All photos in this post from DannyChoo.com
When it comes to Japan, Danny Choo is the man! LOL But fo real tho, in August, his blog had aprox 9,433,840 page views per month and 48,730 unique daily users per day. His site www.dannychoo.comshows how a blog can become something more than just mindless rants. He turned his into an online community portal. Let’s review…
Danny’s web site features news on anime, technology, Gundam, idols, and a gazillion other aspects of Japanese culture. His site is offered in English and Japanese. Thank you, someone finally understands how to cater to an international audience with a blog.
Danny’s home page is organized in several different ways. He has news posts on the left and articles/discussions on the right. Writing a blog post takes time. It is just like writing a news story except with a different style. The left column is for short news that Danny wants to share quickly (such as how well fried chicken goes with ramen) and the right is for when he develops more “in-depth” pieces (which I think makes it easier for the blogger plus this distinction makes it easier for the user to decide what he or she wants to read). He also has links at the top of the page with topics and roll-down sub-categories.
I like the fact that Danny lets users know what exactly they are getting before they click on a feature. He does this by providing categories and titles. He lets me know the time when he posted. He lets me know how many images and comments are in each post. I get all of this information before I even click on the post. I’m not as interested in the “Gundam & Figures” section as I am in the “Japan & Subculture” and the “Event Coverage” areas. I like the fact that I have the choice to click on sections I like and avoid some of the other stuff.
He really makes his site all about his users. He asks them questions in polls. He displays their comments with their avatars on the home page right under his post. He meets up with them when they visit Japan. He even lets members decide which events he should cover (like in the case of going to the DVD release of Japanese idol, Risa Shimamoto). BTW these idols are not of the singing variety.
Other user friendly features include a “Puchi Blurbs” section that acts kinda like a Twitter for his blog users by letting them give short away messages about what they are doing, a wallpaper pool that allows users to pick a photo and put in the pixel size of their screens so that the picture is cropped, and a product ranking list and a release calendar to show the readers what are the hottest products in Japan and when they are coming out.
My journalism professor says that 80% of blogs are crap (well, he didn’t say this but he implied it). EVERY TIME I visit Danny’s blog I feel like I learn something new. I really enjoy his guides on how to live and travel to Japan. Unlike news sites, he has been able to break news down into easy-to-search categories. I thought it was interesting when he talked about how in Japan public sleeping is not unusual and he came up with the photos to prove it! Most of his photos were either taken from searching Flickr or he took them himself.
Before a bunch of you start going on about copyright infringement, I really think how he is using Flickr is what it’s really there for – to share photos. I personally think he is more of an investigative journalist than newspaper writers who use wires. Maybe print journalists need to start using user-generated content. In the case of using Flickr, I can’t think of a better way to report trends than to have photos from numerous amounts of people that vouch for an observation that you as a journalist has made.
Finally, I love Danny’s web expertise. I like how he explains what are healthy and unhealthy sites. His entire Nav 2.0 concept of creating “userbility” and “discoverability” in this online blog experiment is very impressive.
Who is Danny Choo?
Danny is a Chinese Malaysian otaku who grew up in London before relocating to Japan. He has worked as a CGM product manager for Microsoft and a senior manager focusing on website development for Amazon.com in Japan. In April, he started his own business, Mirai, a web consulting firm for Japanese enterprises. Danny also likes to wear his Stormtrooper uniform throughout the city, and he is an avid fan of Japanese idols and Candy Girls.
According to his blog, this YouTube video of him in action was the second most blogged about video in the world according to Technorati.
Please take the time to visit his www.dannychoo.com yourself and comment about what you liked or disliked about the site.