How to do an Asian American Blog

Before the Asian American blogosphere, there were Asian American discussion boards. You had Model Minority, Yellow World and the Fighting 44's. These sites were extremely popular for a time, because they provided platforms in which Asians all over the Anglosphere could connect, discuss and vent on everything from the personal to the political.

Eventually blogs came into prominence, and the Angry Asian Man became the first to aggregate news stories of interest to Asian Americans. Now we have tons of AA blogs, everything from Channel APA to the Minority Militant to Slant Eye for the Round Eye to Big WoWo.

The rise of AA blogs brought about the demise of AA forums, because blogs address a need for self-expression. Although forums do allow for individual expression, what usually happens is that a core group of posters dominate the threads. Cliques form and what was once a very open forum now becomes a private cyber hangout for disaffected intellectuals who snipe at those they disagree with. It's almost as if forums have a built-in mechanism to limit their growth so that they don't get too big.

Blogs appeal to the narcissist in all of us. For some, the blog is more about the blogger than the audience. But there are so many AA blogs out there, that you have to focus on a niche. You have to meet a need other than your need for attention and external validation.

I think what AA blogs do well is to expose their readers to AA artists and AA news. Much of the AA community doesn't support AA artists and films, because the community isn't exposed to these artists and films in the first place.

But what I think AA blogs should also start doing is to give its readers a sense of direction. If you're running an AA blog and all you're doing is commenting on the same videos and stories that every other AA blog is commenting on, then what's the point?

Don't get me wrong. If you have a personal blog, then treat it as your online diary. If you have a business blog, then treat it as a business tool. But if you identify your blog as an Asian American blog, then you should probably identify your target audience within the AA community, because as of now the AA blogosphere is getting pretty crowded. If you're looking to burst on to the AA blogosphere and yell, "TA-DA!" then you've got to distinguish yourself:

1) Write something interesting or do something interesting to write about. Your readers are either looking for information or for entertainment. But sometimes they can get caught up in the story of your personal life, IF you have an interesting personal life. Your entire life doesn't have to be on display for all to read, but providing snippets of who you are and where you're from makes your blog posts far more personal. People place more value on information when they know who's providing the information.

2) A blogger has to have an opinion. If you're a blogger, then you better damn well have an opinion. Otherwise there is no reason to read your ramblings. What's the point of being a blogger if you don't say what's on your mind? Most AA bloggers are just bland: they don't comment on controversial issues, and when they do, they give the most tepid lukewarm opinions. Then to top it off, they ask the readers, "What do you think?"

I already know what I think. I'm reading your blog to find out what YOU think.

If you are a blogger, then people expect you to have a strong opinion on things. This is what distinguishes you from a journalist, who has to remain objective. You may be afraid of what readers may say if you truly expressed your opinion, but as long as you are honest, then who cares what other people think. Screw political correctness. Screw dogma and pseudo-intellectual rhetoric. Grow some balls and say what's on your mind. This leads me to the next point:

3) If you call yourself an Asian American blogger, then you should advocate for the Asian American community. You don't have to tackle every AA issue, because then you'll just develop compassion fatigue. But if you take on the mantle of "Asian American," then you should advocate for the Asian American communities, especially when a current event sheds light on a racial injustice. It puts a bad light on your Asian American blog if the mainstream news media is covering an Asian American issue and you're silent.

4) A balance of levity and purpose. There are plenty of blogs which aggregate viral videos and articles on how insane the Japanese are, but those blogs are a dime a dozen. Everybody has access to the same LOL/WTF videos, so what's the point other than a good laugh? What distinguishes your blog from Buzzfeed, for God's sake?

You have to have a balance in the tone of your blog: the frivolity of cute cat videos with the seriousness of "60 Minutes."

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