It has been a while since I’ve written a proper thoughts-post, one that provides some form of analysis (If it can actually be called an analysis, since I write based on my own ‘objective’ opinions). So after weeks of half-reading and half-writing, this post is finally completed. It’s been way too long and way too delayed (and more so for anime reviews since I’ve not been watching any anime until Ply recommended a couple to me), but with some influence from writing my undergrad thesis, I’m taking a detour and beginning my own ‘analysis’ writings.
This one for example is categorized as a “BLoTs” or Blogging Thoughts. I also have ideas planned for Anime Concept Thoughts (ACTs) which concerns non-review type posts on anime (and possibly extending to manga etc…) based on themes/concepts expressed in said media. There are still others, which are currently just three-liner draft descriptions in notepad. Maybe they’ll see the web-greenlight, maybe not (haha, depends on how well I can approach the topics).
I’m kind of perfectionist, and so I’ve been ‘diligently’ catching up with the posts of all bloggers I followed (and ironically failing to complete it to date). So (haha), whether you found it a little annoying or a delight seeing a spam of likes and comments on your feed, hope you don’t mind the notification spam. For those of you who have yet to be bombarded by my ‘pro’ stalking skills, that time will come… …eventually. Regardless, I thank all of you readers who still stick around the spring (now summer) lodge, and hope you may continue to enjoy your stay here.
Abstract (but not really one):
When viewing anime there are primarily two ways to go about it – To follow the series consistently and watch them as they are released, or to binge them all at one go. This has been an active topic among us anibloggers, be it in the comments section (or twitter) or in discussion posts. Clearly each has its own merits and limitations, and one’s choice for maximized anime viewing experience really depends on the quality of the anime series (which we cannot actually evaluate without prior knowledge of it) and each individual’s unique preferences. Each subsequent episode in an anime series connects with the previous, representing the flow of time and events. The same can be said about our blogging behaviour as well. The posts we publish, whether on a daily, weekly or sporadic basis (whether it is anime-related or not) tell a story as a whole. Depending on which style we adopt when reading the posts of our fellow bloggers, our reading experience differs. For this particular post, I thought it would be interesting to share this experience and make some comparisons between consistent reading and binge reading – The latter as a result of my absence and fuelled by a personal obsession to read what posts I missed.
Snippet: Apparently 'Bingeing' and 'Binging' are equally acceptable although the former being more common and less confusing. Didn't know about that until I started this post.
Before I really compare and discuss consistent-v-binge reading, perhaps we might ask: “Is binge reading on WP even reasonable?”. There are a few reasons for making this statement:
1. Do you really have the time to binge read old posts?
2. How do you, as a reader, even ensure that quality reading is assured for both yourself and the writer of said posts?
3. What if you have many blogs you are following?
4. Wouldn’t it be a pain for the author to be receiving bot-like like/comment spams? (Hence revisiting point 2)
5. Is it really necessary to read what you may have missed?
Given that we have only 24 hours a day, and realistically speaking – probably at most 4 hours minus time at work/study/meals/breaks/etc…etc… – bingeing to play catch-up isn’t that realistic of a goal… (Unless.. umm.. we really want to impress writers we look up to, or perhaps want to be noticed for making the effort, then okay maybe it is a reasonable goal). We know that everyone has their RL commitments which dilutes the urgency and necessity of spending lots of time reading every bloggers’ posts. In addition, more often than not, it is unlikely for us to read every blog post that comes out from any one blogger as a result of reading preferences such as “episodic v holistic reviews” or “reviews v analysis” or “anime-related v non-anime content”. Therefore I should make it clear that a ‘full-proof’ catch-up is not necessary in both interests of time and appeal, and that I am not promoting the idea of binge reading.
How do we define binge reading? For starters, its simply reading an excessive collection of posts. Rather than using the quantity of posts read as an identifier for ‘bingeing’, I’ll be making the assumption that ‘many’ posts are read, and placing the restriction that these posts come from a single author.
In other words, I’m claiming “consistent reading” to be the regular reading of posts accessed via the wordpress reader (or otherwise) as new posts come along. This regularity may be a daily practice, or once every few days (I believe for bloggers following many blogs, the # of new posts that pop up each day is crazily-a-lot, so if one counts by the number read it will be easy to call it “binge reading”). This leads to my claim that ‘binge reading’ refers to the reading-spam of posts from a single author, irregardless of when the post was published.
^ The likely side-effect would be the notification spam of likes and/or comments on said author(s) profile (which with our experience of undesirable bots on WP or other uninterested users, we may find this annoying or distasteful).
I should point out that “consistent reading” is a plus over “binge reading” for several reasons (which we probably know ourselves):
A] We let the author know that we are keeping up with their content. (Add a heart, because we let them know that there is an audience out there reading)
B] We keep in touch with the blogger (Add a heart, because happiness is contagious. Also, because commenting and having a discussion adds liveliness to the blog & community)
C] We can synchronize with the blogger and their content. (Add a star, because in the short-run interesting follow-up posts from other bloggers on similar topics may appear. In the long-run, we may see awesome collaborations between bloggers on a related topic (or it can be completely different too!))
D] They won’t need to feel distressed when they find out a particular individual spams through their posts in a single day (WordPress apparently doesn’t tell you when, specifically, a like/comment was made unless it is partitioned by days or weeks – Also, I noted that it is sometimes possible a notification update may cluster all the likes/comment activities together in one update, seemingly giving the impression that no reading was done).
But when we push back our reading schedules to allocate time for other more important commitments, and as days become to weeks and weeks into months, we are greeted with a condensate of archived posts (which admittedly, can intimidate the reader and leave one to question themselves “Where and how should I start?” – And of course, procrastination is also a problem).
In my case, I decided to binge read by going according to the list of bloggers I followed – From the first aniblogger (or not necessarily just anibloggers) to the last before I took off on a hiatus (This actually excludes any other bloggers that later followed me during the time I am away – which I place them on a list to check their blogs once I’m done with the catch-up). For simplicity and convenience, I compiled a third list to describe the binge-reading observations:
I) Reading consistently allows readers to draw parallels between posts of different bloggers (There is some kind of ‘temporal similarity’ where posts of bloggers may be related through a certain theme or content). Binge reading destroys that connection, but ‘makes up’ in establishing a focused dynamic story of a blogger’s writing schedule.
II) In a way, binge reading provides some insights into the structure/order of reviewed anime genres (Episodic reviews don’t count – And I tend not to read them in case of spoilers – unless it is a show that I know I don’t mind or won’t be watching). Aside from reviews, it also shows (more easily) what ideas are blooming in a blogger’s mind and also the connection from a former post to a latter one. After all, we might have a greater difficulty identifying this when such posts are a fortnight’s length apart from each other.
III) As mentioned, the focused dynamic story and clearer connection together provides a better understanding of said blogger’s lifestyle (It really does sound like stalking at this point, which as I’m writing this – really feels just like that). Emotionally, readers can better connect with the authors instead of basing solely on a somber discussion or rant in any said post. Since I read from the latest to the oldest, I withhold my comments on such posts until I finish bingeing on everything (No not exactly ‘everything’).
IV) As a reader you want to let the author know that you read their work, and that you enjoyed reading their content. It helps to ‘like‘ and ‘comment’ on their post, but doing so excessively makes your intentions questionable. So strike a balance! Personally, different readers have their own types of balance that defines their personality and style. As for myself, I’m not that kind who really wants to stand out. Hence I simply continue liking posts which I read, and comment on a couple of posts – And as my friends identified me to be a defensive person at times – I inform authors that I’m binge reading their posts in one of them. (And yes, since I have biases, I comment on more posts for some authors than others. Reason being, I know for sure from prior interaction that they may not mind me being a busy-body FBI-grade stalker).
V) On the topic of commenting, I ‘spam’ those virtual words out more when I notice that a certain author hasn’t posted in a long time (again, quantity of spam subjected to bias). One of the reasons (not the best one) is to find out if they are still somewhat on the blogosphere – perhaps not blogging, but perhaps still reading (and hence a relief to know that they are still alive!). Sometimes you don’t really notice if a certain blogger faded away without checking the followed sites (manage) section until you do and the first thing that stands out is “updated XXX months ago”. Although I’m sure there are those of us out there who pretty much remembers almost everyone (I’m jelly haha).
VI) I’ve gradually deviated from the theme of ‘a dynamic story’ so I’m coming back to that now – 2 to 3 months may not be a long duration (compared to a year) – but it is actually sufficient to look at the pace set by the blogger themselves, and also the direction of their content. Usually the authors themselves mention it in an update/misc post, but the comparison before-&-after the ‘change’ makes a lot more sense when bingeing than it would when reading consistently.
Just like binge watching anime, reading really isn’t any different. You get the full story in a shorter window of time. Although the use of the word ‘shorter’ isn’t exactly what it means – You can still spend an entire day bingeing and still not finish a 50 episode standard-length anime series. Perhaps you can skip the OP and the ED (and maybe the Omake/Bonus, or even the fillers), but all in all it affects the quality of the bingeing process.
Between bingeing and consistency, the latter is certainly more viable and approachable when it comes to reading – No one’s going to question you for bingeing an entire anime series (all seasons, OVAs and movies inclusive) in a couple of days, but the same cannot necessarily be said regarding bingeing and leaving a presence on the posts that one have read when it comes to blogging. Besides, bingeing isn’t really relevant and does not serve much of a purpose. Although for those who sincerely reads the contents of other bloggers, it would be a joy for them to know that their content and contributions are appreciated.
At the end of the day, even though I listed more points for binge reading, that is not really the recommended form of involvement (unless it doesn’t help that IRL schedules eat into time set aside for hobbies). Several outliers do exist however, such as a series of short posts of a particular nature or of a specific theme – Certainly it is more understandable if one is able to quickly read through each post without compromising the quality of the reading process. (Umm… right?)
To put things in perspective, and the save the trouble of readers and their precious time, this mini-thesis could be summarized as this: “Consistent reading bridges bloggers with each other’s contents and makes the interaction both dynamic and value-adding. Binge reading provides a more organized follow-up of a blogger’s content and may be a appreciative gesture, but can at times be seen as questionable and concerning. Still, it really is up to the reader to decide if binge reading helps to catch up with the content of other bloggers; whether the interaction can remain engaging depends on the approach of the reader – primarily the comments section”.
I guess most of the time, binge reading isn’t a ‘route’ that we would choose since we wouldn’t miss that many posts of that long of a period of time. It’s also unreasonable for ourselves to binge read while also consistently read if we return from a certain lengthy hiatus.
In any case, what is your stance on this? Does ‘binge reading’ cross your mind as an option when catching up with the old posts of other bloggers? Or, how would you define ‘binge reading’ and ‘consistency’?
We are almost reaching the middle of 2018. Time really flies regardless of whether you’re having fun, or not. It felt like only yesterday when I said that I’d be stepping away from the blogosphere and into the frying pan of my last undergraduate semester. Procrastination had led to the delay of this post, but with resolve weekly writings will be back in order. In addition to the new additions in writing formats, a gallery has also been introduced in the Spice & Wolf Inn where I will upload sketches I did (and am doing on a 1-per-month basis).
Also I realized that some other bloggers had to deal with their IRL responsibilities while catching up on your posts (including recent posts from consistent reading). For all of you out there, hope you will be able to find a optimal solution to your problems! Here’s a little cheer for you peeps, keep fighting!!!
That’s all folks,
1] Cover Photo Pixiv Source