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In this age of Facebook and Twitter (of course, I have accounts on each of those platforms), I've let my LiveJournal account go to seed. I maintain my paid status. Why? Do I anticipate or even hold out hope for a LiveJournal revival? 

There are services that will turn your LJ into a printed book, or at least there used to be. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 2003, I tried to export my LJ to one of those services. The resulting PDF came to more than 10,000 pages, many of them dominated by the white space surrounding a broken image icon.

I remember, fondly now, flame wars and fractious interactions on the libertarianism and singularity_now communities. I remember creating LJ polls. LiveJournal had everything I wanted in an online "social media" platform up and running pretty much from the first moment of the 21st Century. What it didn't have was the user base that MySpace and later Facebook achieved. 

I used to write and draw comics, and I had an LJ account for those. I started a podcast in 2006, which worked out a lot better than the comics. There's a Facebook community where Friends of the C-Realm compare opinions and post links to interesting stuff. They struggle with the user interface there, as it seems designed to promote incivility and superficial discussion. Just yesterday, katuah posted, "Gods, I miss the good old days of LiveJournal."

I responded, "The crazy thing is, LiveJournal is still there. It still works. We could be using it if people would."

Well, who is "people?" Am I a member of that group? Will I use LiveJournal? Posting once, like this, is like doing yoga or going to the gym once. 

And just like my LJ posts from the good ole days, I've typed until I've run out of steam, and now I'm wrapping it up with a meta comment about my lack of conclusion. 



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 8th, 2012 05:05 pm (UTC)
LJ still rocks, although the Russians shut it down from time to time.

I avoided facebook forever, and am giving it a trial run. It seems to have people to talk to, but little else.

My problem isn't that LJ is a graveyard. I am on communities that are very active, all I'd have to do to get readers is friend the people that are still here.

My problem is that I'm not doing much social blogging of any type, except twitter, because I don't have the time. I have an engaging an interesting job that eats up most of the actual day, and at home at night, I cook our dinner and talk to my wife. I don't have much time for art anymore either, and that's a shame, and something I should change.

Maybe that's what's going on... us gen X'ers who actually wrote out our english comp assignments on paper, we have an idea of a structured form of communication that is driven by one person, a blog initiating discussion. The model is Post> Comment > Counter Comment

The people who grew up with cell phones and Twitter seem to be much more collaborative, and the initiator of the comment seems to be an event rather than a blog entry. The model is:

Thing Happening in Real Time > Snarky Comment > Joke > Serious Comment > Counter

So it seems that the hastagging and live blogging aspects, which LJ doesn't support too well, are the difference.

Much more like a conversation.
Sep. 8th, 2012 06:42 pm (UTC)
*looks confused* Which is more like a conversation?

FB interaction seems incredibly superficial after the conversations I used to have on LJ. Is that really a result of the "younger generation"? Or is it part of the larger shift in industrial society to push people into being passive consumers of superficiality rather than active, thinking co-creators?

FB is like participatory advertising - full of distractive flash. Now that employers are pushing for access to people's FB accounts, and Google+ no longer allows aliases or anonymous posting, even the slightest mention Out There of something not approved of by the corporate masters stands to haunt you and label you, for as long as the system continues, or your whole life, whichever comes first.

Used to be on LJ that friendslocked posts could allow you to have deeply nuanced conversations with small groups of people, or to post entries out of the public view. I'm told FB will do that too, but FB changes their setup so often that I can't keep up with how to do much of anything on there.

I lamented recently that I got onto LJ in the beginning to keep up with some friends who had moved away, but now that I'm on FB and assumedly "connected" with hundreds of people from my past, I actually keep up with far fewer of them, in a deeper sense. Reposting cat pictures and political cartoons and cute phrases ready to go on a Northern Sun T-shirt do not tell you crap about whether that person is, oh, unhappy at work, about to get a divorce, stressed from remodeling their house, etc. Sure, a few people post about that stuff, but I've noticed it almost feels.... wrong, to do it on FB.
Sep. 8th, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
Now, where's that "like" button.
I like what you wrote. What? I have to type that out in order to communicate my approval? That is SO 20th Century.
Sep. 8th, 2012 09:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Now, where's that "like" button.
I guess I will be a product of 20th century life forever.

That said, I'm sure you listened to Eben Moglen's talk over on the Psychedelic Salon. I'm pleased because I think Lorenzo does "get it" - closed source proprietary software, closed systems like FB, closed hardware like Apple products, all are ways to close out the individual from being able to manipulate whateveritis in their own way. Raising the barriers to entry: Pay us an exorbitant sum or you can't play.

FB is rather the new model of that: You aren't openly paying, but be sure you are "paying" in other ways: selling your data for marketing, luring you to targeted advertising, sucking in retailers by being the "only" way to reach full market potential, etc. What if FB decided to start charging a monthly fee next month? Bet you they'd make billions, because so many people can't imagine being without it now. It's like... digital gasoline.

Sep. 9th, 2012 01:39 am (UTC)
Re: Now, where's that "like" button.
I approve of this comment.
Sep. 9th, 2012 08:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Now, where's that "like" button.
Well, doesn't the old saying go, "If you're not the customer, you're the product"?
Sep. 11th, 2012 05:18 pm (UTC)
I think I am referring to "conversation" to mean a more superficial exchange where neither party is really listening to one another... I appreciate your point that what used to go on on Livejournal is more appropriate to call a "conversation" since both sides are contributors.

So I am the confused one perhaps, I am not sure what to call things like twitter hastag dogpiles and IM style conversations... perhaps "stream of consciousness conversations" ? It seems like it's just a room of shouting people, some are shouting an idea and everyone else is shouting "yeah." But there is no one trying to tackle anything that might require an exchange of ideas.

But I completely agree on the distinction and how "LOL Ponies" is hard to relate to when
Sep. 8th, 2012 08:13 pm (UTC)
Good problems to have
My problem is that I'm not doing much social blogging of any type, except twitter, because I don't have the time. I have an engaging an interesting job that eats up most of the actual day, and at home at night, I cook our dinner and talk to my wife.

Good problems to have. In as much as podcasting is my "job," I too have an interesting job that eats up the bulk of my time, AND I now live in NYC with someone who's lived here her whole adult life, has lots of friends, gets invited to lots of parties and comped at events, so there (along with a couple days a week working in commercial kitchens for very small, local food businesses) takes up ALL of my time and then some. I too no longer have time to make what I used to think of as "art," which in my case was comics. I'm faintly and vaguely troubled by that and think I'd like to change it.

Good problems to have.
Sep. 8th, 2012 09:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Good problems to have
Indeed, good problems to have. "First World" problems, I think the term is. I have quite a few of those too.
Sep. 9th, 2012 01:47 am (UTC)
So i am too fearful to post anything in facebook world for fear of my 80 year old grandmother (who has an iphone) will know for certain that i'm a freak. So I really only ever post to the C-realm group on facebook.

I am very guilty, I must say, of enjoying having my dopemine receptors lite up and be activated, when someone approves of my contribution to the "FOTCRGOFB and I see the little red notification light.

Didn't they put people in brain scan tubes too figure that out? Because my recovering alcoholic father can't turn away. Even as we joke that he needs to start working the 12 steps all over again on account of this new demonic presense in his life he is powerless over.

Yikes! I enjoy this medium over reddit. Thanks Ya'll
Sep. 9th, 2012 08:32 pm (UTC)
I was talking to a buddy about the flight from LJ to places like DreamWidth after the first round of mafia attacks. It felt like there was an entire summer where you couldn't get to the site. That's when I really noticed a drop-off in LJ posting.

Also, I think Twitter played a hand in moving people from long, thought-out posts to quick observations (although, I do know one guy who only tweets links to his blogger site). I'm also seeing people turn to tumblr for any thought requiring more than 140 characters to express.

I can't stand Facebook, how it's laid out, or how they operate in general. Once Goldman-Sachs got involved, I shut mine down.
Sep. 18th, 2012 06:08 pm (UTC)
katuah sent me to this post as i have been recently re-blogging on lj as a response to some of the very same sentiments discussed in this post and on this thread. Good comments, i'm nodding my head quite a bit as i read almost everyone's contribution to this conversation. I'm definitely hoping that an increase in sentiments like this means there's potential for some sort of revival or new platform which can host more in depth and nuanced conversations. Because facebook ain't it.

I also sometimes worry that, as much as i complained about the social media revolution when it first hit, we were privy to a moment when all things were expansive and user driven and exciting. A generation down, will the internet be just on more impenetrable proprietary mess, a la Clear Channel Radio? I am too much of a post-luddite to understand or be able to pose any counter-action to that phenomenon, but it's something i wonder about.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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