It’s that time again — the festive decorations are all around, and people gather to share the holiday cheer, as the kids greedily eye the calendar while filling out their wishlists. But, we’ll level with you, anime bloggers: you’ve been very bad. So bad, that you no more deserve a lump of coal than a punch to the gut and a hammer to the fingers so that they may never type again. However, despite what may be said about us, the writers at Colony Drop aren’t a petty bunch — we too are taking this time to think positively, and foster a festive mood around us. This holiday season, Santa Colony Drop may not have hug pillows or DVDs of whatever garbage cartoons the kids are watching these days in his sack, but rather, the best gift you could possibly imagine: a guide to writing a better anime blog.
COLONY DROP OFFICIAL RULES FOR MO’ BETTER BLOGGIN’
These days, any barely-functioning manchild can create a blog. This means that you’re going to be competing with every other guy that started watching anime with Toonami, writing about whatever cartoon fansubbers released six different versions of this week. Don’t just follow the crowd. The key here is to stand out — if you don’t have an original voice, you probably shouldn’t be blogging about Japtoons.
Don’t Use a Generic WordPress Theme
Yeah, we realize everyone and their Mom may be writing about anime using WordPress, but that just means that everyone’s blog looks pretty much the same. Put some effort in and customize your theme if you can’t find a unique one, or ask a friend who knows how to wrangle up some pretty HTML and CSS to help you out.
Helpful Hint: A unique layout can go a long way towards standing out from the crowd.
This is a big one. Don’t treat your blog like some half-assed history paper you’re finishing a few hours before class. Take some time to re-read your posts and fix your errors. Even just a quick once-over can make a world of difference, but it’s best to have a friend or another blogger read your posts before they get put up on your blog. At the very least, this way when you release your dumbass ideas onto the Internet for any random passerby to be subjected to, it’ll be somewhat coherent.
Don’t Use 4chan Memes or Vernacular
Using “GAR,” “epic win,” and all of those other phrases that 14-year-olds on 4chan came up with makes you look uneducated. This isn’t a chat room or a messenger conversation, it’s a goddamn blog about Japtoons. Use real English.
Lots of fans have trouble wrapping their heads around the idea of actually criticizing anime, but as with any form of art, actual criticism is essential. The truth is, just talking about things you like is pretty fucking boring. Explain why you don’t like something, then when you do recommend something that advice will be all the more valuable.
No two ways around this: if you don’t have comments enabled on your blog, either grow a pair and learn to accept criticism or stop blogging altogether. There’s no point to posting your opinions on a blog if you’re not willing to discuss or defend them to others — you might as well be recording them in a notebook that nobody else is allowed to see. A refusal to allow comments defeats the entire purpose of sharing your work on the Internet. After all it, it IS the Internet, and just like real life, people will be assholes. Suck it up.
Don’t Embed Youtube Videos
We don’t care if you think this video is really great, just don’t do it. Place a hyperlink and let the reader handle watching it on his own terms. Embedded Youtube videos are rarely more than an excuse to slack off and not bother creating actual content. As an added bonus, when those Youtube embeds go dead, they make your blog look super professional.
Helpful Hint: Start a linkblog or Twitter account to share those Youtube videos you can’t keep to yourself.
Don’t Use Large Images
You’re blogging here, not maintaining an image board. If you want to post pictures, start a Tumblr or something similar where they’ll be resized automatically and not look stupid huge. Large images break up the flow of your text and can be very distracting.
Helpful Hint: Those “motivator” images have never been funny. If you post them on your blog, you are an idiot.
No Episodic Blogging
Despite claims that this format can work, we’ve yet to see it done with any interesting results. We realize that most anime bloggers lack the critical reasoning skills to say anything interesting, but it’s worth it to try and wait until after a series is over before blogging about it. You’ll be able to view the show as a much more coherent and complete work, which may provide additional insights for your writing.
Helpful Hint: Posting tons of screenshots from each new episode is entirely unnecessary.
Strive to Become a Better Writer
Don’t let this whole Web 2.0 thing go to your head — you may call it “blogging,” but at the end of the day, it’s still about WRITING. The rules for writing well haven’t changed – they were there when you spent English class tracing pictures of Goku from Anime Insider, and they’re still around. As with anything else worth doing, getting better requires practicing, getting feedback, as well emulating the techniques used by superior writers. What good is the greatest idea in the world if you lack the writing skill to express it properly?
Helpful Hint: This is where exposing yourself to literature that isn’t related in any way, shape or form to anime will be really helpful.
NOW, IT’S UP TO YOU
We here at Colony Drop sincerely hope this advice helps out anime bloggers everywhere. The only way our community is going to get its shit together is if we all make a concerted effort to challenge and improve ourselves. So, let us resolve to aim for loftier goals in our heroic effort to talk about children’s cartoons from another country!