The Colony Drop Guide To Mo’ Better Bloggin’ In The Year 2010

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’

Be Original
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.

Proofread
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.

Be Critical
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.

Enable Comments
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!

Merry Christmas.

20 Comments

  1. I didn’t read it, but AniPages episode blogged Kaiba and I think it went well.

  2. RE: YouTube videos…

    True, a fair number of people embed absolute crap and don’t comment on it, but embedding videos should be done more often. Screw screencaps; it’s animation, so our examples should highlight the fact that what we’re analyzing is actually moving.

  3. Hint: This will never be read by a single offender and you are amusingly preaching to the choir!

  4. Yeah, wah, I thought of AniPages Daily when I read that. But I think he is, to use a cliche, the exception that proves the rule.

  5. YEAH THIS PINK WEBSITE THEME REALLY HELPS YOU STAND OUT FROM THE REST OF THE FAGGOTS ON THE INTERNET.

    FUCKIN JUUUUUUST KIIIIDDING

  6. I too thought of AniPages as being the exception to the rule.

    And this site’s design indeed stood out to me (and I still like it ;))

  7. I can’t believe you are using “jap” unironically!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Can I just rewrite ANN headlines and add DO WANT even if no one in fact actually wants it?

  9. Decent. I tend to not proofread enough, but I think you could go with another tip: Use Category Exclusion.

    Category exclusion (via the ACE plugin) is perhaps one of the most interesting things I’ve seen off the WordPress extends. Category exclusion allows a blog to create multiple focus channels with separation from one another. I think this would solve the mentioned embedded video quip. Excluding categories from the main content view and feed allows a blogger more expression and readers more selection on what they want to follow. Categories have their own view and feed, so with the right design I think this can be a very useful tool.

    At the moment, I am excluding micro, episodic, and comment posts from the main view. For readers of the main content (as few as that may be), they don’t have to deal with these somewhat tangential topics.

    Cheers.

    (ps. widen your Comment text area)

  10. One more?

    Don’t linkbomb.

    It’s like the Youtube shit, only it’s just a link to something, be it a vid or an article or just a picture, without any context or critical comment.

    See, WHY are you wanting me to go and see this? Did you find it funny? Did it offend you? What did YOU think of it?

    Linkbombing is still mainly a mailing list problem but I’m seeing it more on blogs. I mean, I’m sorry your work sucks and it gives you lots of time to look up all kinds of crap on the company’s fat T-1 pipe, but I have time I need to waste on things I like, check?

  11. theres a compeling argument for not allowing comments

    they often suck OVER 9000 times moar then the original post & reading them is a waist of time

    example provided

    ps: did i tell you i also have a web site!!

  12. No, your post is a compelling argument for a liberal comment deletion policy. Luckily for you, as long as you’re not selling car insurance in Utah, Colony Drop Dot Com will approve your stupid remarks.

  13. Or worse still, the Sankaku Complex comment sec-

    No wait, that’s not a comment section, it’s a community of high-functioning retards.

    Oh, and one exception to Youtube embeds: Only do it if they’re highly relevant to the post, and only if you can justify it. As much as Youtube embeds can be useful to illustrate points, irrelevancy is a major problem.

    I’m bloody guilty of it as well.

    As for criticism, well…

    Here’s the simplest way to put it (courtesy of SDSHamsel)

    Know what’s important to you in an anime and be able to explain why it’s important.

  14. I detect a little sense of irony in your use of the term MO’BETTER BLOGGIN’, yes? So much for naught using VERNACULAR. *hee* Let’s all sit on the front porch of the general store and whittle those critical reasoning skills a little sharper,

    That said, y’all have laid out some good rules and habits for the youth of today to learn to adhere to, and then break and demolish in interesting and creative ways.

    4-chan Memes….oops, I used one to open up my latest bloog post. *heh*

    Regarding embedded YouTube videos….on my bloog, they actually ARE part of the content and essential to my mode of communication. With the exception of Danica Patrick bitching at Milka Duno, they are all music videos. Nothing wrong with that since they are all apropos to the content. One of my favourite sport bloogs, DEADSPIN uses them a lot. It CAN be a nice touch.

    Proofreading. Yes. You might have me there…*heh* I should do better job of that.

    In all honesty, y’all raise valid points. Especially in regards to literature…A healthy dose of Thomas Hardy, especially his classic final novel JUDE THE OBSCURE…would do wonders for at least 94% of the anime and sports bloogs out there.

    And one final thought: Your post was the most GAR thing I’ve read today.

  15. Oh, dear. Having been caught out with mis-spellings and apostrophic failure, I’ve been rumbled using a generic WordPress theme. My plans to come back from previous disgrace, under a pseudonym and disguised as Amy Winehouse, are obviously not going to work.

    Honestly, I can hear you guys giving Shakespeare a hard time: “Well, the words are OK, Bill, but the layout? Standard two-column print, and my, where did you get that font?”

    But there was some sensible stuff in this post. Your target audience will ignore it, but that’s an A for effort and a gold star for social responsibility.

  16. I wish there were more articles like this on other sites–hell, I wish more articles like this existed.

    The basic fundementals of writing do not go out the window when it comes to the net and to blogging. Rather, it’s even more important to hang on to them, because THAT’S how you stand out in a field of mindless dross.

  17. I liked this article a lot – perhaps someone should print it out and hand out copies at blogger meet-ups/conventions?

    I have to agree with the demand that people proof-read. Not only does it make you look stupid, but boy is your face going to be red when you realise you made a middle-school English mistake on your prized article.
    To get around my own idiocy, I throw most things I write at my flatmate along with a chocolate bar. He gets chocolate, I get to find out I spelt “find” as “fnid” and missed it. Everyone wins.

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