last. Things took a turn for the worst since the start of this year.
With Coronavirus outbreaks in Japan delaying some anime productions with more on the day, this does give me a lot of anxieties of the future of this blog. Not only that, the lack of comments on my recent posts, including my editorials from last month, which are hurting my motivation to blog. In addition, the lack of followers are becoming a sticking point too. What troubles me are the few who I follow are unfollowing me, which is a huge betrayal. I don’t know exactly what I am doing wrong since I do not post anything controversial.
Instead of keeping my frustrations in, I want to share them. Also I want to receive feedback from the readers on what areas to improve the engagement on this blog before I completely burn myself out. Hear me out.
Of course, this situation didn’t happen overnight. It’s obvious by now that I have dealt with some hard times. I had to leave my first job since it didn’t work out. It definitely took a toll on me and kind of made me into a hermit. It’s really embarrassing to reveal to others that you don’t have a job. It’s not until late last year I finally received a job offer. This is after three years of applying for federal government jobs and doing several phone interviews.
In a way, this is why I haven’t been active on social media and sharing stuff about my interests and some aspects of my life. Probably some of you unfollowed me mostly because I didn’t follow you back or I am not that active during that time. In other words, my Twitter follower count remained stagnant for several years without breaking 300 followers. This combined with the lack of comments made me felt that I am being left out of the blogosphere with mostly everyone ghosting me.
That said, I am very grateful to have a job once again and having a life. I am still adjusting to this once again not only socially, but in regard to blogging. I want to make this point very clear. It’s really frustrating that when I comment on blogs that I don’t receive any comments back. I don’t want to name people who are guilty of this in regard to this. This doesn’t give me any incentive to comment on other blogs if others aren’t going to do it in return. Regardless, this is very frustrating and demoralizing as well. It makes me feel that all the time spent creating content is a big waste.
To me, Blogging in general is more of a social thing that allow readers to give input or discussion of the content you created. Without comments, it’s just a gloried public diary or a website from the Web 1.0 days during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Yes, this shows how old I am. During my childhood, I doled out Pokémon fan sites using HTML and web page editors like Microsoft Frontpage during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Yes, it was pretty bad.
That said, in order for me to content to create great content, it’s very important for readers to engage with my content. This is why I highly encourage people to like and comment on my posts. This would give me other viewpoints and also ideas for future content. It also shows that people appreciate the content I create. There are some ideas for posts and reviews I want to do. However, I can only do them if people engage with my content. Otherwise, I won’t have motivation to do so since this indicates that nobody cares about my content and I am just wasting my time. After all, “if it’s not fun, why bother.”
Believe it or not, any hobby requires not only the time, but also passion. If you are not getting any satisfaction from it, why waste the time. While I am somewhat close to throwing in the towel, I realize that if I give up, my 11 years of work and money would go down the drain.
That said, probably the other things besides the lack of engagement is also the weakness in discovery. While I depend on sites like Anime Nano and in the past, AniBlogger Antenna, which is now defunct, I realize people don’t use these sites anymore. Back in the day, people also used Google Reader to keep track of latest blog posts. Of course, Google Reader is now dead for a long time since Google likes killing off good ideas. Also, web browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Safari completely removed the RSS feed functionality. RSS is a feature that allows users to keep track of latest content from various websites.
With the demise of RSS, most readers nowadays use the WordPress.com reader. It’s not too surprising since a lot of anime bloggers tend to use WordPress.com. It’s easy to start a blog there and it’s free. In contrast, some bloggers like myself self-host WordPress on a web host since it gives more flexibility. In order to gain the features from WordPress.com, one has to install the Jetpack plugin.
A fellow anime blogger, Crow of Crow’s World of Anime suggested something about subscribing to Jetpack Premium to have posts appear in WordPress.com Reader. By default, blogs that are using WordPress.com are already included in the search and tags feature. The thing is, the Premium subscription is pretty expensive since it costs $99 a month, which is steep. Not only that, my blog doesn’t bring enough traffic to make enough ad revenue to cover it. Moreover, I was not working at that time last year. I didn’t receive a job offer until the latter half of the year. As a result, I didn’t think much of this, until now.
However, I looked into this this today. I find out that you only need any paid Jetpack plan to have your posts show up in the tags and search for WordPress.com Reader. In other words, at a minimum, you need a Jetpack Personal subscription. This includes automated backups, premium support, and better anti-spam protection. Yep, I kind of screwed myself over in that respect. After subscribing to Jetpack Personal, which costs $39 per year, my posts now appear in the search. Hopefully this will improve the discoverability of my content in the future.
In conclusion, I do not want to give up despite my frustrations and anxieties. I know I haven’t been doing a lot in interacting in the anime blogosphere. One has to understand the tough situation I was in for the last three years. With my life mostly strengthened out, excluding the whole Coronavirus thing, this is the only issue left.
If you have unfollowed me in the past, please reconsider and giving me a second chance by refollowing me on Twitter. I intend to follow back anyone who has anyone who has a blog. I will only unfollow only if you unfollow me. To me, there is no point of following people who don’t follow me back. While my time is limited due to my job, I will try my best to interact with the community. That is as long I receive comments on my posts as well. After all, I want to continue to create great content instead of complaining of how bad my blog is doing. However, I cannot do it when I don’t receive any comments on my posts for reasons stated.
As always, feel free to share any suggestions as long they are constructive and helpful.