What Does “Accessibility” Really Mean?

It’s the final day in my matchup at the Aniblog Tourney, and compared to when the voting began, both featured matches have had a surprising turn of events, leading to extremely close vote counts. It’s been a lot more thrilling than anyone anticipated, and this unpredictability has me asking a simple question: What do fans want in a blog?

Writing Ogiue Maniax, I’ve gained a reputation for having an intelligent, yet accessible writing style that has given me a unique voice online. I am constantly working on improving all aspects of that voice, and I work towards having my posts be fairly easy to digest while also encouraging further thinking. But the Aniblog Tourney has made me well-aware that there’s always room for improvement and change, particularly in the area of accessibility.

Looking at anime blogs, the most popular ones tend to be “episodic blogs,” or ones that review shows episode by episode, laying down summaries and opinions on a (mostly) weekly basis. Most commonly, the latest shows are the ones that get episode blogged the most, though there’s nothing stopping people from doing the same with older shows. Not only do the more well-known episode blogs get more hits, but they also garner more comments, and as the tournament has showed us, have their fair share of staunch defenders and loyal supporters. In these, the most prominent of episodic blogs, their voices and content have reached a great number of people.

So I wonder, is the fact that I write in what’s often categorized as an “editorial” style holding me back from improving my accessibility?

I know that this sounds suspiciously similar to “Why isn’t my blog more popular?” but that isn’t really what I’m saying. Instead, it’s that anime fans appear to feel more comfortable with the episodic mode of anime blogging that has me thinking hard about the way I write. How can I reach more fans without scaring them off with meta-posts such as this? Would I be able to encourage more people to examine anime and their own fandom by adopting an episode blogging format?

Don’t get me wrong though, I like the way I write, and the basic format of Ogiue Maniax isn’t going to change any time soon. I’m not even sure if I would be able to even pull off Ogiue Maniax-style episode blogging all that well. It’s just something I wanted to contemplate. Though, if any of you are up for the challenge, be my guest. Out of what’s currently there, I think Unmei Kaihen‘s style is roughly where I’d be aiming for, as I always feel like I learn something from reading his Giant Killing posts.

11 thoughts on “What Does “Accessibility” Really Mean?

  1. So I wonder, is the fact that I write in what’s often categorized as an “editorial” style holding me back from improving my accessibility?

    I don’t think so. First, there is another important categorization, and that is seasonal vs non-seasonal, but I think the most important idea is that editorials, episodics, and seasonals can be blended in single posts or a set of posts. Although, I do think having the ability to write any type/fusion of post helps to alleviate under-diversification.

    Yet, here’s an ordering of features which I think hinder accessibility [with the main determinant of reading being time].

    1 – Post length
    2a – Use of advanced concepts
    2b – Use of advanced vocabulary
    2c – Prerequisites (prior readings, linking)
    3 – Subject recency
    4 – Lack of image partitioning

    Note: 2a/b are heightened when overly used in lengthy posts.

    Would I be able to encourage more people to examine anime and their own fandom by adopting an episode blogging format?

    I don’t see why not. If you can figure out how to intelligently spin episodes or even topics from seasonal titles, without going overboard on the time required to digest, I’m sure that encourages readers. If you can make it interactive, almost like an open community (meaning any passerby can participate), even better. There is more blank canvas than used canvas, imo.

    Cheerios.

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  2. It’s dangerous to worry too much about what your readers want, because you may end up realizing that you aren’t writing what YOU want. That realization is what has led me to only get more obscure over time lol.

    That said, as for your blog, I love it, but there are only 2 things I’d like you to do more. 1. Flesh out some of your posts better. A few posts that say a lot are often better than many posts that say little. 2. Reply to comments. Seriously.

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    • I disagree with this. My favourite part of this blog is how you’re able to express in so few words what it takes others several paragraphs to write. I find myself tl;dr-ing your longer posts at times because when that happens, it’s usually because you haven’t been able to work the point fully in your head beforehand. At least, that’s the impression I get

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    • I agree with digi for the most part, unless one is in the profession and MUST write for a specific audience, it’s best to have fun. And yes, reply to comments… I never really noticed that one. @SDS, if you don’t want to reply on blog, reply via email :D

      @Scamp, I like what you mention about ‘working the point.’ I didn’t mention it, because I thought it was implied, but having a point is the most crucial aspect for any post, no matter how trivial it may be (fangirling, simple opinion, share, etc).

      @sdshamshell, Working the point out beforehand probably helps, especially in consolidating a more precise point. One of my blog peeves* is when an entry spends a lot of time making the post lengthy while boasting writing skills, but the point being made is trivial; inefficiency. Balancing the magnitude of the point, with length and robustness writing is highly important imo. I would imagine working the point helps greatly in finding an acceptable balance which appeals to a broader audience.

      * I don’t mind advanced writing, nor do I mind length, but there should be a payoff after reading. If it can be said in gorgeous writing, great. Do that in under 250 words, brilliant.

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    • I disagree. An episodic summary blog is accessible because it does not attempt to tell you everything. If a blog already tells me everything I need to know from existentialism to why green haired lolis are so awesome, I don’t see the need to discuss anymore.

      I do agree with Digi that it is not good to worry too much about your readers, but I will say it is important to think about how to interact with them more effectively. To paraphrase what I said, to engage yet not lose your personality. Respond to comments, very agreed ^^

      As a personal preference, I am against robust and exceptionally advanced concepts and terms in any episodic summary blog. It’s an absolute turn off, and I believe any complicated term can always be paraphrased to something simple that the common folk can understand. A complex thing can be explained simply, while not losing the essence of what you are trying to convey. Of course, unless you want to have some e-penor to show your extensive vocabulary. :P

      Honestly, what turns a casual reader off is a TL;DR. I cannot be bothered reading anything way too long, and most people don’t. Episode summary blog entries should never be too long, unless it’s for some comedic effort, or it is slanting toward editorial (hence targeting the bloggers and a different group of readers). I agree with Scamp that it is why I like OG’s blog. It’s simple, easily accessible, but perhaps it will be quite hard to do so.

      Also, some self whoring here. http://bit.ly/ce71KC <– my writing on how to do a good episodic blog. ^^

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  3. Episodic blogs are probably popular because of the whole water-cooler thing. The most-shared experiences in anime fandom are watching a just-released new episode of a popular series. So naturally “didja-see” conversations are going to flourish. People like reading and talking about what they’re thinking about right then, so popularity feeds into itself in a positive feedback effect. The question is always going to be “what are more blog-readers thinking about than anything else right now?”

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  4. Pingback: sdshamshel’s Question of “Accessibility” - aloe, dream

  5. I used to be big on the episodic blogs mostly because I could almost always find a few that were both well-written and had tastes similar to mine. Not only did it make it easier to find a series worth watching but it also tended to spur further discussion about nuances I might have missed.

    Nowadays I prefer the more “editorial” blogs. Authors of the ones I follow tend to really get into the minutiae of different series and form fascinating comparisons between similar and disparate series. I adore Genshiken, for example, but your insight makes me want to go back and watch (and read) it yet again for a lot of underlying subtleties that passed me by on previous runs.

    In the end, I adore your style as much as I love heading over to Bateszi and a wealth of others every other day. I just can’t get enough fan insight as of late.

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  6. I agree with digitalboy – write what YOU want to write. If you try and force yourself, it’ll just sound awkward. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t try out new styles or concepts, but completely changing your writing style overnight isn’t easy.

    Please, please, please DON’T start doing episodic posts. I became incredibly frustrated when I started reading anime blogs because the most popular (and easy to find) ones were all episode summaries from shows I wasn’t watching with inane commentary and way too many images. I know some people like this style of blogging, and that’s totally fine. But for me, and I know I’m not alone, a thoughtful post on an older show/manga is way more interesting than a “then this happened and here’s a screencap” style post on a current show.

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